How to become an english teacher in Spain and in Madrid city
Former students tell you about their own experience as a teacher
Amy Novikoff – Cleveland, Ohio USA
Hello Prospective TEFL Teachers, It is my pleasure to tell you briefly about my experience teaching English in Madrid to help you consider your plans for the near future. The fact you are a proficient (and probably native) English speaker is an extremely valuable asset—especially if you learn how to use it to your advantage.
One way to make the most of your knowledge of English is to learn to teach people in other countries to communicate in English. I participated in the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Course at Canterbury in June. This course included 20 hours of instruction of how to teach children, 20 hours of instruction in teaching adult business students, 40 hours of instruction relating to English grammar and teaching methodology, and feedback regarding the first 100 hours of teaching. The TEFL instruction took place during one month, while the first 100 hours of teaching (for me) extended another 3 months. After completing the course, I received a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).
Though there are many places in Madrid (and in the world) to earn a TEFL certificate, I highly recommend considering attending the course at Canterbury. The instructors were knowledgeable of methodology, experienced and creative in their teaching, passionate about their jobs, and curious about Spanish culture. They worked well with the Canterbury teachers (primarily TEFL course alumni), and their supervisors to transition students from the TEFL course to the English classroom. Canterbury staff offered teaching support, organized social and cultural experiences, lent technological and teaching materials, and established a welcoming atmosphere amidst a large, busy city. Perhaps even more impressive, Canterbury followed through on their commitment to provide all course alumni with employment during and upon course completion, for the length of the participant’s choosing.
Life, for me, as a teacher in Madrid had its pros and cons. The biggest pros of teaching in Madrid were that I was able to pay my rent and count on having work. I only had to work minimal hours each week, as 20 classroom hours is considered full time for TEFL teachers. This left time each week for planning lessons, traveling between classes, sightseeing and doing whatever else I wanted. I also had some flexibility to travel on long weekends and during vacations.
There are many people in Madrid who want to learn English: Parents who want to supplement what their children learn in school with private classes; adults who want to improve their abilities to speak English for fun, travel purposes, or work opportunities; or businesses that want their employees to learn relevant English communication. I enjoyed teaching a variety of types of classes and students. In general, I found the students to be highly motivated, interested, friendly and fun.
The cons of teaching English in Madrid minimized over the six months I spent in Madrid. At first I was extremely busy taking the TEFL class, teaching a few hours a week, and trying to get acclimated to a new city and culture. I also did not have experience or confidence in my ability to teach English, even though I spoke it natively. Although my actual working hours were few, my days were often filled with traveling to teach (up to 45 minutes to get to different parts of the city) and breaks of 1-4 hours between classes. The schedule and back-and-forth of commuting made maximizing the efficiency of those breaks and travel times difficult.
The biggest challenge for me was realizing that as I worked as teacher on a daily basis, my time to improve my Spanish was limited. If learning or improving your ability to use a second language is important to you as you travel, you should consider that your time spent teaching English will take away from your time available to study, read or speak with others in the foreign language.
Overall, the six months I spent in Madrid were extremely worthwhile and rewarding for me. As you think about your future plans teaching English and/or traveling, please feel free to contact me if I can be of any help.
Good luck to you!
Amy Novikoff – TEFL Class of June.
Joseph Brady – Dublin, Ireland
Dear TEFL Students: I completed my TEFL course in June of last year after completing my degree in the University College of Dublin. I immediately began the TEFL and remember being pleasantly surprised at the relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the class. The class and teachers gelled instantly thus making the five hours a day intensive classes feel more like a forum than a typical class about pedagogical theories and linguistics. I came to Madrid with the intention of teaching English, however having had no prior teaching experience I was a little apprehensive as to how the best way would be to go about conducting a successful English class. The teachers at Canterbury really helped to alleviate many of the anxieties I had about confronting a large group of adults, some of whom were twice my age.
I would like to thank the coordinator of the program for opening up the doors to the world of English grammar and helping to demystify all the linguistic terms I had long forgotten. The course was split into three different segments, which covered all the conceivable angles necessary to give proper classes. The three teachers touched on a broad range of topics, everything from, early child psychology, language acquisition, socio-linguistics, business English, and general English. We were provided with an in depth study of the key grammatical points which are absolutely fundamental for teachers to be familiar with if they seriously want to become successful English teachers. The majority of Spanish people have been studying English all their lives so don’t be surprised to discover that many may have a better knowledge of the rules of your own language than you do!
For this reason, I would strongly recommend anyone who is considering teaching English as a foreign language to do a TEFL course. The people at Canterbury have a very well respected image in Madrid, therefore they have a broad circle of clients from across the spectrum of the Spanish society. They provided everyone on the course with classes immediately and pay specific attention to try and tailor the classes to your own personal requirements. The staff take a very personal and familiar approach to training their teachers and I was really made to feel at home there. The first job I obtained in Madrid was because of my having done the TEFL with Canterbury, the woman who gave me the job was fully aware of the caliber of the Canterbury TEFL course and hired me thereof.
Joseph Brady – TEFL Class of June.
Stefanie Lange – Grossrohrsclorf, Germany
Dear TEFL Students, When I started the Canterbury TEFL course about one year ago, I didn’t have any teaching experience apart from a few basic Spanish classes for tourists on holidays. While working as an entertainer in hotels on the Canary Islands I had found out that I enjoyed organising kids’ and adults’ activities more than pure office work. I had always been interested in language and culture and being a German native I had studied the English language quite well. I also realised that there were many teaching opportunities in English Academies in Spain, so why not study and teach English?
For me, Canterbury had the best TEFL course to offer on the Internet. Paying a part of the course by actually being paid for the practice classes which are part of the course was a great advantage and also encouraging for me.
The possibility of specialising in children’s and business classes seemed promising and has actually turned out to be very useful for any of the teaching jobs I have had since. From my experience, the demand for children’s and teenager classes is quite high and companies are important clients for language academies in Spain.
Doing the course just before the summer holidays, I took advantage of the possibility to gain more experience teaching in a summercamp offered by Canterbury in cooperation with a tour operator. This was a good follow-up of the practice classes I had done and allowed me to get more accustomed to the Spanish mentality.
Regarding the content, the course offers an ideal combination of theory and practice, providing the future teacher with the essential methodologies, planning lessons and ways of teaching first, and preparing for the next step – the classroom. It is intensive, clearly structured, with interesting classes that always refer to real-life teaching.
Not to forget the welcoming and friendly atmosphere at the office and at different Canterbury Club excursions with teachers and TEFL students.
Sometimes I am still amazed not only about how much I learned in a relatively short period of time (I started in May and finished in August), but also how rewarding and enjoyable it was. I did not think that I would now be earning my living by teaching in both a private primary school and a language academy. Personally, it is the most safisfying job I have had.
And so I hope it will be for you!
Stefanie Lange – TEFL Class of May.
Claire Barham – London, England
Hello Everyone, I am 23 years old and I live in London. I recently spent four months living in Madrid and working with the Canterbury Academy. I had a great time, and so much of that is thanks to Canterbury.
When I first arrived in Madrid I felt a bit lost as I did not know anybody, but that soon changed when I started my TEFL course. I immediately made many friends, people that I am still in touch with now. I took the TEFL course first, which I found to be incredibly useful and also very enjoyable. The course is very hands-on, it is designed so that there was maximum student-teacher interaction, and the teachers go out of their way to provide you with excellent theoretical and practical knowledge.
I was able to put this knowledge to use quite quickly, and started teaching in my third week of the course. After everything that we covered, I felt very comfortable going into teaching. And I didn’t have to go far to get classes, I had about 10 students a week and it was all arranged by the fantastic administrative team at the academy.
In addition, I profited a great deal from what Canterbury had to offer by getting discount Spanish lessons with the Garcia Lorca Language Academy. I did not speak any Spanish when I arrived in Spain, so I started with the beginner’s course. By the time I left I had also completed, and passed the intermediate course, so leaving Spain with an intermediate level was a great achievement for me.
Canterbury also offers organised nights in Madrid and trips outside of the city. Amongst others, I went to a grape harvest and to a tomato-throwing festival called La Tomatina. These were two of the most enjoyable days of my whole time in Spain, and they were things I might never have done had I not joined the academy.
All in all, Canterbury is a great package; not only do they offer a TEFL course with paid work at the end, but they also provide you with the chance to do new things and meet new people, all whilst living in an exciting European capital city. It is the chance of a lifetime to do something great!
Claire Barham – Class of September.
Michele Tinsley – Arcadia, Florida
Dear TEFL Students: I am a 24 year old American who completed the Canterbury International TEFL Certificate Course in October and I immediately had work teaching English classes with Canterbury and other English Academies. It was a good, fast, intensive preparatory course to teach English as a foreign language. The staff and directors are very warm and friendly and there is a real down-to-earth, hospitable environment at Canterbury.
Canterbury also offers the option of adventuring out of Madrid with the Canterbury Club excursions. These trips are a great opportunity to see some of the hidden gems of Spain. I have gone to some amazing places with Canterbury that I probably would not have even known about.
Coming to Spain alone without an idea of where I was going to work or how I was going to find work as a teacher was very intimidating, but when I found the Canterbury program, I knew I would not be using my return flight home. They are a very personal English school with a very large clientele base.
Teaching English has been a wonderful experience. Because of the demand of English in a quickly progressing country, there is a wide variety of classes available. I enjoy the flexible schedule and the different classes. The reciprocity of the job is what I enjoy the most. Everyday I learn something new about Spain and Spanish culture from my students.
Next year, I will be staying in Spain for another year to teach English and to continue learning Spanish. If you are interested in moving to Spain to teach English, there is plenty of work with Canterbury as well as in one or more of the over one hundred language schools in Madrid.
Michele Tinsley – Class of November.