Let me preference this by saying there will be some comparisons to teaching in South Korea. OK…actually a lot!
After all that is where I was teaching last year (2011- 2012). And comparing my experiences working in both countries may ultimately help those who starting out in the ESL field and choosing the location for their first experience.
….You might need a cafe con leche…this post is very long 🙂
—> Guest English teacher, language assistant, auxiliary.
However the name is written in your contract, you are the native speaker appointed to your school for English conversation practice.
If you are a licensed teacher and have worked in other countries with International schools…this is not the program for you.
CIEP (France) you are solely there to offer conversation assistance and activities as the “resident” native speaker.
*Look these programs up guys! They are linked for a reason!…so many options out there!
Some schools take this idea and run with it (and I mean RUN!) And then you find yourself teaching more classes than specified in your contract, lesson planning and teaching by yourself without the guidance of a curriculum.
*I must point out that teaching by yourself both in Spain and South Korea are Illegal as a conversation assistant.
But at the end of the day your responsibilities are minimal in comparison to a “regular” full-time teacher. There is no expectation of grading papers, having conferences with parents or administering exams.
Last week I met with my coordinator to discuss changes to my schedule. Actually I started teaching September 18th and my schedule has changed every week since then. Maybe even twice during the week :-/
I teach the maximum amount of hours with in the BEDA program (24) which allows for 2 of those hours to be used for classroom planning and meeting with the teachers. The coordinator claimed he had no idea about this in the contract. For those 2 hours my schedule reflected classes to teach the primary and secondary teachers.
None of the previous language assistants needed to teach teachers…(RUNNING) but I’ve been repeatedly told that my English accent is “very clear”. So maybe this is the reason (*shrugs).
When I taught in South Korea my contract stated a requirement of 22 hours. I taught 26 classroom hours though because of 4 additional after school hours, which garnered extra payment at the end of the semester. Around 1 million won ($1000).
***I should also note that in Korea and now in Spain both schools use a specific text book with each grade. So at least I have something to build from when planning my “listening and speaking” lessons.
As a first year teacher in the BEDA Program, I had no choice in my placement. None!
I received my acceptance letter and my placement at the same time…and that was it!
Dear TAMARA ……
CONGRATULATIONS on being selected into the BEDA program for the 2013/2014 school year.
The school you have been assigned is:
AMOR DE DIOS
Street name here, zip code here, -city/town/village here (Province here)
I didn’t ask during the interview for a specific place, but I am sure you can if you want. Doesn’t necessarily mean they will listen:)
For working in Korea I worked with FootPrints Recruiting Agency and knew from the start I would be placed in Ulsan. The school information (AREA/level of students) I found out once I arrived to orientation. Ulsan was a great city and I was really happy with my placement. My students were crazy but overall it was a good working environment.
My placement in Viet Nam was with Language Link in Hanoi. Initially I set out for jobs in Ho Chi Minh City but received an offer in Hanoi the same day I went to all my interviews. It was really good so I pursued it. Here is some information on the school if you are interested.
Don’t expect to be “ballin” with these language assistant programs. BEDA does pay about 300-400 Euros more than the Ministry program. But only when you consider their teachers placed outside Madrid. I believe the pay is 800 Euros ($1,094).
The Ministry teachers that are placed in Madrid make 1000 Euros.
(As of today 1000 Euros = -/+1367.77 via XE.com).
For 24 hours (maximum) BEDA pays 1200 Euros (-/+ $1641) per month. However this year they have started collecting social security and taxes from the “grant” and the actual net pay is 1165 Euros.
The stuff they don’t mention until you arrive! (RUNNING!)
Apparently the money will be “refunded” once we leave Spain.
This is similar to the National pension system in South Korea. If I remember correctly about 100,000 won was deducted from my pay every month. And yes it was refunded at the end of my contract.
Yup…the payment is not a ton but if you budget correctly it is definitely enough to live on while you are in Spain.
In South Korea the starting pay was around $1900-2000 and it goes up depending on your experience and education. Yup more money…more problems!
It’s really overwhelming the amount of people that have requested private classes in my little village! In South Korea it’s illegal to give private lessons especially if you’re on an EPIK contract! But people do it anyway.
Here in Spain you can do as many as you want. If I play my cards right I will make enough extra Euros to cover my rent and groceries every month (Village life).
Honestly if you are one of those people who think you can’t travel because you have student loans and the pay won’t be sufficient…get over it!
I have a master’s degree that I will be paying off for the next couple years (unless I will the lottery) but it doesn’t stop me from exploring the world.!
My life in my little village is really inexpensive. I am so amazed at how affordable fruits and produce are here!
20-30 Euros every week to week and half is all I need for groceries.
Rent varies from place to place. In my little village in Castilla La Mancha I pay 250 euros but maybe I could have found a cheaper place. I don’t know. A teacher at my school owns a flat so I rent from her 🙂
In Korea the housing was provided by the school. I loved my tiny studio apartment! I decorated it entirely with items bought from the Daiso store (Japanese dollar store).
The contracts in Korea usually give you 400,000 won to use for rent if you decided to find your own apartment.
BUT you will also have to pay the key money (security deposit) yourself, that can be a couple thousand dollars.
The majority of the teachers I’ve met in Madrid have 2-3 roommates or are working as an Au Pair. The key thing to remember is that you have options!
In Viet Nam you have to find your own housing or rent with roommates. The apartments I found at were between $300-500 in Hanoi.
NIE and Visa
BEDA does a wonderful job helping us apply for our NIE. The NIE/TIE are the number and card that expats need when living in Spain.
In South Korea you need your ARC (Alien Registration Card) and in American we say “green card” or “alien card”. It basically replaces the visa once you arrive. The application process for this requires a separate blog…sorry guys!
When I went to get my visa in NYC I met a girl who applied to teach in Spain via the CIEE program. She basically explained that they hold your hand every step of the way.
That’s great if you need that kind of help but it also comes with a very significant price tag! Something you won’t find with the Ministry program and BEDA. Or applying to teach in South Korea….or Viet Nam😉
*I actually applied to the JET programme too for the 2013-2014 school year :-/
OH WAIT! BEDA does charge 175 Euros to secure your position once you are accepted. They say it goes towards the Comillas University fee. BUUTTT I am not even taking classes there since I have the online University of Cambridge classes, so I feel like they stole my money!
Teaching as an American
Working as an ESL teacher in Spain is possible because of programs from BEDA and the Ministry of Education. There are some headaches but opportunity and experience of living in Europe overrules any set backs.
BEDA to my knowledge doesn’t have a time limit for how long you can stay with the program, nor is there an age limit.
If you are currently debating where to start your ESL career I will offer you this last bit of advice,
“ Once you choose the country, apply to every program you can! Don’t choose only one program and put all your trust in a hope and a prayer. Apply early and broadly!”
I can’t tell you that one country is better than the other, I can only offer information based off my experiences. But I am thankful that I have been able to have work in South Korea and now Spain.
I’ve traveled to 24 countries so far and the world is such a beautiful place.
Go big and travel far!
*Still have questions? Please feel free to leave it in the comments 🙂