Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Finding EFL jobs in Spain

I recently received an email from an EFL teacher about the best way to seek English teaching jobs in Spain from outside the country. He’s tried to apply for jobs online, but he hasn’t had much luck, so he’s thinking about coming directly here for the job search. Here are my thoughts:

1) If you want to come to Spain and look for work, your best bet is to start in Madrid. There are new jobs opening up almost year-round. The only real downtimes are June-August and December. Other than that, you can almost always find work, with the best times being October, mid-January (a lot of English teachers go home for Christmas and never come back), and after Semana Santa (also thanks to the sudden disappearance of teachers).

A quick search for language academies in Madrid (on http://www.academias.com/) brings up more than 260, and you can bet that almost all of them offer English classes. There’s also a huge expat community, so it’s easy to network and meet people who can help you get work at their academies and/or pass on private students.

Most English academies in Madrid do not bother recruiting much outside of Spain, because they don’t have to. They may place ads on www.tefl.com or another EFL job site, but by the time your CV has reached their inbox, they’ve probably already had 10 English teachers drop off their CVs in person.

2) In other Spanish cities, where there may not be such a huge community of English teachers, you might have more luck finding a job through an ESL or EFL job site. However, the best time of year to look for these jobs is around May or June, when the academies know which of their current teachers are staying for the next academic year (starting in late September or October) and how many positions they will need to fill.

Nonetheless, preference will likely be given to candidates coming from other parts of Spain. A director of studies would rather hire someone who they can interview in person than someone who sends their CV from South Korea. I know two people who were offered jobs in Seville (for the following academic year) while working in León and Madrid, because they were able to take a quick trip to Seville for the interview. Another friend of mine made the transition from La Rioja to Ávila because she was able to show up in person for an interview. I once considered a move to Vigo from Madrid – I sent my resume to all of the academies I could find online, and they all responded in the same way: “Come to Vigo, talk to us, and we’ll see what we can arrange.”

So, to reiterate, if you want to come teach English in Spain but are willing to wait until the next academic year, you may have some luck looking on the TEFL job boards in spring. You could also try doing a Google search for “academias de inglés” in the city of your choice and send a letter to each of the schools, stating your planned date of arrival and qualifications to teach English.

If you want to move here in the more immediate future, consider starting out in Madrid -- you know you’ll find work, you know you’ll meet plenty of other EFL teachers who can give you advice and contacts, and from Madrid you can easily get to any other Spanish city with a cheap flight, bus trip, or train ride. (And before you ask, I don’t recommend Barcelona as a place to start out. I did my TEFL course there, and my classmates who stayed on struggled to find even five hours of class a week. There are just too many English teachers and not enough jobs.)

I hope that helps. Good luck!

3 comments:

Barbara said...

Having never worked in Madrid, I can't comment on how easy it is to find work, but you want to start out in a less overwhelming environment, choose a small or middle-sized city (e.g. Ourense, Linares, Zaragoza), grab the Yellow Pages and note down all the language school addresses and pound the pavement with copies of your CV to hand. Early September is a good time to look in the more provincial towns and cities.

Luz de Reiki Madrid said...

I worked in Madrid for 5 years and it is really easy to find work, my first year there I ended up cancelling several interviews because I had enough good job offers to choose from, but it is much easier to find work when you´re there. Another thing is a lot of employers only advertise in the local expat magazines, to avoid an inundation of CVs I suppose, and to ensure face to face interviews.

Elena Riches said...

Hi, live in Barcelona and work as a teacher on a good wage. I did my TEFL course through a company called Oxbridge TEFl and they subsidise the normal cost of the course with a view to employing you once you get your certificate. For more info, or to arrange a no obligation interview, click here:http://www.oxbridgetefl.com/?idc=72&k=4sadu88udi2&f=blogger