Teach English in Spain: My Experience and Some Quick Tips

I was sent a request to talk about my time teaching English in Spain.

And as I was feeling in a good mood this morning, I came straight the office and recorded the following.

I talk about why I moved to Spain, how I managed to get a job straight away, how I got private lessons, what I liked, what I didn’t, and some advice if you’re considering moving to Spain or abroad to teach.

Here it is:

We had a blast in Spain. It was perfect for that time of my life. I had no responsibilities and we really enjoyed ourselves.

I taught for a couple of language schools. Firstly, I gave business English lessons in shipyards in Bilbao. Then, I taught in a language school in Valencia. I also gave private lessons in both cities during this time. Here is a post I wrote on that.

We loved the Spanish culture and made a lot of good friends. I had a lot of time during the day to do whatever I wanted to do. We went out on day trips and did a lot of exploring.

If you’re thinking about moving to Spain to teach English, here are some quick tips:

  • Get a teaching certificate (language schools want to see this)
  • Call around early to try and land a job (or interview) before going
  • Know that you’re not going to earn that much
  • Check out this program  if you’re from America
  • teach private lessons to earn more money
  • embed yourself as much as possible
  • choose a city that suits you

If you have any questions about teaching in Spain, leave them below. Also, please share your experiences too.


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  • Marcus James

    Hearing you talk about emersing yourself in the culture, but failing to learn the language strikes a chord with me as I am into my third year in Tarragona, Catalonia with an embarrasing level of Spanish and Catalan. That’s something I need to work on as I plan on staying here a while.

    What you said about building a student base is spot on. It really doesn’t take long, as word of mouth referals have now filled my timetable (and I’ve even had to turn some away). If anyone want to find prvate students in Spanish towns, the best places to post ads would be ‘tus clases particulares’ and ‘mil anuncios’.

    And one last thing. Yes, a lot of people teach ‘black market’ and it’s kind of accepted, even by students. However, if you want to stay and need access to healthcare, it’s worth paying the flat rate social security and setting aside approximately 21% of your income for tax. Registering for these two things takes about 15 minutes each one. But at least then, you can promote yourself without fear of getting caught and even be able to work at higher rates for companies as a freelancer too.

    • Mike C. Wilde

      I’m moving to Barcelona in September to teach! I’m from the U.S, I speak Spanish fluently, and I’d love to learn more about how you’re making it happen man!

      Also, I’ve checked out idealista.com for accommodation, and prices are great for a room, but how did you go about the paperwork to rent a room out? Is proof of residency required?

      Cheers Marcus

      • Marcus James

        Hi there. I only just saw your message. There does’t seem to be any notifications set up, or I may have just missed it.
        Anyway, moving and settling is not that easy. But it is doable. To rent a room usually requires at least proof of income. But having said that, it’s not set in stone. And you can explain your situation to an agent, or better, a private landlord who may be more flexible.
        The paperwork for everything can be frustrating because you usually need to do things in a certain order as most processes rely on previously obtained paperwork. Here’s the order that I did things in:
        1. Register with Foreigners Dept of Police
        2. Get social security number from Social Security office
        3. Find place to live and work
        4. Open bank account
        5. Register your address with city government
        6. Register with health centre
        I was in a slightly better postion being a European citizen.
        Hope your transition is smooth 🙂

  • Nice tips for one who need to teach English in Spain.