Congratulations! Now, you are a new English teacher in Granada
Ok then, that wasn’t so bad in the end, was it? Now you’re an expert. Sure, there was a time when you thought you wouldn’t get past that tough third week of training but you did it, you survived, and now you’re a full-on TEFL teacher. Granada, if not perhaps the world, is your oyster.
So, what next?
Well let’s back up a little. In the euphoria of attaining that certificate it’s easy to forget that at this stage ‘expert’ is over-egging the pudding somewhat. Like passing your driving test, you’ve merely demonstrated that you’re now ready to be let loose, unsupervised on the general public. It’s a pretty good idea to hold that thought over the coming weeks and months.
But if you’re lacking experience at this point, that’s easily rectified. You have the foundation, you have the tools, and you have opportunities aplenty in a city like Granada to make your way as an English teacher.
Finding work in an academy
For many teachers, and particularly new starters, establishing yourself at an academy is a great way to earn your stripes. A good academy will be supportive of you and will be stacked full of teaching resources. You will be rubbing soldiers with colleagues who can impart valuable snippets of advice (sometimes you have ask, but who doesn’t like being asked for advice?). Take advantage and pick the brains of those who’ve been around for a while.
As far as choosing the right academy, well again, the trick is to ask those who know. Ask the teachers who work there. Of course, personal requirements will differ from teacher to teacher in terms of pay, location and workload. We’re not necessarily all looking for the same things, but do pay attention to any stories you hear of staff bullying, non-payment, and poor facilities.
Another avenue to consider going down is private teaching. Not all students are comfortable in classroom environments and there are countless opportunities to teach individuals, or perhaps couples, in their own homes.
However, building up a solid and reliable client base can be laborious and may take you many months. In addition, there are frustrations here that you may not experience in academy work such as late cancellations, having to traipse across the city to weird locations, and inconsistent hours.
You can alleviate some of this by drawing up terms of agreement between you and your clients and insisting on up-front payments each month. Your professionalism will eventually be rewarded by word-of-mouth recommendations and the rewards will come through if you are resolute. Aside from the much needed exercise the running about will give you, it’s also a terrific way to get to grips with the layout of the city.
Combining academy work and private teaching
Many teachers elect to go for a combination of formal contracted academy work and private teaching. Remember though, it is your duty to comply with the law regarding tax and the declaration of your earnings. If focusing solely on private work you will need to consider the implications of turning ‘autonomo’.
Get on the bus
And though you may be domiciled in Granada city there is nothing to stop you reaching out to the wider world. There is plenty of work available in the pueblos (towns), a mere bus ride or two away in many cases. The pueblos often struggle with teacher shortages and rates can be a little higher than in the city.
And of course, looking further afield, if you have a decent Internet connection you also have the option of giving Skype classes, at hours that suit you, to students from all corners of the world.
You’ll be throwing away the ‘L’ plates in no time.
The writer of this article is a teacher, writer and painter who took a TEFL course in Granada in 2009. After the course, he spent several years working in academies and giving private classes in and around the city.
His book ‘The Cats of River Darro’ tells the tale of one such man’s adventures in the beautiful Spanish city of Granada. After hastily training to be an English teacher Liverpudlian Derek Dohren has nothing to lose except his dignity as he plunges head first from one classroom mishap to the next.
Click here for more info.