Joined: 21 Jun 2006
|Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:31 pm Post subject: Teaching In Madrid: Has The Market Changed In 10 Years?
|I used to teach in Madrid, and I would like to know if things have changed. The first time I went there, I was totally excited by the adventure of living in such an amazing, and fascinating city: the sort of place where you might just walk down the street and see entertaining people(not all of them sane)-what I would call the "human comedy" at its best, especially in the "Puerta del sol" area, but not exclusively. And this is without considering the city's active nightlife! In fact, I met interesting people without even leaving the house.
In Madrid, I found it very easy to make friends. It was as if I attracted people like a magnet. I was of course deliberately going out to meet people. The blessing was that it was so unlike other places-the south of England- or rural Korea-where people may take 6 months to warm up to you. I must admit I did speak the language fluently. That helped.
What about teaching? We-e-e-ll, that's another matter. Someone did suggest, with my Spanish skills, that I could do non-teaching jobs. Back then, before the economic catastrophe, that was possible.
What were the "academias" like? Well, during my first stint, it was almost ALL in-company. There were some kids but they were "at home" which was worse. Oh, I had some nice company classes. But it was strange-the school functioned more as an agency, giving me just a textbook. And businessmen and -women were by no means always available during class time. Classes were scattered like confetti over Madrid. Yes, the excellent transport system made things just about possible. But it was a struggle. The job threatened to unravel, and I kept looking for extra classes. I usually had to be careful with money and near the end had to use savings.
So different from the Far East!
It is also difficult to find a flat in Madrid. If you come in late August, as I did, it gets a bit easier, though.
Oh, and by the way, at no time in Madrid, did I ever get a contract! I wonder if anyone did?
The second time I was offered classes all inside the school. Again there was no contract, but I moved into a flat on day two, and had classes fairly quickly, in mid-August!!!! That is unheard of in Spain. August is for the beach not work. For a time, I had loads and loads of classes, but then the classes were cut back, and I was told I had to go. I was not capturing enough students. (The boss went round every few days asking if people wanted another teacher).
As soon as that happened, I booked my flight out of Spain. This was the last time I ever taught in Madrid. By then I had taught elsewhere and been rewarded for doing so! I have taught adult Spanish students since, and they were great. But often in Madrid, the job is more about being a salesman than a teacher. It's edu-tainment, yes, but also like selling used cars, or encyclopedias, you are selling yourself, in a more direct way than is usually the case.
How has Madrid changed? How has the teaching scene changed? Is the range of teaching options wider than it was?
Emotionally, I might want to return. But as I said before, it's not the only fascinating city. Istanbul, Tokyo, and Seoul are great. Some of Korea's smaller cities have a great nightlife. Beijing can be fun too. But Madrid? I would go back if I was going to do a master's degree in Spanish.