Today was my last day on the job as an English teacher at an amazing language school. My boss and coworkers invited me to a nice beachside lunch, and my teenage students clapped for what seemed like an eternity at the end of our last class together. It all took me by surprise. I get choked up thinking about it, especially with the little ones who were really sad when I announced to them that it was our last day together. They came up to me and without hesitation hugged me tight.
I mentioned once that in one way or another the people you meet, interact with, and get to know become your new family away from home, no matter how short that experience. Well, these students were without a doubt a family to me and a pleasure to teach and learn from. Here are some of the drawings they made on their last day. The theme was Halloween.
One of my students gave me this drawing that says “For Arnold, the best English teacher,” in Spanish. Naturally I asked him to write it in English on the other side.
This was written on the board. You can see some of my students’ reflections on the whiteboard. (I took the pic. with my laptop’s camera because I accidentally flushed my digital camera down the toilet while filming one night) By the way, I share this not to show off how much I’ll be missed in Spain, but rather to share a beautiful experience.
As sad as it is to say goodbye to a great place with great people, I will soon be seeing familiar faces & I can’t effing wait! I’m dying inside! aaahhhh! I’m gonna eat up the U.S. from sea to shining sea.
IF YOU RUN INTO THIS BLOG AND YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TEACHING ENGLISH IN SPAIN, READ BELOW.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO FIND WORK IN SPAIN?
I found my job by googling language schools and sending my CV to about six of them. One called me back and interviewed me. That is where I got my job. So to answer the question, no. Like any other job, it helps if you have experience, have a good CV, and interview well.
HOW DO YOU GET A WORK PERMIT?
This is tricky. You can’t get a job withouth a working permit, but many schools won’t hire you if you don’t already have your permit. When I was notified by the owner of the language school that she wanted me to work for her, she gave me instructions to follow so that I could get my NIE #, which is what you need to be eligible to work. It’s like a social security number in the U.S. I went to the Police Station and told them I had been hired and needed to apply for a NIE #. I filled out the paper work and payed around 9 Euro for processing. One week later I had my NIE # and was teaching my first class. Basically, get a NIE. I didn’t present a job contract when I applied for the NIE and had no problem, but another American I know had trouble getting his because he didn’t have a job contract to present. Maybe it helped that I speak Spanish? I say this because the lady who processed my paperwork was complaining about “giris” or foreigners who go to Spain and don’t speak Spanish. She complimented me on my Spanish even though it’s my first language. (The whole “speak _____ in this country” rings a bell)
DO THEY PAY WELL?
Some schools pay more than others. I was lucky enough to work with a non-commercial/chain school in the nicer part of town. I was making just below the national average of Spanish wage on part-time (25 hours). You can look that up if you want to know what that average is. Chains will pay you less and work you more, just so you know.
IS IT HARD TO FIND AN APARTMENT?
No. It helps if you speak Spanish because everyone will post stuff on Spanish websites, but you can find cool shared apartments for about 200 Euro in the city center. What’s hard, is finding a good roommate.
IS SPAIN A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE?
Absolutely. The food is fantastic. The geography is amazing. The people are probably the most attractive people I’ve ever seen, as a whole. At least in southern Spain they are. Their attitude in the south is so chill & fun. Spanish people love to eat and so do I, so we get along just fine.
The only reason I’m leaving is because I miss my friends and family, and with the holidays coming up, I want to be with them. I’ll be back !