Posted on March 14, 2019 | By Alexa Randell
All Things TEFL
10th Jan 2019
Even though lots of TEFL blogs would have you believe otherwise, teaching English abroad isn’t just about travel and adventure. Believe it or not, you actually have to do some work too! (Of course, some of you will know this all too well already.) In an effort to give you a realistic impression of the TEFL teaching lifestyle in Spain, we’ve shared a day in the life of a TEFL teacher at a private language academy in Spain.
09:00am – 10:00am Rise and shine!
You slowly open your eyes at around 10am. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it – being able to stay in bed every morning until 10! This is something that a normal working life in most countries doesn’t bring you. (In fact, as a TEFL teacher working in an academy in Spain you could stay in bed to 2pm if you really wanted to… Though, we wouldn’t recommend it with so many nice places to see and things to do.)
10:00am – 1:30pm Your time
If you’re an English teacher at a private language academy, you’ll usually work in the evenings, from around 4pm to 10pm. That means you’ll generally have your mornings free to do whatever you like! Use the time to pop to the gym, brush up on your Spanish or relax at a café – it’s up to you. And of course, use some of your time to prepare for your lessons too!
1:30pm – 3:30pm Tapas time
One of the things you have to get used to when you live and work in Spain is when to eat – and it can often take a while to adapt. Don’t go out at midday expecting to be able to buy lunch – cafés and restaurants won’t normally serve lunch until around 1:30pm. Fortunately, if you work at a language academy, this works nicely because it allows you to eat lunch just before you go to work.
Top tip: Even if you’re eating at home, try to wait until at least 2pm before having lunch so that you’ll be full right until 10pm.
3:30pm – 4pm Travelling to work
After lunch, you’ll need to get ready for work and start your commute. Most TEFL teachers in Spain are fortunate enough to be able to travel to and from work easily, be it on foot, by bike or on public transport. Academies would often like teachers to arrive at least half an hour before their classes start, to prepare or set up the class. However, this isn’t always essential, it’s just seen as good practice.
4pm – 10pm Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Unsurprisingly, a TEFL teacher’s day in Spain does consist of teaching some English – who would have thought it, eh? Despite what Instagram may make things look like, TEFL teachers do lots of work!
A typical TEFL teacher in Spain teaches between the hours of 4pm and 10pm with a break in-between. A lot of academies finish earlier on Fridays at around 8pm, and some don’t have classes at all – so, you can expect a shorter working day on Fridays.
10pm – Freedom!
At 10pm on a school night in your home country, you may be climbing into your pyjamas – but that’s unlikely to be the case in Spain! You’ll be tired from just finishing work, but you’ll also need to wind down and have something to eat. The good news is that typically Spaniards will have their evening meals at around 8pm and most restaurants will serve food until midnight.
You can guarantee that if you work for a company that has a large team of teachers, there will always be someone willing to head out for something to eat. So, if you consider yourself a night owl, 10pm can be a time to go out and enjoy the rest of your free time socialising. Or, you can just as easily go home and go to bed, ready for a fresh start the next day – it’s up to you!
If you’re a TEFL teacher in Spain or elsewhere, we’d love to hear what your daily routine involves! You can also get some ideas to keep yourself motivated in the TEFL world here.