How To Begin Teaching English In Spain: Everything You Need To Know

Spain is not only one of Europe’s most popular destinations for tourists, but also one of the biggest hubs for teaching English as a foreign language. With a stunning climate, welcoming people and a one of the highest standards of living on the continent, it’s no secret why so many people are so keen to immerse themselves in this wonderful land and all of its cultures, and picking up an ESL job is a great way of extending a stay and earning some extra cash for good measure. 

To help you get a better understanding of what TEFL jobs look like, here’s our full guide on how to begin teaching English in Spain, with everything you need to know ahead of time. 

Types Of English Jobs Available In Spain 

The most common job positions most people end up applying for are: private tutors for families, full-time school teachers in private and educational institutions, and Language and Cultural Assistants in public schools.

  • Private tutors have long been one of the most popular jobs for those looking to teach English abroad. They are a great option for getting a full authentic Spanish culture experience day-to-day, and can be a viable option for those who don’t have much experience teaching. These positions will often see travelers living with a family for a set amount of time, and hosting private English classes with them. 
  • School teacher positions are usually reserved for those who have graduated from a TEFL Academy with a certificate, or have prior experience leading a classroom. As they are private institutions, an interview process is usually required, but the positions do tend to come with vacation time and various other bonuses. 
  • Language and Cultural Assistants are positions that have been given to travelers by the Spanish government-run programme, designed to give an immersive and rewarding experience within public classrooms. Unlike the other two positions, this assistant level position usually revolves around helping out a native English teacher in the classroom, rather than leading one entirely on their own. 

How Much Can You Earn Teaching English In Spain? 

Language and Cultural Assistants are paid €700 a month as a part of the programme, but that figure can rise up to €1,000 in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona where the cost of living is typically higher. Assistants generally only work 15-20 hours per week, which isn’t the most grilling of workload, so picking up part-time work is also a pretty common way of guaranteeing more money is coming in. 

For teachers in private schools, the average salary is around €1,500-€2,000 per month which, in all honesty, marks a pretty solid figure given the cost of living is still relatively cheap in most parts of the country. 

How To Apply, And What You Need To Teach English In Spain 

As a Government-run scheme, the Language and Cultural Assistants programmes start in early Spring each year, with applications usually submitted in the August or September before. Usually applicants hear back about their placement and assignment by April, giving them a decent window to prepare for things. 

For tutoring positions at private schools, there are two main hiring windows in Mid-September to Early October and immediately after the new year in January.

Applying for the programme follows the same sort of method as applying for a graduate school or university course, with applicants expected to provide information on their educational background, fluency with Spanish and prior experiences teaching and living abroad. 

If you’re looking for a job as a private tutor, you’ll need to spend plenty of time researching and networking around to find the best opportunities. Sites such as The TEFL Academy often come with job boards advertising positions, and they are also the best place for browsing teaching English abroad courses once you know what requirements a position is asking for. 

Whilst not always essential, if you can save up and spend some time living in Spain prior to picking up the job, we’ve found that doing an in-person interview helps massively with these private positions.  

What About Classroom Etiquette? 

One final thing you might want to know about teaching in Spain is how classrooms operate, and what behaviors are expected of teachers working in the country. 

It’s one of the most famous things about culture in Spain, but the split between work/life balance is one perk travelers typically enjoy the most. Lunchtimes during the school day last two hours, the part-time hours of the assistant programme allows for plenty of exploration and time away from the classroom, and the way in which the Spanish emphasis time with family and friends helps de-stress the working experience in the country. 

There aren’t too many actual differences between Spanish classrooms and those in the native-English speaking world, with teachers expected to maintain control of the class, and students expected to be respectful by raising their hands and not talk over one another. 

One difference however is in how lessons are actually taught, with the Spanish really emphasizing a more hands-on approach to learning, with there being fewer standardized testing and assessments. 

The Language and Cultural Assistants programme also equips teachers with basic health insurance as a part of the Spanish NHS, though if you have private health cover, you should always check to see if you’re covered overseas.

The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to be officially recognised by government-approved awarding bodies both in the UK and the US, and have internship programmes set up in more countries than any other provider. With the highest average review scores for online and in-person courses, TTA is the number one spot to begin a EFL journey.”

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