If you want to teach English in Spain, and you are a native speaker of the English language, your overall experience in this great country will depend a lot on where you come from. The Spanish are famed for not being able to speak foreign languages well, but there are plenty of students in the country trying to change that. There are tons of language schools spread out all over the country. Native speaking English teachers are sought after, but there is a catch… Most schools really only want to hire people from EU countries, meaning that they want you to already be legal to work in Spain. So, if you come from the UK, and you have some basic teaching credentials like a TESL, ESL or CELTA certificate, you’re all set. Finding a job should be pretty easy.
Problems arise for teachers from non-EU countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA), due to the fact that getting a working visa for Spain can be pretty tough. While the demand is there, the bureaucracy in place often proves to be a huge headache for teachers who come from outside of Europe.
But don’t lose hope. Americans and Australians can find work in Spain. It will simply be a lot more difficult. Getting a school to sponsor you, when the school can just hire someone from England or Ireland (who doesn’t need sponsorship) can be tricky at times. If you have an ‘in’ at some teaching institution, don’t be shy about using it. It is possible to work without papers, or ‘under the table,’ but that experience can be hit and miss. While you won’t be paying taxes, you won’t get any benefits (social security) or have any legal rights, should an employer withhold pay or cheat you in any way.
Some language schools prefer American English, so if you want to work legally in Spain, you need to develop some kind of relationship with those schools, and hopefully they will sponsor your working papers.
There are a lot of pros and cons to the teaching English in Spain, which vary, depending on where you come from, and how long you plan to stay. Once you overcome the potential hurdles in your way, it can also be a very rewarding profession, and a great way to make a living (although a modest one) in Spain.