Note: Here is a more up-to-date post on teaching English in Granada.
When I was doing my CELTA back in 2008, I could never have guessed that I’d end up teaching English in Spain for 5 years as a result. The quality of life that comes with TEFL (at least in Granada) is fantastic, and I’ve had 5 very happy years here.
Okay, perhaps its not the most lucrative of job opportunities, but whether you’re in it for the long run or just for a brief spell, there probably isn’t a better way to immerse yourself in a new culture while earning a steady income.
I taught 20 hours of English to a variety of levels and ages per week, didn’t start work until the afternoon and was paid a decent wage at the end of each month. I had a great social life, spent with friends both in and out of work – allowing me the opportunity to speak in both English and Spanish on a regular basis. I can even nip up to the Sierra Nevada to feed my snowboarding addiction at least two or three times a month, without worrying too much about the cost!
Don’t get me wrong – by no means does the job come without responsibilities: consistent high-quality planning, assessments of students’ work and technical expertise are but a few standard requirements. However, it does allow for a relatively stress-free and leisurely lifestyle that seems increasingly uncommon in the UK these days.
Teaching English in Spain also means you get to live abroad, learn another language and make new friends. While the promise of that now hangs in the balance following Brexit (the mere mention of which makes me grimace), no major changes to British residents’ rights are expected to take place within in the next couple of years. And it’s likely that there will be an agreeable compromise made between the UK and Spain given how invested Brits already are in this country. If you’re not British and hold an EU passport (and you can speak good enough English to teach it), then good for you!
Becoming a qualified English teacher
In order to get a job teaching English in Spain you’ll need a qualification behind you. The best and most widely recognised are the Cambridge CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) and Trinity TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). These courses last for about four weeks (intensive) or six months (part-time) and are offered all over the world for a fee within the region of £1100. That might seem expensive but keep in mind that a higher fee generally reflects a higher standard of quality training.
However, there are plenty of cheaper and shorter online courses to choose from. These will give you a broad idea of ELT theories and techniques but often do not include actual teaching practice. For this reason, a great deal of Language Schools in Spain only take on teachers with either the CELTA or TESOL.
There is one centre in Granada that offers the 4-week CELTA course, and many more throughout Andalucía. However, due to the tough competition for TEFL jobs in Spain, schools are usually swamped with applications – hence the need for a more personal touch and a healthy dose of lateral thinking.
Finding a job teaching English in Spain
As for availability of work, there are masses of language schools to choose from in Andalucía; here in Granada new academies are popping up all the time, due to the high demand for exam preparation courses. There is even more work in Seville, where some schools even offer the possibility of employment following completion of a CELTA course in their own teacher-training academies. A great way to start the job hunt is browsing current job postings on tefl.com, to see where you could start your adventure.
So, whether you’re a student who has fallen in love with Spain and would love a reason to come back, or just a regular somebody looking for a change of scene, TEFL can provide you with the means to teach and learn simultaneously. It can relieve the pressures and stress of working in the UK. It can take you just about anywhere you want to go in the world. It brought me to Spain, where I’ve since lived (mostly) and made a home. Best decision ever.