Opportunities for teaching English in Spain are varied and widespread, with potential job options available in almost every small, medium and large city in the country. However, deciding which one of these is the right choice for you can be difficult without actually visiting the country first. If you have the time and funds it can be a great idea to head to Spain and then decide on a location once you are on the ground, but for most teachers this is not a realistic option. Instead, have a read through the following list to see if anywhere of these popular spots fits the bill.
The Spanish capital is home to over 3 million people and there are enough of them learning English right now to ensure that ESL teaching jobs are not hard to find. Public schools and private language centers are always on the hunt for new teachers, while private tutoring young learners outside of school hours is also a potentially lucrative option. The average salary for TESOL qualified teachers is higher in Madrid than anywhere else in the country, although the relatively high cost of living can temper this advantage slightly. Many people who are looking to combine English teaching in Spain with their own goal of learning Spanish choose the capital as most of its residents speak the purest form of Spanish that is the easiest to understand. However, if learning the language is not high on your priority list, no worries, as it is relatively easy to get by with just English in this tourist town with a high number of English speakers.
Although Madrid is not as flashy as some other European capitals, it is a great place to live and work on a daily basis. Public transport is affordable and efficient which makes traveling for work or pleasure very straightforward. The entertainment scene is varied and exciting, with something to appeal to most tastes. No two nights out will ever be the same as the number of bars, restaurants, cafes, and clubs is hard to count. Sports fans will love the top-quality football on offer at the two big teams; Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. And food lovers will also be spoiled for choice as the national obsession with tapas is alive and well in the Spanish capital. As Madrid is conveniently situated right in the heart of the country, visiting other parts of Spain during your time off is certainly an option.
As with almost everything else in Spain, the biggest rival of Madrid in terms of ESL jobs is Barcelona, the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia. This impressive city is the most popular destination for foreign visitors in the country, with year-round warm weather, an amazing food scene, and some truly impressive architecture such as Gaudi's Sagrada Família. By day you can explore the winding streets, hang out in the many parks and gardens, spend a day at the beach, or even head into the nearby mountains. By night the city really comes alive with an eclectic mix of entertainment and it's all easily reached via an efficient metro system. Just remember that the locals in Barcelona mostly prefer to speak Catalán, although everyone still speaks Spanish just as well.
As Barcelona is known as a truly international city there are always plenty of options when looking for ESL teaching jobs. As well as the usual schools and language centers, summer camps are a popular option for many teachers as they offer short-term contracts and a good rate of pay. As the cost of living is relatively high, many teachers choose to reduce their outgoings by house sharing with other teachers or by living in a homestay arrangement with a local family. One thing to remember about Barcelona is that it can become very crowded with tourists during the summer months, so this could be a good time to explore farther afield. Excellent transport links can get you to most other parts of the country in plenty of time to enjoy a well earned weekend break away from the classroom.
Seville, the capital of the southern province of Andalusia, is another great destination for teaching English as it is quite possibly the most Spanish of all Spanish cities. During the summer months the city is gripped by searingly hot temperatures, there are more flamenco dancers than you will see anywhere else on Earth, and the tapas scene is so big it is a part of everyday life. Another advantage of Seville is the cost of living, which is noticeably less than the two big cities mentioned above. The number of jobs is also considerably less than the big two, but there are still plenty of opportunities for anyone who is keen to make Seville their home.
If you find yourself in Seville around Easter time you are in for a treat as the city hosts the country’s most famous Semana Santa celebrations. The celebrations incorporate a wide range of activities, but the Feria de Seville is something truly special as it brings the whole city to life in a blaze of color, with parades, dancing, music, food and drink, and tens of thousands of locals dressed up in traditional clothing. Impressive Moorish architecture is another site that is synonymous with Seville, and there are many fabulous examples to explore, including La Giralda and the Real Alcazar. Unlike Madrid, the Spanish spoken in Seville has a strong accent that can make it more difficult for beginners when learning the language. However, thanks to the friendly nature of the local people, you should still have an amazing time learning Spanish and teaching English in Seville.
Situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is a relatively small city that is famous for its fascinating history and its natural vistas. The magnificent Alhambra palace, a 14th century Moorish fortress, overlooks the city and demands multiple visits to fully appreciate its grandeur. Elsewhere across the city there are dozens of other historic buildings, monuments, serene gardens, and peaceful parks that make exploring Granada a real joy for the senses. The city’s large and prestigious university brings plenty of youthful energy to Granada’s fabulous nightlife that includes an eclectic mix of live music, bars to suit every taste, and countless restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors. Of course, no night out in Spain would be complete without sampling some delicious local tapas, much of which is free, unlike most other parts of the country.
Another attraction that is popular with visitors to Granada is the area’s natural beauty, with the nearby mountains being a favorite spot for hiking and skiing. In fact, Granada is one of only a small number of places worldwide where you can be skiing in the mountains in the morning and sunbathing on the beach in the afternoon! With so much to see and do it can be easy to forget that you actually need to teach some of the time. Jobs can be found in a variety of schools and language centers, and private tutoring is also a popular option as it is in most parts of Spain.
Palma de Mallorca
If you are looking for somewhere a little different or you have often dreamed of living on a sunny, paradise island, look no further than Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Spanish Balearic Islands. The island of Mallorca is famed for its year-round warm weather and stunning beaches that have helped it become one of the premier tourist hotspots in Europe. With so many tourist related businesses across the island it is no surprise that the demand for TESOL certified teachers is very high, with a large number of schools and language centers that regularly hire at any time of the year. The island also has a sizable expat community that can be a real help when settling into your new surroundings.
Despite being one of Europe’s best known tourist destinations, Mallorca is big enough to enjoy your life outside of the classroom without being swamped by crowds of sun lounging tourists. There is well over 500 km of coastline to enjoy, with a seemingly endless number of coves and small beaches to explore and hangout on. Of course, there is much more to Mallorca than sun and sand. Hiking in the mountains is a popular weekend getaway option and with over 2,000 restaurants to choose from you will never get tired of sampling the local cuisine. For most people living and working on a paradise island is just a pipe dream, but for ESL teachers it can be a reality!