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Action Plan for Teaching in Southern Spain Advice Requested
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teachertomthailand



Joined: 31 Aug 2015
Posts: 30
Location: Boston, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:37 am    Post subject: Action Plan for Teaching in Southern Spain Advice Requested Reply with quote

I have a plan and I would like to know if this sounds reasonable. I will go to the Spainwise.net job fair in May 2016 to look for a job and then study intensive Spanish for at least 4 weeks at International House Cordoba where I can stay with a local family while I am studying. My goal is to become fluent and I have been going through the memrise basic Spanish program to get ready for it. I want to work in Southern Spain because I like warm weather and I am fascinated by the history and culture of the region.

A little background: I am an American with Irish citizenship so I can work in the EU. I have two years of experience teaching adults in China. I already have a TEFL and I just took the CELTA. I am currently teaching children in Thailand.

I would like to hear from anyone who has any helpful suggestions for working in Spain, everything from tips on learning Spanish, finding an apartment, what to do during the summer when there is no work, etc. Another question I have: is it possible to teach business English in the summer? Or should I just save some money and take a holiday somewhere for two months?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:31 am    Post subject: Re: Action Plan for Teaching in Southern Spain Advice Reques Reply with quote

teachertomthailand wrote:
A little background: I am an American with Irish citizenship so I can work in the EU. I have two years of experience teaching adults in China. I already have a TEFL and I just took the CELTA. I am currently teaching children in Thailand.

Do you have a bachelor's degree?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11497
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BA is not a legal requirement to teach in most of Europe, though as most newbies on the job market will have one, it's preferred.
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teachertomthailand



Joined: 31 Aug 2015
Posts: 30
Location: Boston, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I do indeed have a bachelor's degree. Do you have any suggestions or useful information regarding the Spanish job market?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11497
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pick a big city, go over in the peak hiring period (September), and you're likely to find something. There are some summer camp gigs in the summer, but usually very poorly paid. Businesspeople very often take holiday in the summer; it would be likely difficult to cobble together much that would be meaningful in terms of income.

Your experience in Asia won't be viewed as a big plus by European employers. Where did you do your CELTA? If also with Asian students, this is a minus. Not to say that you wouldn't find a job, but that you won't be considered far above a bare entry level newbie.

Demonstrating awareness of the differences between Asian and European students will help; there is a thread on this in the General Europe forum.

Being on the ground to interview in person is also a good idea - most entry level jobs aren't found from abroad on this job market.

Are you also posting on the China board or is that someone different?
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teachertomthailand



Joined: 31 Aug 2015
Posts: 30
Location: Boston, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did the CELTA in Bangkok. The bigwig who came to certify our CELTA class near the end assured us that it doesn't matter where you take the CELTA what matters is that you have it.

I am not posting on the China forum, I am done with China! I have a general idea how European students could be different from Asians in that European students could be more demanding. I will look for the post you mentioned. By the way my degree is in European History which is why I know that Southern Spain is so cool.

It's ok if I am seen as an entry level teacher, I am willing to pay my dues and work my way up. If someone gives me a chance they will see what I can do.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11497
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I expect that someone will hire you- just don't make the mistake of touting your Asian experience much. Not that you would necessarily, but it's a fairly common mistake on the part of teachers making this transition.

he only difference in the Bangkok CELTA is that your practice teaching students will have been Thai, presumably (rather than European).

'More demanding' is correct in a nutshell, though that takes some various forms.

Here's the thread: http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=95456&start=0

You'll be fine; great that you see it as entry level and are willing to pay some dues - that attitude will really help.

Good luck!
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:30 am    Post subject: Spain Reply with quote

I don't know how warm you like it, but temperatures in central and southern Spain regularly get into the 40s (that's 100+ Fahrenheit) in summer.

Summer camps aren't necessarily badly paid; I earned slightly more in each camp I worked in (nine in total) than I did in my usual job for just over three weeks' work, with food, accommodation and excursions thrown in. If summer camps don't appeal, shop around for schools offering 12-month contracts. They're not that common, but can be found.

You can augment your meagre earnings by giving private classes. There are some very wealthy Colombians in Spain. Wink

When you've paid enough employment insurance contributions you'll be able to claim unemployment benefit.

As for learning Spanish, simply being there will be a great help. There are plenty of Spaniards looking for intercambios, whereby you help each other with your respective languages. Some language schools offer free or subsidised Spanish lessons to their teachers, so be sure to ask when you're job-hunting.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Your plan sounds good as you have a CELTA and experience (my experience in Spain wasn't that they wouldn't appreciate experience in Asia) but the timing is perhaps a bit off. Things don't kick off until September/October, so, other than summer camps (not my preference) you'll be struggling to find work in summer (especially August).
I worked during summer in an academy but that was in Madrid. Whether you have the funds to get through an entire summer with no work is obviously up to you. Southern Spain is noticeably cheaper than Madrid, though.

I worked in Madrid, but a girl on my CELTA course has already arranged employment in Cordoba (I prefer Granada but I like both cities), though I'd still choose Madrid for ease of finding work (though I realise you prefer Andalucia).
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teachertomthailand



Joined: 31 Aug 2015
Posts: 30
Location: Boston, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ graham: I love hot weather, I have lived in subtropical climates now for over two years. You are the first person I have seen to say something good about the summer camps. I want to go to the Spainwise job fair in May and then go to Academica Hispanica IH Cordoba to study intensive Spanish for a month or maybe more. Once I go to Spain I don't want to go anywhere else so if I could work at a summer camp that could help tide me over until a job starts in the fall.

@Nicky: I would be interested in hearing why you like Granada. I saw so many Almodovar movies that I am looking forward to visiting Madrid very much. I heard it gets pretty cold in the winter, is that true?
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: Brrr! Reply with quote

I enjoyed the dry heat in central Spain, and have happy memories of sitting in the shade drinking chilled beers.

Coming from a damp climate, I found the dry cold in Madrid hard to take. There's plenty of sunshine there in winter, however, and you'll see lots of people in the public parks at weekends. If you're a chess player, you'll get a game in the Parque del Buen Retiro in central Madrid.
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 234
Location: Neither here nor there

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you been to southern Spain before? Grahamb isn’t joking about the temperatures; the last time I went to Córdoba it was hitting mid-forties, not much fun at all. It’s a lovely city though, full of interest. I would say be flexible in terms of where you want to teach in the south, you might find that there’s more work in another place. At least you haven’t got the Madrid/Barcelona fixation which a lot of newbies to this forum seem to have.

You could do a tonne of study before you get to Spain: online courses, duolingo, apps, and RTVE is putting more and more programmes online with subtitles which are free to view anywhere, soak it all up.

Summers tend to be quiet, but there are intensive courses going on for students preparing for the Cambridge exams for the late August dates, you might get something there. Learn about the Cambridge suite of exams (KET, PET, FCE, etc.), these are big in Spain.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

teachertomthailand wrote:
@ graham: I love hot weather, I have lived in subtropical climates now for over two years. You are the first person I have seen to say something good about the summer camps. I want to go to the Spainwise job fair in May and then go to Academica Hispanica IH Cordoba to study intensive Spanish for a month or maybe more. Once I go to Spain I don't want to go anywhere else so if I could work at a summer camp that could help tide me over until a job starts in the fall.

@Nicky: I would be interested in hearing why you like Granada. I saw so many Almodovar movies that I am looking forward to visiting Madrid very much. I heard it gets pretty cold in the winter, is that true?


Because of the mountains and scenery. Cordoba is great but there isn't much outside the city. I haven't spent much time in either city just to be clear. I definitely preferred the both to Seville which I felt had a similar big-city atmosphere to Madrid but was just too hot.

For me, Madrid was not particularly cold in winter. You have to wear a jacket, yes, but it rarely rains and is usually sunny.
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teachertomthailand



Joined: 31 Aug 2015
Posts: 30
Location: Boston, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@spiral78

Thank you for the link that talked about the differences between European students and Asian students, I read the entire thread and now I understand. I did not teach grammar in China because they over emphasize this in school so I must bone up on my grammar. At the moment I am teaching children and there is no opportunity to teach it but my local International House has two day Grammar Refresher classes and at my CELTA I got some grammar book suggestions. If anyone has any other ideas how I can learn grammar please let me know. I am living in a tiny town with nothing to do and I have lots of free time for studying.

Although I admit that I enjoy the status that teachers have here in Asia this is not something that is necessary for me at all. That's just ego stuff anyway. The important thing is being with the students and helping them learn.
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teachertomthailand



Joined: 31 Aug 2015
Posts: 30
Location: Boston, USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way how do I find out about working in a summer camp?
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