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Can you get by teaching in Spain on the typical monthly salary?

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭✭ AutumnLady


    I'm looking at teaching in Spain in September. I'm worried though about how hard it may be get by on the typical salary.

    Say on a salary of £1100 a month, can you cover your rent and living expenses in places like Madrid or Valencia for example?

    Is there anyone over there now who could give me a breakdown of their monthly costs?

    Thank you...


Comments



  • Hi Autumn Lady,

    I taught English in Spain between January and July 2012, fairly recently, however I was based in the region of Andalucia, in Huelva, which has a much lower cost of living than the big cities such as Madrid or Valencia.

    For info, my monthly salary for 24 hrs contact time was 1238 per month. I paid 350 euros per month for a large 2 bedroom apartment, and with my utility bills, it worked out at about 400 per month. I was able to go out for a few tapas and several drinks for about ten euros, and if I wanted to push the boat out I would usually not spend any more than 20 to 25 euros. Spain is surprisingly expensive when it comes to things like household items, from the basics such as towels, linen etc, right through to electrical items. Utility bills can also be high, and for a non-Spaniard somewhat confusing. I heard stories about Spanish landlords fleecing tenants, and sadly this was done to me when I got barely any of my deposit back...be careful. In terms of weekly grocery shopping, I found it much cheaper but I am from the UK rather than Ireland. Also, you will find lots of cheap local produce in Spanish markets, great quality at great prices. On the negative side, I found my internet and mobile phone charges to pretty high, but if I'd had someone Spanish to help me shop around I might have fared better.
    I lived alone therefore I bore the brunt of any costs, obviously if you share accommodation you can save a lot more money. From what I have read (wanted to live in Spain for a long time, so always researching it), Madrid isn't that cheap to live in, however hopefully someone on this forum can give more reliable info on that. The other thing to consider is that a lot of Spanish housing is built for warm weather, so you might feel the cold and use a lot more fuel during winter than you'd expect, so bare this in mind. Any other questions you have about living and teaching in Spain, am happy to answer on here or via pm.
    Hope you give it a go, it's a lovely country. Suerte!




  • Hi Autumn Lady,

    I taught English in Spain between January and July 2012, fairly recently, however I was based in the region of Andalucia, in Huelva, which has a much lower cost of living than the big cities such as Madrid or Valencia.

    For info, my monthly salary for 24 hrs contact time was 1238 per month. I paid 350 euros per month for a large 2 bedroom apartment, and with my utility bills, it worked out at about 400 per month. I was able to go out for a few tapas and several drinks for about ten euros, and if I wanted to push the boat out I would usually not spend any more than 20 to 25 euros. Spain is surprisingly expensive when it comes to things like household items, from the basics such as towels, linen etc, right through to electrical items. Utility bills can also be high, and for a non-Spaniard somewhat confusing. I heard stories about Spanish landlords fleecing tenants, and sadly this was done to me when I got barely any of my deposit back...be careful. In terms of weekly grocery shopping, I found it much cheaper but I am from the UK rather than Ireland. Also, you will find lots of cheap local produce in Spanish markets, great quality at great prices. On the negative side, I found my internet and mobile phone charges to pretty high, but if I'd had someone Spanish to help me shop around I might have fared better.
    I lived alone therefore I bore the brunt of any costs, obviously if you share accommodation you can save a lot more money. From what I have read (wanted to live in Spain for a long time, so always researching it), Madrid isn't that cheap to live in, however hopefully someone on this forum can give more reliable info on that. The other thing to consider is that a lot of Spanish housing is built for warm weather, so you might feel the cold and use a lot more fuel during winter than you'd expect, so bare this in mind. Any other questions you have about living and teaching in Spain, am happy to answer on here or via pm.
    Hope you give it a go, it's a lovely country. Suerte!


    Thanks for all that info. It has really helped.

    Yeah, I do have some questions, if that's okay. Thanks again.

    How much set-up money did you need going over there? I'm starting to think of going somewhere other than Madrid or Valencia now, so hopefully that will bring down costs a little.

    Was the salary you mentioned pre or post tax? How much tax do you usually pay over there? And was it possible for you to save even a small amount per month?

    You got your own accommodation for 350 a month. I had resigned myself to sharing, but that sounds like a great deal. Was it easy enough to find decent accommodation for that price?

    Finally, how was the teaching side of things? Is it fair to say that most classes involved teaching kids? It seems that is the trend according to job ads. Also, how was it teaching exam English (FCE/CAE)? I have never taught that before, but it seems that a lot of academies prefer experience in those areas.

    Anyway, thank you. Bet you're sorry you answered now!




  • I could work loads more hours but i just work mornings 10 to 2

    After tax I get 800 into my bank account.

    Rent is 300 in a share, bills included
    Travel pass for all Madrid buses, metro, trains €60
    Phone unlimited calls and some internet is 30 (Is a bit cheaper if you commit to a contract but I prefer not to be able to leave them if I want or have to move on.
    Gym is 45 for full access and anytime.

    Kids classes are hard to avoid if they are not your thing. Downsides are the few moran parents that you always come across. Exam classes are fine. You just have to read up on the exam and the Cambridge website has downloadable handbooks for teachers. These classes will prob mean a good share of written homework to correct.

    Madrid is great. Don't leave costs frighten you to somewhere more in the sticks if you would like a bit of city life. General market rules apply. Bigger population, bigger demand for teachers and therefore more teachers available to work but personally if I lost my job tomorrow I think I could get up and running to some degree within a week or so although I don't want to test this theory just yet.

    One other thing which may influence you is proximity to an international airport. Not that I travel every week but it is nice that I can leave my place and be in the airport and through customs in about 30 min.

    Finishing on Friday at two and getting a flight somewhere for the weekend is pretty nice, whether its home or Paris or Berlin.




  • I could work loads more hours but i just work mornings 10 to 2

    After tax I get 800 into my bank account.

    Rent is 300 in a share, bills included
    Travel pass for all Madrid buses, metro, trains €60
    Phone unlimited calls and some internet is 30 (Is a bit cheaper if you commit to a contract but I prefer not to be able to leave them if I want or have to move on.
    Gym is 45 for full access and anytime.

    Kids classes are hard to avoid if they are not your thing. Downsides are the few moran parents that you always come across. Exam classes are fine. You just have to read up on the exam and the Cambridge website has downloadable handbooks for teachers. These classes will prob mean a good share of written homework to correct.

    Madrid is great. Don't leave costs frighten you to somewhere more in the sticks if you would like a bit of city life. General market rules apply. Bigger population, bigger demand for teachers and therefore more teachers available to work but personally if I lost my job tomorrow I think I could get up and running to some degree within a week or so although I don't want to test this theory just yet.

    One other thing which may influence you is proximity to an international airport. Not that I travel every week but it is nice that I can leave my place and be in the airport and through customs in about 30 min.

    Finishing on Friday at two and getting a flight somewhere for the weekend is pretty nice, whether its home or Paris or Berlin.

    Thanks for your reply. That was very helpful.

    Is it hard to get work between 10-2? I assumed I would have to work until 10ish every night. I would definitely prefer day time hours. Do you know any schools that would offer those kind of hours?

    Cheers




  • AutumnLady wrote: »
    Thanks for your reply. That was very helpful.

    Is it hard to get work between 10-2? I assumed I would have to work until 10ish every night. I would definitely prefer day time hours. Do you know any schools that would offer those kind of hours?

    Cheers

    It breaks down more or less like this...

    Option 1. You become a freelance teacher, go find your own work and then charge the customer (which may be an academy, or the student). You are self-employed and submit your own tax returns etc. I know that in future my boss says she will only hire freelance teachers so that she doesn't have to deal with paying out social security and holidays and all the hassle that comes with direct employees, etc.
    I personally would never go this route in a million years but many people do it.

    Option 2. Find a school looking for teachers and get a job (with a contract). The good side to this is that I have fixed hours (or at least number of hours) and my money goes into my account at the end of the month and I don't have to go calculating taxes or doing anything else. I work, I get paid.


    If you are freelance, well, you have to drum up your own classes, travel to wherever you have to and also deal with people cancelling and having to chase people/academies for your money. Your hours will be whatever you find and can fit in.

    As a paid employee, you ideally want block hours, meaning four or five hours together in a block. I worked for over a year in a place where my total class time was 4 to 5 hours per day but because classes were in different locations and times, I lost my whole day. Imagine, class from 12:30 to 1:30, another from 4:30 to 5:30 and then travel to another location for 7 to 9.
    That's the same four teaching hours I do now from 10 to 2. Same pay (more or less, because diff schools) but my free time is available now where I couldn't do much between classes before.

    Common blocks are morning time, anything from 8 till 2 and evening time, anything from about 5 until 10. There is some demand for lunch time classes but much less.
    These sandwich hours have a downside if, for example, like some of my workmates, you work 10 to 2 then 5 to 10. Because there isn't a whole lot you can do in the three hours you are off for lunch (relatively speaking) you are essentially working 10 to 10.

    I have had to cover for colleagues at times and for me, it is very grim having to "go back in."

    Schools that offer block hours make it known as it is desirable. Whether the place is willing to let people choose mornings or evenings is another issue.

    Depending on your entrepreneurial skills, you might find morning work in an academy and then hustle up lots of private classes yourself to give yourself a cash boost. A friend of mine does a lot of private classes and earns another 500 per month from this.
    If you find reliable students with money, great. Many students will try it for a while, cancel the odd time leaving you down money and then something will come up for them and they can't afford to keep up the classes.

    Other poor sods work with agencies and get sent all around the place to business classes or other general English classes. These are mostly the poor sods I see on the metro with a sandwich in one hand and a book in the other, planning between classes as they rush from one place to another. Hey, sometimes you have to do what you have to do, but I would avoid that kind of work like the plague.

    Last thing is a bit more about getting paid. The two places I have worked for have been reputable and keep their accounts right. From anecdotal evidence lots of people get paid at least partly in cash "under the table."
    Many people don't mind but you are going to care less if you are just coming here for a year or after uni or something. As you get a bit more sensible, you want to know that your social security is paid so you can go to the doctor and that will will get paid holidays, etc.

    I hope someone else weighs in here to fill in any holes or to balance out some of the info.

    To get some sort of taste of jobs offers you could go to lingobongo.com
    Go to Madrid or BCN and you can have a look a typical job offers, teachers offering private classes and people who just want to meet to practise their speaking.

    There are other sites if you do some googling.


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  • P.S. Right now in Madrid it is HOOOOTTTTT. About 34 today and supposed to climb to 37-38 tomorrow. August will be murder. At times like this (and equally when it raining) it is better to be in an air-conditioned classroom for your block than standing on the metro or bus and generally sweating your life and soul away rushing around outside between classes.




  • Thanks a lot for taking the trouble to reply. It's appreciated!

    Yeah, I think trying to get block hours at an academy is the way to go....and then maybe some privates too if needed.

    Hope you are holding out in the heat there.

    Thanks again!




  • Update!

    So, I've decided to bite the bullet and bought a ticket for Madrid for the first week of September.

    I was tempted to go somewhere more rural for the cheaper cost of living and the fact that it is easier to get hired from overseas for these locations. But, tbh I know I'd be miserable in a small town in the long run. I'm definitely a big city person and I absolutely LOVED Madrid when I visited there in the past.

    So now I need to start thinking about some practicalities.

    I only have about 3000 Euro as set-up costs (and a credit card as a short-term back-up). Is that enough? Or will I have to try and get some more money from elsewhere?

    I don't have any contacts in Madrid and am clueless about short-term accommodation options for when I am trying to get set-up. Does anyone know of a hostel that has more of a 'quiet' vibe as opposed to a party place? Or does anyone have any other ideas about where else I could look for short-term accommodation?

    Any tips for finding jobs on the ground while over there?

    Ta!




  • How has this gone for you, AutumnLady?




  • Sorry to bring up an old thread. I'm reading this in awe. The information from the posters is excellent.

    I have a query if anyone can help.

    I'm looking at changing career. Basically, I had a physical job, due to an accident I had, I can no longer do the job. One thing I ALWAYS wanted to do was teach English in Spain. However, I have one problem.

    I never went to college. I did a great leaving cert but went working for the family business straight after. Now, that I can no longer do that work, I regret never going to college. I have got a diploma in human resources but its from Dublin Business School as apposed to a university.

    My question is, do I need to have a degree to teach like the roles ye have mentioned or would I be OK by just doing CELTA?

    I'm sorry for jumping in on this old thread but the posters all seem very knowledgeable. Thanks in advance if anyone replies.


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  • Hi Dave.
    Although many academies prefer it if you have a Degree, the thing about EFL teaching is that you know your stuff, you are approachable, friendly and enthusiastic, and you have CELTA. When I did my CELTA I had already gone through initial teacher training and had taught in adult colleges for a year. You would think that would be an advantage but it wasn't. There were people doing CELTA who had no prior teaching experience, some without degrees, and they did better than me. If you can get some teaching experience, perhaps voluntary, in Ireland before you go to Spain, and after doing your CELTA, that would be an advantage. I taught in Spain in 2012, happy to share my experiences with you if you need me to.




  • Hi clandestine72. Wow, thanks so much for that reply. Really appreciate it. I'm glad that people got on well even if they didn't have a degree. Thats what I was most nervous about. I am looking at doing the CELTA in January. I already spoke to someone about volunteering with Spanish students next summer in a college in Ireland and they were very interested.
    I would love to hear your experiences if you don't mind. Also, can I ask what was your level of Spanish when you first moved over?
    Thanks again!




  • Hi Dave. Happy to share. There is a preference for a degree, on paper, but if you show that them that you have done some voluntary teaching post-CELTA, that will work in your favour And once you convince someone to give you a job, the proof is in how effective you are in the classroom.

    I had never studied Spanish before moving to Spain, and in some ways that was a disadvantage. Often you will be told that it's better if you only use the 'target language', i.e. English, in the classroom, so students are forced to use it. But realistically, when you are given a class of 5 year olds, as I was, it really does help to have some Spanish. If I were you I would start learning some now. Once you have the basics, it is a very easy language to learn when you are living in the country, and among the Spanish. It is a fantastic country, I was only there for 6 months, but you can make a modest life there. Do your research, decide if you want to live in a city or a small town, what kinds of amenities you are looking for. I loved in a small town, very Spanish, but there were a good few ex-pats so I wasn't completely isolated. Happy to answer any more of your questions.




  • Thanks again for the info. I am looking at doing a Spanish course here already, I totally understand that you would be at an advantage to at least have the basics. I don't want to annoy you with questions but is it possible to save much over? Realistically, I would be hoping to do it for a few years at least. I am prepared to struggle a bit in the first year (20-25 hour contracts etc) but is it easy to do a few grinds as well on the side? I was in Spain recently and in a few of the supermarkets I saw British/Irish expats advertising grinds on noticeboards etc. Thanks again.




  • Hello. I have recently finished the CELTA course in Galway. Think it takes 8 weeks to hear back. Planning on moving to Madrid in January. I know it's city life I am after. I have a few questions if anyone could answer.

    Medical expenses
    I have inhalers for my lungs. Does anyone know if I'm entitled to public hospitals if in an emergency and do I pay big bucks? And are prescriptions discounted? I know when I go on holidays to Spain I get them cheap but maybe that's because I'm a tourist?

    Employment process
    What is the process setting up with revenue? Spanish PPS number etc. And is it hard to get it, do I need a permanent address etc

    Cv format
    Is the cv format the same as it is here? And do they include photos? I know some countries have a different format.

    If anyone could provide info I'd be greatly appreciated. Great information on this wee thread.


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