Active Language

5 reasons why now is the perfect time to train to be a teacher of English if you live in Spain

2021 is shaping up to be another crazy year…for those of us from the UK living in Spain, the terrible twins of COVID and Brexit have combined to create a climate of uncertainty. So why are we saying that this is the perfect time to train to be a teacher of English in Spain? It’s all about supply and demand; there will be a high demand for qualified teachers of English and a much lower supply than normal, here’s five reasons why.

First let’s look at why demand is high here in Spain and all over the world.

COVID and the impact on demand right now


While some language schools have closed and some teachers remained furloughed in Spain (through the ERTE scheme), many language schools (academias de inglés) are still operating despite the challenges. The profession has responded incredibly well to adjust to the situation. Students are being taught 100% online, in socially-distanced classrooms or hybrid classes combining online with face-to-face instruction. For the many language schools offering classroom-based or hybrid courses, there is an acute need for trained cover teachers.


There is also a real demand for qualified teachers online, meaning you can work with students anywhere in the world. There are a variety of ways you can work online: the most common are through online schools, which employ teachers by the hour, or through educational platforms, where teachers can advertise their services. They seem to be multiplying by the day and there are pros and cons. Pay and conditions vary wildly and competition can be tough. But for those who are properly qualified and guided through the process, you will find work.

Teaching English is a growth profession both nationally and internationally


The Spanish experience through the corona-crisis thus far shows that the appetite for learning English and gaining qualifications is largely undiminished. Yes, numbers are down in language schools throughout the country, but there is very strong anecdotal evidence people intend to return to class as soon as possible. The importance of the sector in Spain is illustrated by regional governments, for example the Junta de Andalucia (the Andalusian regional government), designating language schools as essential services, leaving the sector largely free of many restrictions.. 


Internationally, English language teaching is big business. Demand continues to rise year on year and shows no sign of slowing, in fact with a possible global recession on the horizon, demand is likely to go up more still. During recessions people often invest in training and here in Spain and around the world, that often means learning languages.

Supply gives us two more angles to consider. We predict there will be a shortage of qualified teachers of English in Spain, so if you’re already here and looking for ways to earn a living, training to teach could be the perfect option for you. But why will there be less teachers coming from abroad?

COVID and less international travel


We predict that over the next 12 months fewer people will be travelling internationally or choosing to start a new life abroad than they were pre-pandemic. This means that there will be fewer teachers competing for the same jobs in Spain for the next academic year in September. If you’re here and properly qualified, you will find work.

Brexit and far fewer new teachers coming from the UK to Spain


As we know, Britain has left the EU and with that, there are issues around working here legally. There is still no bi-lateral agreement between Spain and the UK in terms of working visas, nor is one expected anytime soon. This means that work and student visas will only be provided from the country of origin, like for all non-EU citizens. This is a lengthy and often difficult process. This will mean there will be far fewer teachers coming to Spain from the UK to fill September vacancies in language schools.

That’s great. So, why should I train to teach right now?

It’s all about timing 


If you get qualified to teach English in February, March or April, then begin to build up some experience (whether through some cover classes in language schools, one-to-one classes, online work, etc.), you’ll get a feel for the type of work you want to do. You’ll be ideally placed to apply for full- or part-time teaching positions in language schools for the beginning of the next academic year in mid-September.

What do language schools in Spain look for in their teachers?

Language schools need people who are living in Spain on a legal basis. If you’ve got your residencia (the green paper, either the A4 or card-sized version) or the new TIE, you’re ready to go.

A teaching qualification is a must. Good language schools –  which pay better, look after teachers and students more and are more professional – require the Trinity CertTESOL qualification or equivalent, containing assessed teaching practice with real students as well as a rigorous and full background of teaching skills and grammatical knowledge.

Teachers with passion and dedication are preferred, of course, and teachers who are ready and willing to teach online or in classrooms with all ages and levels are also in high demand.

What course should I do?

You’re making an investment in your career, make a professional choice. Be wary of cheaper courses; you nearly always get what you pay for and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Choose a course that leads to a properly accredited and internationally recognised qualification containing at least 6 hours of assessed and guided teaching practice.

Choose a centre where you will get knowledgeable, professional support and careers guidance, not just during the course but afterwards too. Choose a centre with a track record and where you feel confident that you will be well looked after.

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