Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Absolutely nothing to do with Spain!

So I recently came across some old magazines (late 70s) in my parents' basement, and I find the old cigarette ads fascinating. I mean, can you imagine a time when saying "If it wasn't for Winston, I wouldn't smoke" somehow reflected positively on Winston cigarettes?!? I suppose this does in a way loosely relate to Spain, since smoking is fairly acceptable there, as it once was in the U.S....


Heidi said...

Hi there, stumbled on your blog...I used to be a TEFL teacher as well, and lived in Spain for two I miss it! I haven't written in my old blog for quite some time, but you're welcome to read some stuff about Logrono and Andalucia (also have some stuff in there about Portugal if you're interested). My apologies, I don't believe my entries are as in depth as yours, but I thought since I'm reading your past experiences in Spain, perhaps you'd like to read some of mine. I lived in Madrid for 3 months (took TEFL course at Canterbury English school in Madrid), then Logrono in La Rioja for a year, and then finally in the southern province of Andalucia (Huelva) for another one. I do agree with many of your entries...some things were quite frustrating...but the positives outweighed the negatives in the end. I miss Spain with all my heart, and it's only been 2 years since I left...I can't seem to find your profile on this blog, you were there how many years? Anyway, I'll keep reading your blog,
Hasta luego

Heidi said...

Oh yeah, haha, I guess this would be important info, eh? is my old blog :P

musica said...

Hey Heidi,

I just took a quick look at your blog, and it looks great! I'll definitely be back to read more of it (right now I must work). I'm curious to know what life is like for a teacher in Andalusia. I often thought about moving down there, but once I had established roots (i.e., friends) in Madrid, it was hard to make the move.

I also miss Spain terribly, now that I'm gone. I know my blog tends to highlight more of the negatives, but that's mainly because I wanted to cover things that might not be found elsewhere. Believe me, I can (and often do) go on for hours and hours about all the wonderful things to see, and eat, and do, and experience in Spain. I will never regret the time I spent there, and some day I will achieve my dream of buying a little house in the mountains of Galicia or Asturias!

Take care...

A Pi said...

I like this entry, "If it wasn't for Winston, I wouldn't smoke"

I recently applied for a job teaching English at an academy here, and during the interview I was told how much the pay is and it seemed really low. It comes out to about 8.6 euros/hour, and I'm not even sure if that's before or after taxes. Granted, I have no teaching experience, no ESL certificates (just a bachelor's degree), and I live in a region of Spain where the cost of living is comparatively low (Galicia), but still. I'm a native speaker and there don't seem to be any others in this city.
Everyone I've talked to here says the pay is really good, but I'm skeptical. Do you mind divulging into the average pay for someone with no experience in Madrid?

musica said...

Hi A Pi,

Was that 8.6 euros/hour for teaching time, or did that take into account travel time? In Madrid, pay is all over the place, but the average is probably around 12 or 13 euros/hour. So of course there will be some people who earn single digits per hour and some who earn 16 or more with an academy. BUT... those numbers don't include travel, and in Madrid you usually have to travel a fair bit to teach. So while you may get 15 euros for a 1-hour class, you may also spend 1.5 hours round-trip on the bus to get there. So you're really getting 15 euros for 2.5 hours of your time -- which comes out to 6 euros an hour -- ouch!

As for having or not having experience, a lot depends on the academy and on you. I knew several teachers in Madrid who did not have TEFL certificates. One of my friends did start out with a very low-paying job (around 9/hour), but once she had a few months of experience and made some connections, she was able to move to the 12/hour range. Another friend of mine had no TEFL degree or teaching experience but still got a job making 15/hour teaching business English, because he had corporate experience and showed up to the interview in a suit!
Many academies also provide their own training in-house or supplementary training for teachers, so it's often not an issue if you don't have the TEFL certificate.

That being said, right now is not a good time to look for jobs in Madrid, as the city is dead in August. Everyone has to escape the heat and get to the coast, so there are barely any classes and most academies just close up for August. Try your luck in September if you want to go to Madrid...

Good luck!

A Pi said...

The academy has 3 locations and they're all about a half an hour walk away from me and from each other. If I get the job I'll be sure to ask what my schedule will be like so I can figure out if it's worth my time or not.

Thanks so much for the info!

Also, it's weird that in Madrid they don't really start looking until September; it seems like it would be disorganized. When I applied to places here in early June they said it was the best time to apply.

musica said...

You've hit the nail on the head, A Pi -- it's *completely* disorganized in Madrid! Don't even get me started... :)

From everything I've heard from friends and colleagues who've taught in smaller cities or villages in Spain, things are much more organized there. Like you said, many academies spend the summer sorting out their schedules, teachers, etc. In Madrid, it's all very last minute. In some ways, it's good, because during the year there are always new opportunities popping up... but it's also incredibly hectic and frustrating at times. I guess you just have to take the bad with the good...

Randy Flowers said...

Hey yall!

I can’t find any way to ask these questions other than as a comment!

I am a Texan 47 yr old single dad, from Texas, and wanting badly to LIVE to Spain. There’s questions at the end of this, but some background first. Thanks for the help!

I was married to a Swedish woman (she is in Dallas now also) and we had children while living in Sweden, so they are dual citizens. My kids and ex-wife are EU citizens, but I am NOT an EU citizen. We lived in Sweden from 94-99. We moved back to Dallas in 99 and have stayed here ever since then. We divorced in 04 and have joint custody of the kids. We have two girls, a 13 year old, and a 12 year old autistic daughter.

Both myself and my ex-wife are badly wanting to move back to Europe, but NOT live in Sweden. We want to live in Spain for many reasons (warmth, etc).

The problem is, while SHE and the kids are EU citizens, I personally AM NOT an EU citizen. Thus, I will be going to Spain as a pure USA immigrant.

I am a PCB (printed circuit board) designer for over 20 years, but those jobs are VERY hard to find now (all been outsourced to Asian low wage earners). I might be able to find a PCB design job in Spain, but the company would have to get me a work visa, which makes it VERY hard to find a PCB job in Spain I am thinking.

So, I am planning on changing careers at 47!

I was planning on a 2 pronged approach to earning enough money to live in Spain.

First, I am planning on getting my TEFL certificate (in Dallas) and then finding a LEGAL job in Spain before moving there.

Second, I am going to school to become a ‘Holistic Nutrition Coach’. After 1 year of ONLINE nutrition school, I will know the best methods of nutrition. I will be able to teach nutrition to anyone, but will focus on teaching parents of special needs children how to help their kids. If I could average 10 clients month (2 sessions at 50 euros total per month), I could bring in another 500 euros per month. I could probably do this under the table to avoid taxes. Here is my new nutrition blog (click on Our Story for pics!):

Third, since my ex-wife and children are Swedish, we should be able to get almost 1000 euros per month from the Sweden for help with our autistic daughter, which we will split. Thus, I will have 500 euros per month coming in from Sweden.

If I can make 1000 Euros per month (after taxes) as an english teacher, combine that with 500 Euros as a nutrition coach and 500 for help with our autistic daughter, that’s nearly 2000 Euros per month. This might be optimistic though!

If I can get into Spain and earn enough income to make it, I will work diligently to become a permanent resident of Spain!

With that said, I have some questions:

1) Should I take my TEFL certificate training in Dallas or should I move to Spain and then get it there?

2) What about finding a LEGAL English teacher job in Spain BEFORE moving there? I hate the idea of moving to Spain and THEN trying to find a job.

3) How hard is it to find legal work as an English teacher, given that I am NOT an EU citizen and am competing with British teachers that ARE EU citizens? With determination, will I be able to find a job? I know unemployment is over 20% now too! Surely there has to be a way to get a stable job!

4) I am guessing that I will need 1350 euros per month (AFTER taxes, see below), and that factors in NO misc type expenses at all! Yikes. Remember, I am single and support 2 kids half the time.

Monthly Expenses Guess (in Euros):

• 600 rent
• 100 utilities
• 400 groceries
• 100 car gas
• 50 car insurance
• 50 phone
• 50 internet

Just how accurate are the above expense costs?
Do I NEED a car?

5) What can I expect to earn, per year AFTER taxes, in Spain as an TEFL English teacher with no EU citizenship?

6) Who should I email for further advice? I am looking for individual Americans that live in Spain and that I could email with questions!

Randy Flowers

musica said...

Hi Randy,

Thanks for leaving your questions. I'm going to answer them (as best as I can!) in a separate post.