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Old 21st April 2009, 07:14 AM   #61
Beckett
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Hello All -

I wanted to visit Barcelona for just a few weeks (about 12), so under the legal limit for time I can spend there. While I am there though, I would like to teach either English, or more specifically GMAT if possible (I have a very high score, and will be attending a top school in 2010). Would it be possible for me to find that sort of work either through an academy or privately?

If I want to try to secure students before I arrive, what online resource would one recommend I use?
Also, while I am an American citizen, I am also of Indian decent ... would that have any bearing on people being less willing to hire me? I don't know whether there are any preconceptions folks would have about my English teaching capabilities?

Any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks everyone!
Welcome to the forum.

I'll get right to the point. Your ethnicity is the least of your concerns. As long as you are a native English speaker who sounds like a native speaker, you'll be fine, if you wish to teach English. No problem.

The real problem you've got is your U.S. nationality without a work permit status. Language academies are reluctant to take on U.S. citizens without work permits or student visas. Sure, you can find some but the pay is lousy and the exploitation is high. Also, there are plenty of European Union citizens who speak English fluently who are vying for the same jobs and they don't have the extra baggage of the immigration paperwork.

The current unemployment rate in Spain is almost 16% and rising. The recession means companies are cutting back on English classes and students who are willing to pay for private lessons out of their own pocket are looking to pay less. Keep in mind that people who sign up for private English classes are notoriously fickle, unreliable and prone to canceling classes at the last minute, so you can't count on getting paid for those hours. Also, you'll be competing against more established English teachers already living in Barcelona.

Offering yourself up as a GMAT instructor might be a viable alternative but you're going to have to market yourself like crazy to get some traction and you will have to offer your prospective clients something structured and worthwhile. Having a high GMAT score is great. It shows you know how to take the test. But does that mean you can adequately coach people on how to take it, particularly people whose first language is not English? A student may meet with you once or twice but then bail if what you're offering is light on actual test-taking content and heavy on "Well, when I took the test..." chit chat. Sorry if this sounds harsh but let's be honest... how much real value can you offer prospective students studying for the GMAT if you only plan to be around for 90 days? More important, exactly how hard are you willing to work during those 90 days in order to offer your students real value?

If you need to work in order to cover your travel expenses while in Spain, my advice would be to stay home and increase your savings until you have enough money so that you can comfortably cover your expenses and be able to fully enjoy your three months in Spain. Why give yourself a headache running from place to place, trying to round up clients, coordinating schedules, spending your time developing lesson plans and then hounding those clients or academies to pay you? It will really be more trouble than it's worth.

If you want to work in order to have contact with Spaniards, you're better off doing an intercambio (conversation exchange) or doing volunteer work with a non-profit or charity in Barcelona.

If, after all this, you still want to try your luck at teaching English for 90 days in Spain, you can post an ad at Loquo.com, which is the Craigslist of Spain. You'll probably need to post your ad daily or every two days in order to keep it visible on the first page of listings.

Suerte y ¡que te vaya bien!
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Old 21st April 2009, 10:58 AM   #62
richardksa
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Just introducing a little debate into this question of classroom assistants: A friend of mine, a Spanish schoolteacher who teaches in English has an American classroom assistant. The problem is she cannot understand his very strong regional accent. When she speaks English it is very "British" English, (which probably stems from (far) too long association with me!), and so the children are, she says, a little confused over the "correct" pronunciation.
Instances she give are his pronunciation of "Hat" as "Het", "Stand" as "Sternd" and "Madrid" as "MERdrid".
Now I know that English is pronounced many ways and that to be competant ALL accents should be understood. (Although even I, as a native Brit, have problems with southern US and New Zealand vowel sounds.) But when there is such a marked difference as seems to be between my friend and her assistant, is it in the best interests of the children?
I haven't made up my mind on this yet and would be interested in the views of others.

Last edited by richardksa; 21st April 2009 at 10:59 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 21st April 2009, 11:10 AM   #63
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If the assistant is clearly not making the effort to enunciate clearly, he should be told. We aren't talking about being nit-picky here, after all he's supposed to account for the barriers of communication in the course of his work.

Sidebar: Richard, was I difficult to understand to your ear?
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Old 21st April 2009, 03:50 PM   #64
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Sidebar: Richard, was I difficult to understand to your ear?
José, not at all.
Your points about making the effort are good ones. I have had a couple of US volunteers with the English Speaking Group and I have been forced to take them aside to tell them they need to enunciate more clearly and slow down the pace at which they talk. There is also a tendancy for some Americans to think that all the world understands your culture. i.e. Your school system, (I didn't know what a grade point average or a "major" was until someone explained,) your sports, (Hockey is played on GRASS and baseball is a girl's game in the UK called "Rounders" where I come from!) your food (what the heck is "Crackerjack"??). This is NOT a criticism of the US, but that some of your citizens need to be more aware of cultural differences when they come to Europe. I might also add, so do some British when they come to Spain!
That said, I do think that exposure to all the accents in which English is spoken is good for any learner. I would be useless here if I only understood Madrid Spanish.

Last edited by richardksa; 21st April 2009 at 03:53 PM. Reason: another typo
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Old 21st April 2009, 07:50 PM   #65
Acosta
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José, not at all.
(what the heck is "Crackerjack"??).
Crackerjack is a popcorn kids treat, made out of popcorn, nuts and sugar caramel covering.



Course the brit "Horlicks" well is a bit of an unusual name for a yank like me


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Old 22nd April 2009, 04:13 PM   #66
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Acosta; you forgot to mention the most important thing about CrackerJack...the toy surprise in every box!
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Old 22nd April 2009, 06:08 PM   #67
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Acosta; you forgot to mention the most important thing about CrackerJack...the toy surprise in every box!
quite true
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Old 23rd April 2009, 12:33 AM   #68
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Yankee Intervention: We gotta get Richard to the US, to a baseball game and to a box of CrackerJacks!
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Old 23rd April 2009, 01:14 AM   #69
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Yankee Intervention: We gotta get Richard to the US, to a baseball game and to a box of CrackerJacks!

Dodger-dogs
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Old 23rd April 2009, 09:24 AM   #70
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Yankee Intervention: We gotta get Richard to the US, to a baseball game and to a box of CrackerJacks!
Just send the tickets!
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Old 28th May 2009, 09:12 AM   #71
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Teaching English in Spain is my DREAM! However, I have been very discouraged by the research I've done so far on the internet, especially regarding Americans. I read that a minimum of $5,000 is needed to start up, which is a lot of money no matter what, but a hell of a lot if I end up never finding a job! I also read that jobs can be extremely tough to find and that EU passport holders (i.e., the Brits) are preferred over Americans. From what I've read on the forum it sounds like work visas aren't a big issue since working illegally is apparently very common, so I guess that worry will move to the bottom of my list. Mostly I'm concerned about the money I have to put out up front and the possibility of a long and fruitless job hunt, especially with the way the economy is these days and the value of the dollar compared to the euro.

Does anyone have any advice, or know what the odds are of finding a job that will earn me enough money to survive in Spain? I am a recent college grad and would plan on taking a TEFL/TESOL course, but I have no teaching experience thus far, and am not fluent in Spanish (but I know enough to get by). I would be incredibly appreciative of any info anyone could give me!

I really want to do this but I'm afraid of making a huge mistake! I don't want to give up what I have in the States (apartment, job) just to end up crawling back broke and defeated! Thank you so much if you can help!
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Old 30th May 2009, 08:48 PM   #72
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I have no teaching experience thus far, and am not fluent in Spanish (but I know enough to get by).

I really want to do this but I'm afraid of making a huge mistake! I don't want to give up what I have in the States (apartment, job) just to end up crawling back broke and defeated! Thank you so much if you can help!
Hi there tigerlily,

I can only speak as somebody that used to attend English lessons with teachers from several parts of the world, all native English speakers. For what my Spanish friends with kids say, it´s quite the same now, as they do end up deciding on the teachers for their kids.

You should be able to at least communicate in Spanish, but depending on the type of teaching, not being bilingual might even work in your favour. I remember that getting to a class with a teacher with very poor Spanish actually was more expensive than to the class of another teacher with good Spanish. Reason behind it, true or false, was that if they could not speak Spanish the students would be forced to find they own ways in order to communicate in English. Well, it worked out for me, I had to go through quite a lot of pain to get that guy to understand what I was saying! It really helped me and now I recommend this approach.

Accent is VERY important, I am sorry to say this, but it is true. Many people do not like American accent, and would not be happy to pay if they don´t like the teacher´s accent. If you accent is very thick you will definitely have to work on it before you go to Spain. In 2 occasions I changed classes because of this. Sure, the guys were very nice, but I felt I was wasting my money, and I decided to go for British teachers. But that is me, not every student is that picky; even with British accents, I wouldn´t go for people from some regions!

On the other hand, business guys dealing with the USA would surely prefer this accent, so you only need to make sure that you know your strenghts.

At the end of the day, you have to study the market you are selling yourself to, and the agency is not the only one to decide as they know that the students have the last word. Some will prefer British accent, some will want American.

But always remember that even if it doesn´t work out, at least you will have tried.
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Old 30th May 2009, 10:21 PM   #73
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Many people do not like (an) American accent...
I've found this to be generational. Younger Spaniards tend to gravitate toward a North American accent over a British accent because they find it easier to understand since they've been exposed to it from TV shows, movies, if they are into watching it in versión original. Middle-aged and older Spaniards might prefer a British accent because of the posh factor and a (misguided) belief that British English is "better" than American English, as though they were totally different languages.
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Old 31st May 2009, 12:11 AM   #74
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I've found this to be generational. Younger Spaniards tend to gravitate toward a North American accent over a British accent because they find it easier to understand since they've been exposed to it from TV shows, movies, if they are into watching it in versión original. Middle-aged and older Spaniards might prefer a British accent because of the posh factor and a (misguided) belief that British English is "better" than American English, as though they were totally different languages.
I've met a lot of young (18-25) students from all over Europe and they prefer American English. The older Spaniards I know prefer Northern English or Scottish accents! I couldn't believe it - being a born-and-bread southerner (thus have an aversion to all northern accents.) Their reasoning was that they were easier to understand Even I have trouble with a mancurian/liverpuddlian/scottish accent sometimes. Each to their own I guess!
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Old 1st June 2009, 08:44 PM   #75
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Hi,
i think there is no any reason but if they didn,t mentioned,, maybe they don,t want to do that kind of jobs are they have missed to mentioned it bye chance...etc...
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Old 1st June 2009, 10:21 PM   #76
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Don’t turn up with travelers cheques, they are a pain to convert into cash. Just your regular cashpoint card is fine.
This is what we do - look for the "Telebanco" signs - beware the banks will offer to charge you in your own currency at their "discount' rate with 'no commission', my advice would be to take the money in Euros and let your own bank give you the rate - you will pay an overseas useage charge for both types of transaction - about a couple of £ if youre from the UK. You pay about £4 less for €200 at current rate if you take the money in Euros - usually the "NO" option on screen. Below are the actual numbers, same machine same bank same amount as the transactions appeared on my statement - the only way to find out was to do it.....

Their rate charged in £ to my account
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
MADRID, URB. 12
CD 1855 26MAY09 183.92
CASH CHARGE
CD 1855 26MAY09 2.75

Taken as Euros and my bank did the conversion
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
MADRID, URB. 12
EUROS 200.00
XR 1.11377
CD 1855 27MAY09 179.57
CASH CHARGE
CD 1855 27MAY09 2.69

Last edited by gary; 1st June 2009 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 04:43 AM   #77
tigerlily
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Thanks, Evamar! I am able to communicate in Spanish, more or less, and I'm sure I would pick it up very quickly once in Spain. Your comments about the British vs. American accent are very interesting. I think Beckett and switch007 may be correct about the generational differences...I remember when I visited Spain, the young people I met also preferred the American accent, but I don't know how widespread that is. Fortunately I don't have a regional accent, so one less thing to worry about. Thanks for your response!

I am still wondering though what the general job market is like. Are jobs very sparse right now? Competitive? How long of a job search should one plan on - weeks, months? Is there anyone in Spain now (or was recently) who might know??
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Old 22nd June 2009, 02:39 PM   #78
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Hello Everyone,

I have been in Spain for about 2.5 years on a student visa. At the same I am working. I teach for a company here, but they pay the company I work for in the states. Still, the money comes to a bank account in Spain. Is this a problem? I work 24 hours every month more or less, and it does not interfere with my studies whatsoever.

Thanks

p.s. it has been great reading through this thread...very sound statements!
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Old 25th June 2009, 02:17 PM   #79
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I basically just read through this entire thread and I have to say how impressed I am with the wealth of knowledge you guys have all been sharing. Thanks for all the helpful information!
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Old 21st July 2009, 08:23 PM   #80
SharonGist
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Question Posting or Finding Jobs in Spain?

Hi--

I saw a link in here the other day that I'm no longer finding that is like the U.S. Craig'sList in Spain. Could you tell me what that site is? Thanks, Sharon
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