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What to train in to teach overseas

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by siananderson1, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. siananderson1

    siananderson1 New commenter

    I'm currently looking to train as a teacher in the UK with a view to looking for work abroad (most likely Spain or elsewhere in Western Europe) when I'm qualified. I'm a Hispanic Studies graduate so am probably looking to train as a secondary MFL teacher, although I am also interested in primary teaching. My only concern with MFL is how transferrable it would be to schools in Spain, or elsewhere in Europe, and wondered if anyone had any advice or experience of this? I realise that being a Spanish teacher will be of little use in schools in Spain, however could being a qualified language teacher potentially allow me to teach English (as a foreign language) in a Spanish school? Would primary be a better option for teaching overseas? Thank you.
  2. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Yes, if you want to move to Spain, then being a non-native Spanish teacher is a complete non starter. You have chosen one of the worst paid, most competitive regions to work in, and your subject area is one that will also make you very uncompetitive. Combine the two, and you're making a real rod for your back.

    Yes, primary would be a better option, and you could specialise in primary ESL. As a fully qualified primary class teacher with an ESL specialisation, you might be more competitive.
  3. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Yes primary would be a better option. If you want to teach English, then train to be an English teacher. As a Head of English, I can't imagine chosing to employ an MFL teacher over an English teacher.
  4. Rchimpson

    Rchimpson New commenter

    I think that she's talking about EAL, not English. Wouldn't she need some kind of EAL qualification for that?
    yasf likes this.
  5. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    In a word, no. Most (if not all) English PGCE course will cover strategies for teaching EAL students. But also, I can't imagine a school emplying somebody just to do EAL - they'd want them to be able to teach English GCSE and A level too. Besides, there are loads of teachers out there with both an English PGCE and a TEFL qualification - my entire department has both - so if the school did just want an EAL specialist, they'd probably just employ somebody like that.
  6. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    i have worked in 3 schools on 3 continents and they have dedicated EAL departments, and thats all they teach. and these arent small departments either. so yes, they are out there.
    lardprao and yasf like this.
  7. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    The OP wants to work in Spain, and my comments pertained to that.
  8. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    best of luck with that one o_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_O
    yasf likes this.
  9. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    I think that we've had this conversation before.

    The UK is probably the only English speaking country that doesn't really have a proper EAL qualification. It generally just allows English teachers to muddle along. Canada, the US, Australia and (I believe) New Zealand all have proper distinct EAL/ESL certification / qualification routes.

    If you're happy to work just in British schools (the ones in Spain are generally quite bad and poorly paid) , then you would probably need to follow tb's advice. Otherwise it might be advisable to become properly qualified.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  10. ed717

    ed717 New commenter

    Not necessarily! I see jobs advertised in the international schools often, for a German teacher in Germany, a French teacher in France, for a Spanish teacher in Spain. All seeking PGCE graduates with knowledge of, and background in the UK system. Native speakers are NOT always the best language teachers! We have been through the process of learning a language, and can relate this better to our students.

    On an additional note - the bursary for PGCE in MFL is waaaay better - I could have chosen Geography or MFL, but the bursary swung it for me. I couldn't have managed without it.
  11. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Yep - but they are still looking for native speakers. Just ones that have gone to the UK and have UK training.
    As a native ESL teacher, I agree. Some of my most effective colleagues that I've learned most from are non native English speakers. It can be a battle, however, convincing our monoglot SLT and colleagues of this fact however - especially in the kind of low tier British school that you find in Spain.
  12. SM86

    SM86 New commenter

    Thanks all for your replies, that's really helpful and confirmed some of what I thought!

    Yes, I was referring to EAL (sorry, still getting my head around relevant terminology!).

    So, with regards to primary teaching, would training as a general primary school teacher (with additional EAL/ESL qualification) be appropriate to find a teaching job overseas or is there a tendency for primary school teachers to have any specialist subject(s) as well? I'd be interested to hear about this from the point of view of British, international and any state schools overseas that hire teachers with UK qualifications. I'm primarily interested in Western Europe.

    I have heard before about such drawbacks of teaching in Spain. Can you or anyone else advise on which European countries are more favourable to teachers, in terms of salary, job availability and work-life balance?

    Many thanks
  13. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    avoid the countries in the Euro if possible. you will get a much better package.
  14. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    True. And if you can't do that then Benelux or Germany generally have better options than Spain, Italy or Portugal.
  15. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Of course, if you are considering non-Spanish speaking countries, suddenly an MFL PGCE that includes Spanish as one of the languages is probably a lot more viable.
    yasf likes this.
  16. siananderson1

    siananderson1 New commenter

    Thank you.
  17. siananderson1

    siananderson1 New commenter

    Does anyone have any further experience of this at all?

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