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3 reasons why I'm getting out of here for good
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imisssaitama



Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 44
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:09 pm    Post subject: 3 reasons why I'm getting out of here for good Reply with quote

This has been my experience in Spain and does fit with the experiences of many other people I've met working in TEFL here.
I won't be checking responses to this as I'm mainly interested in discouraging people from working in Spain so that others do not have to go through what I have. I'm sure it's bad in other European countries too but I don't have experience of those countries so I can't comment. I do accept that maybe I was unlucky or just going about things the wrong way. But I met too many people in the same boat to believe that.

1. The Money
The money is a pathetic joke. Most employers want you to be qualified, experienced and work your arse off for them but they don't want to pay for these qualifications, this experience and this hard work. Employers don't give a toss if you're not making enough money to survive or you have nowhere to go and no way of earning money in the stupidly long summer holidays. They just expect you to come back to them again when they need you and don't really seem to consider the possibility that you feel totally exploited and have left the country. To make matters worse many employers expect you to be loyal to them and not take private students or make up the pathetic number of hours you've been given by working for another company. Some employers will even blacklist you for doing this as I suspect has happened to me. I don't expect and have never expected TEFL to be a cakewalk but if I'm so poor I find myself having to either share a flat with 5 complete strangers or wait until my underpants are nothing more than elastic waistbands with strips of material hanging from them before I splash out on the cheapest boxers I can find, it makes me seriously wonder if Spain is the best I can do. (And by the way, anyone who's tried working through the summer here will know that 10 euros can seem like a fortune and if you don't need to spend it you won't) If you think that working yourself half to death is the answer to this problem all I can say is good luck getting the hours and be ready to fight to be paid what you are owed. (I had to fight for 400 euros two years ago).

2. The General Work
I don't know where to start. What happened to working 9 - 5 being paid for ALL the work you do for your employer and not having to worry about yet another national, regional or municipal holiday burning a hole in your pocket? Is it too much to ask? Employers who do offer fair working conditions are often so swamped with refugees from other companies that the competition for a position with them can be brutal. I'm not asking for a company car or a yearly raise I'm just asking for stability and the means to live a sustainable life in Spain. Maybe the only way to make employers care about the living conditions of their teaching staff is for everybody to just abandon them and go to another country. But by then it will be too late. Private students are a whole other thorn in my side. If I have even been able to get as far as arranging a first class with them they cancel at the last second because "I have to help to my cooousin". One student kept me waiting TWO months before finally being available to meet up with me and then had the audacity to demand a free lesson. When I told her that I don't do that she had the nerve to lecture me about professionalism! Other people have just vanished off the face of the earth when on the point of arranging a first class. I have had so many bad experiences with privates and so much of my time has been wasted that I've nearly given up on them. Public school work is usually poorly organised in schools where the Spanish teachers (rightly, because they usually suck at teaching) see you as a threat and therefore treat you with total contempt. And it seems that in Spain health and safety for children was just something that happened to other countries. Of course if there is an accident caused by a school's health and safety violations they will be very quick to blame the TEFL teacher in charge of the class.
Summer work is nice if you can get it but you have get your application in as early as possible to then be told in late June that the summer school has been cancelled because of a lack of students and you are on your own in the worst time of year to get work. Try lining up 3 like I did this year and watch all of them get cancelled or have too many teachers. Try lining one of those up in January and be told in June that it's off. Or perhaps you line up 5 and none of them get cancelled so you have to pull out of four summer schools with four different companies and make enemies of them for life. And then have them share "information" about you with other employers in your city. OR you line up one and it doesn't get cancelled but you get dropped for the last two weeks because your contract never materialised, they have too many teachers and you are not a kiss arse who has bent over for them time and time again.

3. Racist students
Don't come to Spain if you're not white or you are Eastern European. Your students may or may not hate you personally but many do hate people like you. In all seriousness I have been deeply upset by the extraordinarily racist comments from Spanish students who only a few seconds earlier I had really liked and respected. I came very close to just shutting down racist tirades in my classes by saying "I just don't want to hear anymore racism this week".
"I hate black people, I hate Arabs, I hate the Chinese, I hate Latinos, I hate people from Andalucia" it just became upsetting. And that was supposedly educated sober people in the classroom at 10am on a Wednesday imagine what it's like in the streets on a saturday night. Asian countries have a reputation for racism (I know this is rightly deserved because I lived in one) but Spain can give them a real run for their money. Ask any Senegalese, Chinese or Latin American living in Spain. I'm not saying for a second that all or even most Spanish people are openly racist. But a very large number of them are and this I've heard from non-racist Spaniards. Even if you are white do you want to live somewhere where many people think nothing of using the N word to refer to black people? Where people think nothing of stretching their eyes back at Asians ? Where you could be a Chinese or Japanese American and assert clearly that you are American born and raised, to be told "No. You're not American, you're Chinese, look at your eyes".
Don't agree? Type "Spain" and "racism" into any search engine.

I've heard all of these complaints before and some people turn around and say "It's just normal to not be paid for planning, marking or report writing" if you think that then you are part of the problem. I'm sorry! But you are part of the problem! I won't be browbeaten into thinking it's normal or fair when these companies make as much money as they do. How bad do things have to get before you turn on Spain? Is doing 50% of your job for nothing, being so poor you can't even have any kind of life outside working and buying the bare minimum of necessities and having 3 to 5 months of unpaid holidays a year not enough to make you see that you are being exploited? Everyone in ANY job should have the right to make enough money to live on. There are other options, there are better places to go. My advice to you is if you are thinking about coming here make sure you are ready for a really hard time. If you are already here, take a look at your life in this country and have a good think about whether it's time to turn on it, or turn your back on it. Even if you are doing pretty well maybe that could fall through very soon as has happened to other people I know here. And if you can do well here imagine how well you'll do in a better industry.
And we're kidding ourselves if we don't think the Brexit will make things even worse. But that's a separate point.
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Spelunker



Joined: 03 Nov 2013
Posts: 392

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:58 pm    Post subject: re: insightful post... Reply with quote

Thanks for the post and I can see you put a lot of thought into it.

It's made me question getting so stressed at a lack of replies for a job teaching in spain and has now made me think, why bother?! 1,200 euros may seem a lot but in actuality, is it? If I was to earn even half of that in say Vietnam, it would still be like earning three times the same amount due to lower living costs Mad
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Money in Madrid- in-company can be pretty good
Blacklisting- I've never know this to occur as it's the norm to work for more than one business
Private students- can be unreliable which is why most people don't have them (unless it's a private for a company
Racism- Yes,that happens but it's not nearly as bad as you're making out.

To be honest, I think your problems are not with Spain, but with the job.
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Spelunker



Joined: 03 Nov 2013
Posts: 392

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:35 pm    Post subject: re: the job.. Reply with quote

I can agree here also. TEFL can be bad everywhere. In Asia, there is no shortage of deceitful, greedy employers. My former employer in HK simply sent me a whatsapp message reminding me to get myself in work the next day after arriving late in the afternoon after flying from England to Dubai and then to HK.....Jetlag did not seem to be an excuse to him, or a word he pretended not to understand. It can be indentured servitude at times, or at least feel like that:(
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DMcK



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 111
Location: Madrid

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

haha that was a fun read, OP.

I pretty much agree with NickyMcG but I experienced a lot in the OP in my time in Spain. You can make good money but you have to save for the summer, which isn't so good. Summer jobs suck when it means having to move away or rent out your room temporarily or any of that stuff. If you haven't saved well, staying in the city is an option if you can handle breadline living, but at least you can get a slab dirt cheap out of Dia.

I must admit, I wouldn't have been able to survive there if it wasn't for my Spanish flatmate bailing me out for rent as he knew **at some stage** I'd be back in the big time haha. It is tough. One year I restarted after the summer in late October. I sat around waiting for a definitive start date for over a month as it was due to be early September. That kind of thing seems quite frequent.

Spanish companies, in my limited experience, seem to have a tendency to be shy with paying English providers, so one year I think I was being paid a month here and nothing for 2 and stuff like that, again the padrĂ³n in the flat bailing me out.

The racism is pretty rife, at least from how I saw it. I'd never have my ID on me, which is illegal, yet I never got stopped, even though I walked past a popular Policia Nacional 'checkpoint' every day. Yeah, they were always too busy stopping non-whites to bother with my pasty ass.

So, I can definitely see how Spain could lead to tears and anger for anyone trying to make a life there teaching English. It is a pure *beep* at times.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A mate of mine had a problem with late payments though he was working through a school. He just said to his boss that it wasn't his problem if the company wasn't paying on time and he got his money. I can see how it'd be difficult if you were providing the classes directly.

Regarding the police checkpoint, I don't think this is an example of racism rather than profiling. Both terror suspects and illegal immigrants tend to have darker skin (unless it's ETA but I don't think they're so active anymore) so they probably don't want to waste their time stopping you (the irony being of course that there are plenty of North Americans working in Spain illegally). It's unfortunate for them but I don't think we can call it racism.
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DMcK



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 111
Location: Madrid

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah maybe not racism. It's merely discrimination based on the colour of your skin.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not discrimination for the police to ask people (who they suspect of being illegal immigrants or terrorists or whatever) for identification (seeing as it's the law anyway). Imagine you're looking for a cell of Islamic extremists? Statistically, most Muslims in Spain are North African or of North African descent. You can waste your time stopping Northern Europeans or you can focus on anyone who fits the profile. It's the same with illegal immigration. The police probably make the calculation that anyone they stop with a Northern European appearance is in the country legally (as the vast majority are). As long as rights are respected, there is no discrimination. But, maybe we should try your method: ID everyone and waste time.
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DMcK



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 111
Location: Madrid

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't agree with that, really. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the dictionary agrees with you either:

verb (used without object), discriminated, discriminating.
1.
to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality:
The new law discriminates against foreigners. He discriminates in favor of his relatives.
2.
to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately:

And where did I say ID everyone? Straw man much?

You said it yourself in your first reply: "(the irony being of course that there are plenty of North Americans working in Spain illegally)", which although I only have my experience to go by, I would agree with.

Of course you then contradict yourself by saying: "The police probably make the calculation that anyone they stop with a Northern European appearance is in the country legally (as the vast majority are)."

Then there's the point you made about ETA: "unless it's ETA but I don't think they're so active anymore", which may be true, but still you'll find mugshots of a number of wanted individuals at the security checkpoints in the two Spanish ministries I've been in, so probably in all of them. So, they're certainly not a forgotten entity.

I don't think you can seriously defend them on discrimination, but it seems like, for whatever reason, you want to. It happens. It doesn't help anyone that people deny what it is. Whether or not it is justified, or necessary or whatever is a different discussion, but don't deny it's discrimination based on the colour of the skin. It's exactly that.


Actually, just reading your post again, and it strikes me as, to put it mildly, pretty questionable to say:

Nicky_McG wrote:
Both terror suspects and illegal immigrants tend to have darker skin...there are plenty of North Americans working in Spain illegally).
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11391
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not fair or pc or correct, but of course authorities target people who fit the visible profile of potential terrorists. That is most definitely not limited to Spain! It's happening all across Europe and has become quite prevalent in North America as well - just open your eyes in any international airport in the West these days.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It wasn't a strawman. What are you in favour of? Stopping everyone or stopping those you suspect of being illegal immigrants, terrorists criminals etc., stopping everyone (huge waste of time and resources) or stopping a random sample (which will let more people you're trying to catch through)?

And I haven't contradicted myself. Most people of Northern European origin are in Spain legally. It may be the case that there are North Americans working illegally but they're still a tiny fraction. The police, for whatever reason, have decided they're not really looking them. And, most illegal immigrants do have darker skin (or at least look very different to a Northern European). And your dictionary definition of discrimination does nothing to support your argument. All these people have to do is show their ID. If they were being discriminated against in terms of public services provided or being discriminated against in terms of employment, you may have a point.

And people wonder why terrorists are able to slip through the net.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It wasn't a strawman. What are you in favour of? Stopping everyone or stopping those you suspect of being illegal immigrants, terrorists criminals etc., stopping everyone (huge waste of time and resources) or stopping a random sample (which will let more people you're trying to catch through)?

And I haven't contradicted myself. Most people of Northern European origin are in Spain legally. It may be the case that there are North Americans working illegally but they're still a tiny fraction. The police, for whatever reason, have decided they're not really looking them. And, most illegal immigrants do have darker skin (or at least look very different to a Northern European). And your dictionary definition of discrimination does nothing to support your argument. All these people have to do is show their ID. If they were being discriminated against in terms of public services provided or being discriminated against in terms of employment, you may have a point.

And people wonder why terrorists are able to slip through the net.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
It's not fair or pc or correct, but of course authorities target people who fit the visible profile of potential terrorists. That is most definitely not limited to Spain! It's happening all across Europe and has become quite prevalent in North America as well - just open your eyes in any international airport in the West these days.


Why do you think it's not fair? As long as their rights are respected I fail to see the problem. I'd rather have 100 misunderstandings than one successful attack.
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Spelunker



Joined: 03 Nov 2013
Posts: 392

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:23 am    Post subject: re: hmmm Reply with quote

Terrorists could equally be white, like that widow woman in the UK.

I remember with a relative being waved through at one airport entry ramp checkpoint in Spain, but everyone of north african or latino appearance was being stopped and made to open their boot. Makes one wonder?
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:37 am    Post subject: Re: re: hmmm Reply with quote

Spelunker wrote:
Terrorists could equally be white, like that widow woman in the UK.

I remember with a relative being waved through at one airport entry ramp checkpoint in Spain, but everyone of north african or latino appearance was being stopped and made to open their boot. Makes one wonder?


Of course that's true but, statistically, most terrorists (in Europe) tend not to be white (or at least don't tend to look like they're from Europe). Profiling isn't perfect but it's the best way to do things unless someone can think of something better.
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