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6. Teaching in Spain

This unit covers some of the reasons for teaching in Spain, as well as common mistakes you are likely to encounter in the classroom.

Teaching in Spain

Why Spain?

The climate, coastline, and/or rich cultural history make Spain a popular choice for teachers looking for a TEFL job abroad.

The good news is that there is an abundance of job opportunities throughout Spain, and though you are unlikely to earn as much as a teacher in South Korea for example, the low cost of living means that you can easily earn enough to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle whilst you are there.

Your teaching experience in Spain will open your eyes to some of the challenges, as well as what type of future you can expect as an EFL teacher in Spain.

The difference between “make” and “do” (hacer in Spanish)

One of the biggest challenges one can encounter early on is explaining certain subtleties. For instance the difference between two words in English, where in Spanish there is only one. An example of this are the verbs ‘to make’ and ‘to do’, which have just one Spanish equivalent: ‘hacer’.

Explaining the difference is complex, time consuming, and in some cases requires several lessons on the subject, revisiting the topic regularly as the student’s level improves.

You will hear mistakes such as: “I am making my homework”, or “I did a mistake”. Here is a video explaining the main differences between Make and Do Expressions:

Now you can check if you are able to explain the difference between ‘make’ and ‘do’: 

A6 Quiz 1

In order to explain to learners of English the differences in use between“make” and “do” collocations, we use clusters. Match the following explanations with the correct verb. Only one answer is correct.

The difference between “to” and “for” (para in Spanish)

A similar challenge appears when attempting to explain the difference between ‘to’ and ‘for’, which in Spanish have just one equivalent: ‘para’. When asked this question by an A1-A2 student one might struggle to answer him/her straight away because as a native speaker it is something one might never have questioned.

It is important to do some research and formulate a list of rules and situations as to when to use each, and explain these to the student using examples, and exercises.

It will take time for your students to understand the differences, hence the importance of encouraging them to further practise online and outside the classroom.

You will hear mistakes such as: “I am here for to learn English”, or “I am here for take the class”.

Other common mistakes

This is just a small selection of some of the challenges you might come across while teaching in Spain. Alongside these, there are many pronunciation errors that are common to Spanish speakers, differences with prepositions, not to mention the endless difficulties with phrasal verbs. On first impression these challenges may make teaching in Spain seem difficult, however with experience they can be overcome, thus making the job all the more satisfying.

Furthermore, once teaching strategies to overcome these problems have been developed, this experience, combined with a sufficient understanding of Spanish, could be transferred to teaching in other Spanish speaking countries, in South America for example, or even Portuguese speaking countries, as the challenges are similar.

Now you check if you are able to identify the different error types: 

A6 Quiz 2

A future in teaching Exams such as the FCE

One of the main reasons for the abundance of TEFL jobs in Spain is that particular professions look for a certain level of English when recruiting. This, combined with Spain’s recent economic crisis, means that it is now practically essential to have at least First Certificate English on your resume.

Research shows that 40% of job offers in the Marketing, Communication, Engineering, Legal, Business Administration, and Technology (IT included) sectors are demanding a good level of English while 20% of all other jobs demand English.

On top of this, English is now an obligatory core subject at University, so the demand for English teachers in Spain is high and will continue to be so in the future. The type of teaching varies drastically, from one-to-one lessons, group classes, children’s extra-curricular classes, to English summer camps: the list goes on. This is good news for anyone hoping to have a future teaching in Spain, as it is unlikely that there will be a lack of job opportunities and the wide variety of lesson types will hold interest for years to come.

Lesson Topics

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