I’m Teaching English in Spain

Yes, I am currently teaching English in Spain.
No, I did not plan it, nor am I a qualified teacher (or claim to be one).
But somehow I ended up here and I’m really glad I did.

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As I’ve previously mentioned, I came to Spain with the intention of learning Spanish and working as an au pair to help manage the costs of living. However the au pair was… umm… not for me.

After quickly realising this, I was on the hunt for something new and almost immediately it fell right in my lap.

Just a couple months into my au pair stint, I met a girl who was working as both an au pair and also teaching English in a school. After a good conversation with her, I had already mentally quit my au pair job and was ready to be a teacher. She put me in contact with the right people, and after several emails and an interview, I had a job – all in the space of 2 weeks. The timing really was perfect.

What I’d signed up for was a late entrance to the Auxiliares de Conversacion programme with the Communidad de Madrid (Madrid City Council).

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This programme places roughly 800 native English speakers in schools all over the Madrid region every year, to help with English classes. Applicants are required to have a Bachelors Degree (in anything) and legal papers to live in Spain – something I thought I needed as an au pair (not actually necessary), so I already had.

Learning English is a priority in Madrid and in all schools it is mandatory (for at least a few years). I was placed in a bilingual primary school in quite a nice area of Madrid, where luckily for me all the students already had quite good English levels (phew, because my Spanish still sucks…).

My contract is 16 hours a week, and pays 1000€ per month tax free. Pretty sweet considering I’d been living off just 280€ per month as an au pair.

For the most part I really enjoy my job.

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The kids make me laugh on a daily basis and my co-workers are really nice. I have no deadlines, targets or reports to make; I am rather stress free.

However, at times the work can be boring – listening to kids read me the same story over and over again is really no ones idea of fun. But at least it’s easy work.

Although I do enjoy it, I can’t say I’m dying to be a teacher now. It’s really not my passion and not something I see myself doing long-term. At the moment it’s convenient – an easy job that allows me to stay in Spain (legally) and also earn enough money to travel often.

I plan on staying in the programme for one more year, in order to cross a few more things of my bucket list, and travel a little further.

13 Comments

  1. Hi Liz! Thanks for sharing your advice for us, it is a great read. I was wondering if you had any advice on getting a visa. I am planning to come over to Spain from New Zealand. I am on a New Zealand passport only. Did you have much trouble getting a working visa for Spain?

    • Hi Kate, if you want to get a job its best to get a visa before you go. It’s really easy – just go to the website for the Embassy of Spain in New Zealand (they’re in Wellington) and either find the visa form you want (student or working holiday are easiest – you can work as a part-time teacher on both of these) or email them and tell them your situation and they’ll send you the forms to fill out. They can also sort your NIE – which is like a social security number, which you will need.
      I think it’s harder to get a full work visa as you need a job secured before you go over.

  2. Hi Liz!! I am literally moving to Madrid in two weeks. Going to live with a family I’m Brunete to tutor English for two months. Then looking for work. Do you have any advice? Any contacts? Your blog is very encouraging for me!

    • Hi Emilie, that sounds really exciting, I’m sure you will love Madrid! I have never been to Brunete but I would 100% recommend trying to move closer to the city (right in the centre is the best!). This way you’ll make more friends and have more of a social life. You could do this by looking for work at an English academy or work as an au pair. For either of these just search on the internet – maybe au-pairworld.org or lingobongo.com – or just search on Facebook for English teachers in Madrid – join a group and post that you’re looking for a job!

  3. Really cool to read about your experience as an English teacher in Spain! I taught English here in Germany for three years, but to adults rather than kids. I don’t blog in written form, but I have a Youtube channel where I make videos about my experiences, and a few weeks ago I made a video about my life as an English teacher here in Munich, Germany. I included it in the “website” field of this comment if you’re interested! 🙂

  4. Hi Liz, I always dreamt of going to Spain to teach English, but it never happened in the end 🙁 One idea someone gave me to travel and earn really good money is to work on Superyachts, a lot of Kiwis and Australians do. You need to get your STCW95 (costs about £1k) then a medical certificate ENG1 (about £85). Then head to Antibes in April/May time or Antigua in November. Hang out in a crew house and you’ll soon find a job. My first job I was earning £3k a month.

    • Yes, I love Spain too!
      And wow you were an au pair too?! Do you have a post on it? Would love to read about your experience (hoping it was better than mine!)

  5. This is awesome! Well done! I’ve geen a bit defeatist over trying to land a teaching job in western Europe. I have no experience, but I do have an 140 hour online TEFL certificate and degree. Still it just seemed complicated. I might now give it another go!

  6. Hi Liz! That’s a nice gig you’ve got there 🙂 and some of the best things happen unplanned too! As you said, even if its not your long-term cup of tea, it allows you to live and stay in Europe (a dream for many!) and earn enough to travel. Have fun 🙂

    • Thanks! Yes, I keep reminding myself how lucky I really am – even if I’m not making a huge amount of money. Living within my means, is all I really need.

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