Tag Archives: Teaching English

eBook preview: What You Should Know About Teaching English in Spain

While I haven’t done much recently, teaching English in Spain is something I’ll go out on a limb for and say I know a fair bit about. Five years is – relatively speaking – quite a long English teaching career. Most teachers are young and recently graduated from Uni, but rarely stick at the job for longer than a couple of years.

In my case, I stuck with it more for the love of Spain than for the love of teaching, but that’s not to say I didn’t like the job. In fact, I’d often look forward to most classes, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some that made me want to scream or throw a chair out the window from time to time.

If you’re considering teaching English in Spain there are naturally a few things you should know to help get the ball rolling and prepare you for a world of fun, games and occasional dismay…

1) You’ll need a qualification to get the best paid jobs

While it’s possible to find work as an unqualified English teacher in Spain – such is the current demand – the best (and highest paying) schools tend only to take on teachers who have completed CELTA or TESOL courses, since these are undoubtedly the most complete TEFL courses available and have become a prerequisite in most cases. They are pricey, costing anywhere between £1,000 and £1,200 (depending on where you choose to do it), and either last 4 weeks (intensive) or 6 months (part-time).

For more information on getting qualified in Spain, check out my post on everything you need to know about teaching English in Granada.

2) Finding work is easy

With the ever-increasing demand for exam preparation courses among young Spaniards, English academies are popping up left, right and centre in Spain – some of them offering a high standard of teaching, others not so much – but finding work is very rarely a problem for newbie English teachers. The most effective way to secure a job teaching English in Spain is to home in on every academy when you get to Spain. However, it won’t do you any harm to begin by seeking academies out in the city (or cities) you’d like to live in online and sending a CV and cover letter by email. Once you arrive in Spain, visit each academy in person armed with yet more CVs and try your best to meet with the DOS (director of studies) who is usually responsible for hiring new teachers.

That being said, I found my first teaching job in Spain through tefl.com, a great service which I strongly recommend.

3) Nerves don’t last long

Once you’ve landed your first job, it’s time to start thinking about actually teaching. Teaching as in standing in front of a dozen people who are expecting to learn something worthwhile from you – you the expert – within the next 90 minutes. At first this is a daunting experience, one you’ll probably already have been through during your CELTA or TESOL course. But once you get to know your students and establish a rapport, the nerves and any apparent sense of overwhelming responsibility quickly vanish. You’ll soon come to realise that your students are keen to help you help them, especially adults and higher-level teens. Kids take a bit more getting used to and hell of a lot more patience. However…

4) Spanish kids are (generally) adorable and bring out the kid in you!

I’ll never forget the first 5 minutes of my first class teaching 8 year-olds. I stood nervously at the front of the room with a lesson plan that in theory would work, but in reality meant nothing. It was terrifying. They whispered, giggled and then one kid made a fart noise with his hand armpit which finally broke the ice.

Since that moment I have (mostly) enjoyed every minute of teaching kids English. They are, for the most part, totally adorable and keen to learn – not at all like the little shits you can recall from your own school days. There is the occasional bad egg that scuppers your lesson plan or corrupts the others, but you learn how to control these guys pretty quickly. The best way to prevent making an enemy of an 8 year-old, I find, is to behave like a kid yourself (while still maintaining a hidden degree of teacher awareness and responsibility). If you make them laugh, they like you. If they like you, they listen to you. Simple!

5) The better you become at teaching English, the better you become at learning Spanish.

You don’t necessarily have to have a decent grasp of your own language’s grammar rules but it does help rather a lot. As a newbie English teacher, you’ll often find that you have to research and properly learn English grammar rules yourself before you attempt to teach them. But the more you do this, the better you can relate to learning Spanish grammar. Being able to compare and contrast with English helps Spanish stick; not just grammar, but certain vocabulary and pronunciation patterns too. You students will also benefit in the same way. There is a mutual interest which creates a more positive and effective learning environment.

Check out my post on learning Spanish s best you can before moving to Spain for more tips!

6) B1 and B2: Bane of your life

In the last few years, exam prep classes have become the real money-spinners in just about any English academy in Spain. The pressure young Spanish students find themselves under is so immense that sitting official, Cambridge CEF (Common European Framework) English exams has become a necessary step in order to graduate from University (although not in all cases) or find a job.

As a result, most academies have had to cater to the demand, so don’t be surprised if you are given either a B1 (pre-intermediate level English) or B2 (intermediate level Engish) exam prep class at the beginning of the year. These classes are usually a drag, since there is only one goal: pass the exam. It’s less about fun and games and more about completing as much of the textbook as possible before the exam date. However, if and when your students pass the exam, you get a real sense of pride and achievement unlike in regular classes, and that makes it all worth the effort. Kind of.

7) Private Classes are Worth Doing on The Side

The average monthly wage for teaching English in Spain is around €1,000/month. This may seem low – it is – but it’s enough to get by on, go/eat out a couple of nights a week and have yourself the occasional holiday. If you want to actually save money though, you’ll need another regular income. The easiest way to secure this is by teaching English privately on the side.

Sites like tusclasesparticulares.com are great resources for bringing teachers and students together. What you charge per hour depends on what the student expects from you. Conversation classes don’t require much preparation whereas exam preparation  classes do. As a general rule, don’t work for less than €15/hour. Certified teachers are worth more than or at the very least equal to that amount, and to work for less would be undercutting other teachers – bad for the industry!

I hope you found these tips useful. They are just several taken from my forthcoming eBook, ’50 Things You Should Know About Teaching English in Spain’, which I hope to publish this summer!

Everything You Need to Know about Teaching English in Granada

The question I am most often asked by readers of this blog is how to go about finding work teaching English in Granada. I endeavour to keep my responses as personal as they are helpful so I’m not the sort to just copy and paste the same email over and over. However, I thought it was high time I wrote it all down in blog post form to save us all some time :)

Moreover, I will be leaving Granada for good soon so I also think it’s the right moment to pass on my English-teaching-in-Granada ‘wisdom’ (I don’t normally claim to be wise but in this case I feel pretty sure about myself having done it for 4 years!)

So, first thing’s first…

Why Teach English?

Everyone has their own reasons for getting into Teaching English as a foreign language, an industry better known as TEFL. Some do it in order to fund extended trips abroad; others do it for the chance to live, learn and become absorbed in another culture and language. Either way, it’s a wonderful way to spend a long period of time away from home and earn some money while you’re at it.

The job itself can be very rewarding, particularly when you come to the end of an academic year and see your students pass their exams, or when you are showered with gifts by kids who think the world of you. It also turns you into a bonafide grammar boffin and an excellent proofreader!

summer school camp teaching english
:lol:

Why Granada?

Most English teachers living in Granada are in it for the lifestyle opportunity it presents; we live well, earn enough, learn Spanish, experience new places, meet people from all over the world, have amazing scenery all around us, a vibrant and culturally diverse city and free tapas coming out of our ears.

From hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, rafting, canyoning, snorkelling and camping in the sticks, the province of Granada is pretty much the perfect adventure playground. The city itself is teeming with bubbly people, fine and urban art, live music, gorgeous food, mind-blowing architecture and laid-back vibes.

Most English teachers find themselves so enamoured with the place that it often takes years to leave. I only ever intended to stay one year; that was four years ago, and I’m still here (barely). It’s just so damn perfect.

el albaycin, alhambra, granada, spain
El Albaícin seen from the window of the Mexuar in the Alhambra Palace

What do you need to work here?

There are too many TEFL courses to count these days. The most recognised (and expensive) are University of Cambridge’s CELTA course and the Trinity College accredited TESOL. These courses, either lasting four weeks (intensive) or spread over six months, are unique in that they provide course participants with classroom time, regular and strictly assessed assignments and – most importantly – actual teaching practice (nearly every day). Course fees may vary slightly according to where you do it but the average cost for either course is around the £1,000 mark.

Alternative online courses are of course cheaper but do not provide the crucial classroom experience that most schools and academies require teachers to have, even if just a little.

You can do the CELTA course here in Granada, with the Institute of Modern Languages (IML), although, as with any institution, there is an interview process to ensure that only people who really want to teach English are chosen. It’s rare to be offered a job with the same institution at the end of the course but not unheard of. If you want to stay in Granada and teach (which you almost certainly will), you’ll probably have to look elsewhere.

Teaching opportunities in Granada

The best way to find work as an English teacher in Granada is simply by turning up and dropping your CV in as many academies as possible. The better times of the year to do this are late May – early June (when academies begin the employment process) and early September (just before schools reopen and there is a need to fill remaining vacancies). Teaching English is a fairly transient sort of job so positions do tend to open up at any time of year, but then it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

There are two fairly large schools in Granada: CL and IML. The former tend to hire newbie teachers but rarely offer little in the way of proper contracts. The latter are a bit pickier and tend only to hire experienced teachers. The same can be said for other, smaller academies like LexisLittle Britain and Granada Languages, although a year’s experience is usually enough providing your interview goes well.

lexis granada, academia ingles granada

There are plenty of other schools and academies that offer work inside and outside of the city centre. If you’re looking for something a bit further out in the campo then it’s worth checking out ELI in Huétor Vega and B&H Centro de Idiomas in Santa Fe, which both have good bus links to the city.

How much will you earn?

The average take-home monthly salary for English teachers in Granada is between €900 and €1,100, but it can easily be more or less than that depending on your hours. Most teaching positions offer between 18 and 25 contact hours – the best academies pay extra for preparation time and declare all your worked hours to the Hacienda so you are eligible to claim back tax at the end of the academic year (a welcome bonus before going home for the summer!) However, many academies don’t offer proper contracts, preferring instead to offer 3-5 hour contracts and the rest of the work paid cash in hand (yes, this is tax evasion, and undoubtedly the number one cause of Spain’s crippled economy). Avoid these agreements if you can, though you might find that you don’t have much choice if you’re just starting out.

Working Freelance

Another way to do it is to go freelance. There is such a high demand for intensive exam classes in Spain now that private classes are virtually guaranteed if you’re interested in working for yourself. Some teachers prefer to focus almost exclusively on this, perhaps picking up an intensive class with an academy to keep something steady ticking over.

After a while teachers get most private work through existing students (other friends, family friends etc) and naturally build up a good client base, but at first it can be difficult to secure the hours you need to ensure a decent income. The best thing to do is make a profile on tusclasesparticulares.com, where work normally comes in thick and fast. It’s incredibly easy to set up your profile, although you will need to write it in Spanish. 15€/hour is about the going rate for privates; maybe a touch less if there is more than one student per group. However, bear in mind that it’s generally bad practice to undercut other teachers and ultimately undermines the profession. Try to sell yourself rather than your experience if you’re new to the job; don’t work for peanuts.

tus clases particulares, teach english spain

Another way to get noticed is to turn yourself into a social media powerhouse! You could start by setting up a Facebook page and Twitter account but if you want to see results then you’ll need to know a bit more about online marketing and personal branding.

Take Joseph, a.k.a. ‘Inglés Para Granada‘ as a model example. He has chosen a very good name with two crucial keywords and has sailed up the rankings because of it. Don’t, for instance, call your page ‘Dan the English Teaching man’ or ‘Hannah’s awesome English classes’ as this will get you nowhere. Think about what your keywords are, e.g. location, ‘inglés’, ‘Cambridge’, ‘examenes’, ‘clases particulares’ and go from there.

good facebook page, teach english granada, ingles para granada

It’s also very important to know when and how to engage with your audience – what content do they want to see? What will they find useful and entertaining? When are they online? Facebook lets you observe the success of your posts, via click-through rates, number of engagements and overall reach. You can even pay to ‘boost’ your post and have it appear in the Facebook sidebar, though this is perhaps something best saved for later down the line.

You should also brand yourself as a person; not some anonymous, humourless ponce in a shirt and tie. Not only is it important to Spaniards that they learn loads but they also want to have ‘buen rollo‘ with their private English teachers, i.e. a laugh, a joke and maybe a cup of tea. Post photos of yourself and your students (with their permission of course) in and outside of the classroom. Create a warm online persona and sell yourself with it.

Are you interested in teaching English in Granada? If you have any questions that haven’t been answered in this post then please get in touch and I’ll do my best to help!

Catalan Independence: What are Spanish teens saying about it?

“Unwanted, leaching burden to bear” says one. “Lowly, ignorant and harebrained deserters” says the other. Or something to that effect– I’m sure there are plenty of even more colourful ways of putting it in both Castellano and Catalan.

Whichever side you’re on though, one thing’s for sure: this is a political shooting match that will regularly take place in Spanish media, Spanish homes and old-Spanish-man bars for a very, very long time.

To me it looks as though there will never be any sort of Catalonian referendum, whether legitimate or otherwise, given that the Spanish government will never– ever, ever, ever –gainsay the words of their precious constitución. But the Catalans– or at the very least 80% of those that voted in last month’s straw poll –will keep on fighting and gaining support, from within and beyond their region, for as long as Rajoy and his tumbling government fail to justify why Catalonia should remain a part of Spain.

As an expat living in Andalucía, I would hate to see Catalonia break with Spain, yet I can understand perfectly why on the whole they so desperately want to, and their exasperation with a relentlessly obstinate government.

catalan independence, catalonia, independence vote, barcelona, #CatalanWay #ViaCatal
Source: WIkicommons

In my experience, whenever I have raised the nettlesome matter of Catalan independence with Spanish adults, there has seldom been room for compromise or understanding; ‘son antipatriotas’, ‘irrespetuosos’, ‘no valoran la constitución’, or so it often goes.

Thus, we are brought to the point of this blog post.

Following the poll, which– for those of you that missed it –counted for nothing other than to exhibit the leaning towards severance from Spain, I decided to pick my advanced (English-speaking) students’ teenage brains, all of them 100% Granadino, in the hope of educing something a little more discerning. It is purely due to my own lack of organisation and recent blog neglect (been busy) that it has taken me until now to publish my findings.

Their task was to write a 250-word opinion piece, in the style of– ironically –a blog post. I thought it about time to test their blogging skills, despite it being a pen-to-paper assignment and blogging not being even closely relevant to the C1 level of English they are striving for (even though it should be). I should charge extra I tell you!

Anyway. The results?

Well, the teacher in me could not bring himself to publish grammatically/orthographically incorrect English, so any instances of poor spelling and verb choices have been duly rectified. The content, however, remains the same, and is a rather intriguing mix of balanced, considered, exaggerated and extremist…

What do you think? Are they right or wrong?

“We’re currently experiencing an economical crisis so public spending has been cut, despite the taxes staying the same. Catalunya may pay more in tax but we all need to work together, and suffer together, in order to overcome this crisis”.

“If Catalunya wins independence, it would not be an EU member, so recovering from the crisis would be even harder for them”.

“If Catalonia wins independence, it will not be able to sustain itself; it will go down the pan”.

“I can understand the Catalans’ desire to become an independent state because right now there are difficult times in Spain, but where was this burning desire when things were going well? Those in favour of becoming independent were a minority then. Now they want to desert a country who has supported them and their region’s economy. They would regret it in years to come”.

“Catalans do not realise that they are in fact being robbed by their own government; the Generalitat is full of corrupt politicians who exploit the independence movement for their own personal gain”.

“Dirty, fraudulent politicians are using the Catalan spirit to hide their crimes”.

“One of their main arguments is the matter of paying too much tax and not receiving enough in return. This may be true but tax is higher there for a reason; tourism generates millions of euros every year– much more than anywhere else in Spain –so I think they should pay more. Poorer provinces such as Extramedura and Murcia need support from richer provinces like Catalonia, in order to survive through these difficult times”.

Work in Spain as a Language Assistant

Each year, Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport operate a nationwide programme called ‘Auxiliares de Conversación Extranjeros en España‘ – Foreign Language Assistants in Spain. The programme is set up in order to benefit both Spanish school children, whose English language skills and respective cultural awareness are invariably enhanced, and graduates or final year undergraduates, who want to experience life in Spain, improve their Spanish and gain a deeper understanding of Spanish culture.

In order to be eligible for the programme you need only be able to speak English (or French) at a fluent level and be from one of the following, participating countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, the Netherlands, UK and USA.

Anyone from these countries may apply, though the prerequisites are ultimately governed by the specific Visa agreement between that country and Spain. The programme lasts a full academic year, from October 1st through to May 31st,  pays a monthly subsidy of €700 for 12 hours’ work per week and includes a free health plan.

el albaycin, alhambra, granada, spain
El Albaícin seen from the window of the Mexuar in the Alhambra Palace, Granada

The application process differs according to each candidate’s nationality. Those from Austria, Belgium (French), France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta and UK must apply through the respective, partnered organisations (contact details for which can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education section of the Spanish Government’s website). All other candidates must apply through ‘Profex’, a digital application form also found on the official government website. The application process for the 2014-2015 course has already begun, and candidates now have until April 1st to apply.

Depending on your country of origin, you may find that you are not able to apply to certain regions – las comunidades autónomas – within Spain, and there is no guarantee that each candidate will be located in the region he or she has requested. However, candidates may state an order of preference when applying.

nerja malaga spain beach crystal clear water blog balcon de europa
View from el balcón de Europa, Nerja, Andalucía

It is possible to extend your stay to two years, though this is not an automated process and will require candidates to re-apply either through their respective organisations or Profex. It is also worth noting that a years’ extension isn’t necessarily guaranteed, even if the candidate doe meet all the necessary requirements, as preference is generally given to candidates who are registering for the programme for the first time.

All the instructions, downloadable documents, FAQs and further details can be found here, but it is all in Spanish and there doesn’t appear to be a translated version of the page (perhaps a way of ensuring you are fully motivated to participate). I would be happy to answer any questions regarding culture, language, Granada etc, but if you are eager to learn more about the programme from people who’ve already done it, or are currently doing it, I’d recommend you check out or get in touch with the following bloggers:

Mapless Mike

Spain Kate

A Texan in Spain

Young Adventuress

Bilbao, Spain, spring, pintxos
Plaza de Miguel, Bilbao

Teaching in Summer Schools: an overview, the pros and the cons

If, like me, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is how you earn a living, then the chances are that at some point, either in the past, present or future, you have worked, are working or will work in one of the countless English Language summer schools that sweep western Europe. If that’s not the case, then you’ll have almost certainly considered it.

Given the fact that TEFL contracts tend not to last longer than nine months (usually late September through to late June), the summer – particularly its latter stages – is a penny-pinching time of year for EFL teachers. Throw in a summer holiday and a festival or two and there’s even more cause to worry about your finances.

So, unless you’ve another skill set that provides alternative means of work (good for you) or you’re just loaded/really good at saving/able to claim Spanish dole/content to live rent-free with your parents, signing up for one of these summer schools is pretty much unavoidable.

Overview

What?

Summer schools come in different shapes and sizes. Most are owned by large companies who run full-time academies during the rest of the year. In the UK, EF, St. Giles International, Embassy and EnglishUK are some of the best-known, with centres set up across the nation and an intake of thousands of students every year. Each course typically lasts around six to eight weeks and teachers are usually employed for anywhere between four and eight weeks.

The job involves preparing and teaching lessons in the morning five days a week, supervising students during afternoon and evening activities/day-long excursions and occasional meal/bed time duty. All in all, teachers generally work around 40-45 hours per week and receive full-board accommodation.

University funded schools are generally the most expensive for students and most profitable for teachers. I currently work for Hertford College at Oxford University, where I am paid enviably for the job and actual working hours I do, though jobs at the very best academies require adequate experience.

Where?

Anywhere. London, Oxford, Cambridge, Kent, Brighton and Edinburgh are popular breeding grounds for obvious reasons but there are schools in various cities throughout the UK.

Spain, France and Portugal also have a broad range of schools available, usually at more affordable prices given the absence of full language immersion. TECS are a Spanish company based in El Puerto de Santa María, Cadiz, who offer full-time summer courses for kids and teens in the surrounding areas.

Who?

As in who is right for the job. Just because you’re an EFL teacher doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll breeze through summer school. The demand is high, both professionally and physically. In the large companies mentioned above, teachers are hired to teach and be students’ friends, and most importantly, are expected to work well within a team, no matter what school it is.

summer school camp teaching english
Working as a team by singing YMCA very badly

Pros

Personal Development

The obvious selling point of TEFL is having the opportunity to experience and adapt to other cultures. A year of this, be it in Spain or a monastery on a mountain in Tibet, opens your eyes to what it’s really like to interact with natives in another language. So when the shoe is on the other foot, and you’re the native, you have a good idea of what is going through your students’ minds. Through your own learned experiences, you are better equipped to help students adapt to their new environment, and this does wonders for your interpersonal skills and cross-cultural awareness.

Better still, summer schools in the UK offer a whole other dynamic to teaching English because of the multilingual nature of the classrooms. Kids come from all over the world, often alone, so it is often the case that they have no choice but to speak English with their peers. Thus, English is taken beyond the classroom, where the teacher’s role is facilitator, rather than teacher.

summer school camp teaching english
Class of 2011

Professional Development

EFL teachers can easily become stuck in their ways; they are satisfied with the way they teach, their bosses are satisfied with the way things are run and the students are satisfied with the way they learn. Removing yourself from that comfort zone and starting afresh in a different teaching environment, with different input from all angles, really helps improve your teaching skills. People bounce ideas off each other, and everybody is generally very happy to share their efficacious lesson plans. By the end of a course, it’s not uncommon to leave with around 20GB or so worth of material, which will be great to take back with you to your regular job come September.

Touching Base

Life as an EFL teacher for many is fun and adventurous, and this is the picture we paint of it on Facebook for friends back home. We post the good stuff, the awesome days at the beach or a jungle trekking safari etc. For them, this is what we do, with the odd day of work thrown in from time to time.

summer school camp teaching english

We do do that, but there’s a lot more to it than just that isn’t there? I find that sometimes there’s a sense of incomprehension when I go home and meet friends for a drink. Sure, they’re interested and eager to hear your stories, but the idea of what it’s like to live within another culture with a different language is something only truly understood by someone else who has also done it. Summer schools are the perfect places to share this common knowledge, and touch base with people who’re doing what you’re doing, in some other part of the world.

summer school camp teaching english
Teachers ‘touching base’ in the pub

It’s a Chance to Save Money

With almost every residential teaching contract comes either heavily subsidised or full-board accommodation, so you rarely have to pay for your own meals. In fact, you rarely have to pay for anything at all. And if you manage not to go out on the piss with other teachers every night of the week then you might even save a few hundred quid. Just bear in mind that you will be taxed on all that you earn and Student Loans will of course have their share if you ticked the relevant box on the p46 form. I know, bastards!

Free Stuff

Unless you are employed on a teaching only contract, you will most likely be equally as responsible for supervising students on regular field trips. In the UK, this inevitably involves visits to London, Oxford, Cambridge, Windsor, Stratford-upon-Avon and other places of cultural interest. Personally, I’d never visited any of the above except London before I took my first job in summer school. It’s surprisingly refreshing to travel around your own country, and see places that you might not have ever bothered going to if you had to pay to get there.

summer school camp teaching english oxford
Catte Street, Oxford

Cons

Some Students

Emphasis on ‘some’. Most students are lovely, polite and very keen to learn as much English as possible and make the most of their trip. Others are not, and they are easy to spot. It’s generally kids who’re clearly more accustomed to having servants do everything for them. I’ll never forget Alla, who I had been sent to greet at the arrivals lounge at Heathrow. Dressed top to toe in the latest designer garb and joke-sized Gucci sunglasses, she rolled her Chanel suitcase toward me. ‘Welcome to England!’ I exclaimed. She let her suitcase fall flat to the ground, looked at me and then pointed to it. ‘Carry’ she replied.

To be fair, arrogant as she was, I actually found her to be highly amusing, just out of sheer incredulity. There are, however, other students who become the bane of your life, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The Food

By listing this as a con I feel rather like one of the students myself; this is, by far, the most complained about thing at summer school. It’s actually much better than the school dinners of our time, and very balanced as long as you don’t go overboard – but 4-6 weeks subsisting almost entirely on the stuff does take its toll. Spots appear, your belly swells and you fart more. Simple as.

The Hours

The hours are exhausting in the majority of schools. Teaching hours generally take place between 9am and 1-2pm, and then teachers either work for the afternoon or have a break before clocking back in to work in the evening. Fair enough, a lot of this ‘work’ comprises sports, trivia quizzes, ‘crazy games’, movie nights and karaoke, and there is one full day off per week, but there comes a point, usually when you are dressed as a gay zebra at an ‘African animal disco’ (but that’s another story) when you just think ‘I’m not a gay zebra. I’m tired. And I want to go to bed’. But you can’t go to bed because you’re on bedtime duty for the night, and you know that all the Saudi kids are going to keep you up until 2am.

summer school camp teaching english

The Pay

Generally, it is low, but then if you consider the free accommodation and food, it could be worse. In my experience, about £320 per week is average – anything lower than that isn’t worth working for – not if you’re working more than forty hours a week. There are some schools who will pay incredibly well – even up to £450 per week, but the level of expectation here is exceptionally high, and only teachers with a few years’ experience tend to get hired for these positions.

Missed Travelling Opportunities

The summer is a time to travel! And if, like me, you’re a travel fanatic – and let’s face it, who in TEFL isn’t? – you’ll never be able to shake the feeling of knowing you could be somewhere else in the world having yourself an unforgettable adventure. I, for one, am shit at saving money, so I can never afford to travel all summer, but if you are sensible enough with your money then I suppose it’s possible. Either way, the majority of summer schools do tend to close with at least a few weeks to go before term starts again, so there’s always a chance to hit the road in this window. Yay!

summer school camp teaching english

Have you ever worked at an English Language Summer School? Was this article helpful to you? Please leave your comments below :)

Getting started with TEFL

grammar tefl teaching english spain

by Ruth Kennedy

Doing some travelling around the world is becoming a rite of passage for more and more young people in the UK and North America; usually just before or after heading to university and ultimately settling into a career of some kind. The pre-university travelling – the gap year trip – is often about romping from place to place, taking in the sights and seeing the world as a footloose nomad for a few months. Although many people take on some volunteering while they are on a gap year, the focus is generally on getting out there and seeing the world before getting your nose to the grindstone.

Those who choose to go abroad after their studies are often looking for a unique experience but one that will also contribute to building a future and maybe even a career. Getting valuable experience, qualifications and holding down a job become the focus and a new way to experience travelling the world.

In this short guide we provide advice on some of the key considerations including studying for a TEFL qualification, how to find a work placement, how to arrange accommodation and how to prepare for going away.

TEFL Courses

A popular and really solid approach to moving abroad for some time is to study for a TEFL qualification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), which will open up teaching jobs across the globe. TEFL courses are hard work and a really strong qualification to have under your belt. This is particularly the case if you are interested in teaching as a long term career, but even if you plan on heading down a different career path teaching English abroad can help you develop skills that will be really useful no matter what you end up doing.

There are a few different TEFL courses available, of varying lengths and intensity. To open up lots of opportunities it’s a good idea to take one of the month long intensive courses. At the end of this you will be qualified for English teaching jobs all over the world and your course provider may also provide you with a list of current opportunities to help you find your first job. Asia is a top choice as well as the warmer areas of Europe, for example, Spain.

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Finding a Job

As mentioned above, it’s often the case that upon completing a TEFL course you’ll be given access to a list of potential job opportunities in different countries. If you want to look beyond this list there are some other websites that can be really helpful. Sites such as Go Overseas and Footprints Recruiting list jobs and offer lots of helpful information so you can quickly find your feet with a job in the country you want to live.

Arranging Accommodation

Some work placements abroad include a place to stay – accommodation can be part of the payment for your services, whereas other placements have their own accommodation which you must pay to rent. This allows you to formulate a reliable plan for where you’ll live, and it can be particularly good for meeting people when you arrive and creating a network of friends who are doing a similar job to you while you’re abroad.

If you aren’t getting accommodation through your placement you can either arrange a place to stay before you head out or you could organise temporary accommodation at a hostel for the beginning of your stay. This gives you a chance to visit places once you arrive to find a place where you’ll be happy and secure while you’re there. Host families, private apartments and hostel accommodation are all options, and it really just depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to have and how much cash you’ll have to spend on living costs.

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Other Considerations

Beyond the obvious things like finding a job and somewhere to stay, there are a few other bits that you’ll need to sort out as part of your move. One is international health insurance, which may need to be specific to place where you go. Aetna International (more info) offers information about moving abroad and will help you find the most suitable policy to cover you for your stay.

You may also need to open a bank account in the country you are heading to, and you should also let your current bank know that you are leaving the country for the time being. You may even be able to set up an international current account with your home bank rather than open an account separately abroad – although being able to go into a branch when you need to could be a real advantage while you’re away.

The best thing you can do is speak to other people who have taken a similar trip and find out what worked for them. Once you get the logistics sorted you can head out on the adventure of a lifetime and come back with a range of skills and aptitudes that will stand you in great stead as you enter the world of work back home.

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