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Pros & Cons of Teaching English in Madrid, Spain
Written by: Lynda Galea
Last Updated: July 7, 2020
Let me preface this post by stating the obvious and expressing that everyone’s teaching experience varies depending on who you teach (kids, teenagers, adults), where you teach (language academy, in-company, school, cafe, etc.) and the type of class you teach (large group, small groups, private classes). I’ve always taught at a language academy teaching business adults in company, but I know many other teachers who currently teach in the Auxiliar, BEDA, or other government sponsored school programs for teaching English in Spain.
Here are my personal pros and cons list of teaching in Madrid, take it as you will. Let’s start off with the cons and then finish off on a good note.
Income: You will typically make anywhere from as low as €10 to €20 ($11.50-$23 USD) an hour depending on your experience and where you teach. This may seem like enough since cost of living is low in Spain, but to be honest it’s just enough to get by. Spain is a breakeven country, so if you want to make more you’ll have to work more than the average 20hrs per week, which compared to the 40+hr work week back in the US isn’t that bad.
Commute: Your commute could be anywhere from 15 mins to an hour and a half outside the city center depending on where you’re teaching. In addition, you might have to commute to many different locations. For example, my first year teaching I taught at 3 different companies so I spent a good portion of my day in the metro commuting to my next class. Now I have the luxury of only teaching at one company and the commute is only 15 minutes via metro from my place. So again, it all depends on your setup. Read more from Christina about Tips & Hacks for Getting Around Madrid.
Random Hours: You could potentially have random work hours throughout the week. For example, you’ll have one class that goes from 8-10am then another from 1-2pm then you might not have one again until 6pm. So in return this could create much longer days than the 9-5pm you may be used to because you have to factor in commute time and your schedule might be sporadic.
Holidays: Spain has many holidays, over 22 to be exact. I’m currently writing this post while taking advantage of one of their holidays. What’s great for you is you can use this time to travel. What might not be so great is that you don’t get paid for it, but I like to see holidays more as an opportunity to explore though. Glass half full! 😉
Location: Teaching in Madrid means you are centrally located in Spain, this makes traveling within the country and even to other countries super easy and affordable.
Spanish: Madrid is one of the best cities to learn Spanish because unlike some of its neighboring regions, only Spanish is predominantly spoken here. So no need to worry about understanding Catalan or Basque, for example like you do in Barcelona, for example.
Networking: I’m a huge advocate for getting to know your students and asking them for suggestions or recommendations. A lot of my students have become like friends and family to me. This definitely makes living in a foreign country a lot easier. Plus you never know what opportunities they could bring you in the future.
Well there you have it, my pros and cons of teaching in Madrid. It’s not an extensive list and by no means is this list the same for everyone but I’d like to think most teachers teaching in Madrid can relate. Overall I’d have to say I’m really loving my time teaching in Madrid! Clearly why I decided to stick around for another year and hey, who know’s when I’ll be returning.
Just a small town girl living in a lonely world, Christina Bates decided to leave that small town of Las Vegas, NV in search of a city boy born and raised in South Detroit. She hasn't found him yet, but she's found fun and fulfillment in her job as a TEFL teacher in Madrid. Christina is one of ITA's awesome Alumni Ambassadors and this is her first time living abroad!
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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