How to Get English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Jobs in Madrid

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In today's globalized world, English language skills are more important than ever. Spain—and especially metropolitan areas like Madrid—is no different.

There are two main ways of getting a job as an English language teacher in Madrid: working for a language school or teaching privately. No matter which route you decide to take, here are some pointers for getting a job teaching English in Madrid.

Teaching English at a Language School in Madrid

In Madrid, you'll often come across specialized language academies. These schools focus exclusively on highly demanded languages, such as English, French, and German. If you're a native speaker, they'll likely take a special interest in hiring you.

By far the most common types of classes available at language schools are kids' classes and business classes. A willingness to teach children is a great way to get your foot in the door at a school. Once you're in, you might even find you're being offered too many classes!

Payment & work permission

Pay varies greatly, from about €9 to €25 per hour, depending on your experience and the type of classes on offer. One of the advantages of working for a language school is that you will pay tax, which means free healthcare (as long as you are from the European Union or have a work visa).

Be wary of schools that insist on paying you '"under the table." If you don't have work permission in Spain, you don't have a choice. If caught, the penalty will likely fall on the school rather than on you. However, your rights are extremely limited in these situations, since you may not be able to sign a contract.

Even if you do have Spanish work permission and are able to sign a contract, it is rare to be offered a full-time contract with one company. Schools have lessons starting throughout the year and prefer to have a bank of teachers each teaching six to nine hours a week. Be prepared to work for several related schools.

Teaching schedules

Teachers are in the highest demand in late September and early October, when most classes begin. January is also a good time to start your job hunt. Note that classes peter out in June and there is virtually no work available in July, August and early September. Many teachers leave Madrid to go work in summer camps during these months, and with many students either at camp or on vacation, most academies close up shop for the summer.

Most classes run twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays or on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturday morning is also a common time for lessons. New teachers often need to take some weekend classes to help get established, but you can generally expect to have Friday afternoons off.

Be prepared to have to teach early morning, lunchtime and evening classes with big gaps in between, particularly in your first year.

Where to find work

The biggest EFL job site in the world is TEFL.com. It is possible to get work from here before you've even arrived in Spain, though most schools prefer you to already be in the country. Paginas Amarillas is the Spanish version of the yellow pages, and it lets you customize a search for ​language schools in Madrid. Email your CV or visit in person. The same Google search is another good place to start. Many schools are run by native English speakers, so there should be no language barrier.

Teacher giving a lesson to students in a classroom
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Teaching EFL Privately in Madrid

There are advantages and disadvantages to private lessons.

One perk: as there is no academy involved, you can normally charge more per hour. The normal hourly rate in Madrid is €15 to €25. In general, teachers charge less for minimal-prep classes, such as conversation and playtime, and more for classes that require more intense preparation, such as exam prep.

On the other hand, a canceled lesson means no money, so it is a less reliable source of income than working for a language school.

Madrid has a free English-language newspaper with a classifieds section. Lots of Spanish people pick up the paper to improve their English, but you're likely to find 20 to 30 similar ads ub each issue. Segunda Mano (literally, "second hand") is a classifieds paper that also has a popular website.

When leaving ads, it makes sense to find someone who can write the advertisement in Spanish. Parents who want their children to do well at school, but who don't speak English themselves, won't be able to read your ad unless it is in Spanish. Of course, this poses the problem of understanding when they come to call you!

There are often notice boards in Irish pubs, English language bookshops, locutorios (discount call centers) and supermarkets where you can advertise your services. Many language teachers say that ads in supermarkets get the largest number of replies. There is less competition on these boards and a potential student might feel you are more "local" than those advertising in central Madrid Irish pubs and bookshops, which tend to be frequented by native English speakers moreso than by Spaniards.

Another way to find potential students is simply through word of mouth. Once you have one potential interested client, it's very likely that they'll let all of their closest friends and relatives know that you're offering classes, and these people may then approach you as well.

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