Teaching in spain
There are many international schools in Spain, and many language schools
that teach English. Spain is very popular as a destination for international
teachers. The connection with the rest of Europe along with the wonderful
climate makes Spain a very popular choice. There are differing opinions
of the experiences that teachers have had whilst they have been there.
It seems that the experience depends very much on the school that they
have been teaching at. The first thing that teachers in Spain complain
about is the pay (don't we all?). As soon as a teacher has a family to
support, the salary becomes an issue. Strangely enough, the teachers in
International schools in Spain are paid less than their national counterparts
in national schools (although their pay rates are still lower than the
English counterparts). Tax rate is around 25-30% including social security.
The pay in the private international sector seems to hover around 1200-1400
euros take home (summer 2004)- with no pension provision, rent at between
300 and 600 euros a month (depending, obviously) and no job security.
Of course the rent depends on the location. For example in Madrid, the
rent is higher, but therefore the pay is also. However, the upside of
living here is that once you leave the school building your time is your
own; marking is the same obviously, but record keeping, planning etc is
a minimum time commitment in comparison to the UK. The weather is lovely
80% of the time, the people friendly and the way of life is just generally
If you come out to Spain, you should not be naive. Be prepared to ask
difficult questions about the conditions etc. If the school is clearly
not happy about answering the questions or not convincing, then maybe
you should think twice about going there. If they respect the employment
laws, and show good respect to the teachers there, they will have nothing
To work in a Spanish state school, you need to pass the "Oposiciones"
examinations. These are both ridiculous, in that they require a mass or
totally arcane knowledge, and horrendously difficult. I know quite good
Spanish teachers who have been trying to pass them for years. And before
you can even sit for the exams, you have to get your English degree "convalidated"
which is not always as simple as it ought to be given EU regulations.
A few years ago, a friend of mine tried to get his degree convalidated
and was told that he would have to take extra courses in Arabic and Ancient
The reason why there is such a well qualified body of teachers in Spain in a state schools is because its a very good job. Its very well paid and they do not have as many violent incidents at schools as in other countries according to statistics.
Before any native speaker of English can even begin to think about taking the oposiciones, they must pass the Cervantes test to indicate fluency in spanish. This along with convalidacion will allow one to take the test.
Private schools here are cheap, mainly due to the abundance of catholic schools. International schools can't raise fees too high without losing students. No matter how low the pay, people keep on applying for the jobs because Spain is a good place to live and you don't have to worry about the National Curriculum.
To summarise, Spain can be a great place to work and teach, but you should not go into any situation with rose coloured spectacles. In international teacher needs to be able to rely on their own resourcefulness and ability to really read the situation the way it is. If you keep this in mind, you should not really have any problems.