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Why not Spain?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by anim8r62, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. anim8r62

    anim8r62 New commenter

    Hi People

    Considering teaching abroad and have been offered a couple of teaching positions in Italy, but really have a preference for Spain. However, many forum posts seem to warn against teaching in Spain - why? Is it the salary? Because Italy weren't offering anything brilliant and lets face it, the salary here in the UK is pretty poor and I'm at the top of the MPS. The jobs that I have seen on Tes in Spain, for Computer Science, which actually mention a salary, aren't that much lower than what I get here. So, please enlighten me before I make a dreadful mistake. Thank you.
     
    r_holland6877 likes this.
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    It is the salary.

    However, if it's Computer Science you teach then, actually, I could well believe that you could be offered a half decent salary as it is so hard to recruit Computer Science teachers here.

    Your post seems to suggest that you've read other threads on the forum about Spain, so you probably know all the things to watch out for:
    - 10 month contracts
    - being paid on the convenio (which means bare minimum - around €23,000)
    - high rentals
    - no package
    - total lack of support/CPD (tell-tale signs here are a complete lack of a pastoral system/heads of department, so ask about those in interviews)
    - totalitarian heads (tell-tale signs: they are also the owner/offspring of the owner)

    Some Spanish schools are now offering a relocation allowance, but I haven't heard of any offering to help with accomodation (though I know of two that have flats on site - these don't come free though!) Also, higher salaries are usually offered by those schools in areas where rental costs are higher - thus wiping out any benefit. None will offer heath insurance, but the hleath service here is excellent and, if you are paying social security contributions and have your residency sorted, free (as is the case in Italy, I believe).

    I haven't worked in Italy, but I remember from my own job hunting days that there seemed to be little material difference between what Spanish and Italian schools were offering, so went for Spain as I speak the language.

    I love Spain, but I'm sure others will be along shortly to tell you to broaden the scope of your searches.

    Good luck and happy new year.
     
  3. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    No decent school is going to offer you more than other teachers just because you teach a shortage subject. Any school that does this is not the sort of place you'd want to work as they'll be inadequate in other ways too.

    If you're ok earning 1800 a month and paying 800 of that in rent then go for it.

    Red flag though - For someone who finds UK pay poor though, Spain would be the worst possible of choices.

    Go by all means, but if your issue with the UK is pay you're going out of the frying pan and into the fire.
     
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  4. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    It’s true that MOST schools in Spain offer very poor salaries and not much in terms of a “package”, but it’s not true of all. My school, for example, offers new teachers a housing allowance for the first five years, free private health & dental, a private pension scheme after four years, and a “matched savings” scheme...
    Do your research! Find one of the few good schools, and try to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above. Also avoid schools which don’t offer free tuition to ALL offspring. They have to do this by law and if they don’t, they cannot be trusted...
     
  5. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    If your yardstick is Italy, Spain will look just fine, I suppose. But if you change yardstick to just about anyplace outside of mainstream Europe and the Euro zone, the picture will look quite different. Neither Italy nor Spain will appeal in terms of package.
     
    Bentley89 and dumbbells66 like this.
  6. anim8r62

    anim8r62 New commenter

    Thank you tb9605 for a very informative and precise response - appreciate it.
     
    tb9605 likes this.
  7. anim8r62

    anim8r62 New commenter

    Thank you T0nyGT yes you're quite right even though I'm not all about the money what you say makes sense.
     
  8. anim8r62

    anim8r62 New commenter

    Thank you miketribe. Yes you're quite right - its all in the research and finding that 'right school' and your response gives me hope but I fear it may be like sieving for gold. Appreciate the response.
     
  9. anim8r62

    anim8r62 New commenter

    Thank you gulfgolf for your response. I only mentioned Italy as I've had a couple of offers from there but I'm not really using it as a yardstick as such. I know that if I want to look elsewhere (ME for instance) I can get more lucrative packages there. But I'm not doing this for the money and wanted to establish what other things besides relatively poor pay influenced people to question working in Spain. Appreciate your input.
     
  10. anim8r62

    anim8r62 New commenter

    Thank you to all who have responded. Naturally I would be looking for a decent salary/package but that on its own is not my overarching concern. I suppose its just that I love Spain and the idea of teaching there but wanted to know what other pitfalls I should be aware of from the expertise of people who have already worked there or taught abroad generally. The replies so far have certainly given me some additional food for thought. My thanks again.
     
  11. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    My sister had her tax contributions stolen by the owner of her "good" school in Barcelona, had to leave the country quickly before she was arrested. A close friend of mine got stress induced alopecia from his horrendous time in southern Spain. I nearly quit teaching because of my terrible experience there. Worst of all, a good friend of mine attempted suicide due to her aweful time in Spain. She is much happier since she moved to a decent country.

    When i left Spain for eastern Europe my contact time halved and my package more than quadrupled.

    There are terrible schools all over the world, yet Spain still stands out head and shoulders over other countries, inuding China and most of the ME. add into that the terrible money you will get. No "lifestyle" is worth it in my opinion.

    The number of even half decent schools in Spain is tiny, make sure you do an extreme amount of research, but also research other countries and see what you can get internationally.
     
  12. anim8r62

    anim8r62 New commenter

    Thanks dumbbells66. Wow that's quite a catalog of serious concerns - thanks for this.
     
  13. Teachallover

    Teachallover Occasional commenter

    That is truly magnificent miketribe, however, I think it’s only fair to point out here, that your school is clearly an absolute minority (a less than 1% minority) of all international schools in Spain. I lived across 3 different parts of Spain over 7 years and would say it is great for teachers who are: a fresh-faced youth wanting a year or two in a sunny lifestyle (but save nothing) or somebody building up to retirement who already has good financial means/ property they’re renting out etc or if you are lucky enough to be married to ‘Spanish money’ or have a non-teaching spouse who earns a lot in another sector. Other than that, forget it if you don’t want to barely keep your head above water on a month-to-month wage-slave basis wondering how you’ll pay your next flight home or electricity bill.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
  14. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    It’s true that I was lucky 40 years ago to get a job at my school... At the time, it wasn’t as good a deal as it is now, but it’s a non-profit school with no owners taking a rake-off, and it has a strong “comite de empresa” which is a sort of elected works committee which has negotiated effectively to improve conditions over the years. They also provide some protection from the sort of abuses dumbbells describes which I admit are fairly common in the many less scrupulous schools. I would suggest that looking for non-profit schools which comply with the legal requirement to have an elected comite should be part of the research you do in choosing a school.
    I also agree with much of what teachallover said. As I said, I have been lucky. My wife and I both worked at schools that paid well above the average, and we managed to secure a good life-style. We own three homes — mortgage-free — and have a very comfortable balance in the bank and elsewhere. On the other hand, I think he/she overstates her case a little. Whilst no-one is going to get rich teaching in Spain (unless they join the Dark Side and become bosses), I know a lot of teachers here who seem happy with their lot and do not fit into the categories she lists. For example, the majority of the teachers at the school my wife worked at before she retired have been there for years, are definitely middle-aged and all seem happy and comfortably off...
     
  15. Teachallover

    Teachallover Occasional commenter

    The trouble is, these are the very far and few between schools in Spain that I mean. Also, it’s even rarer to find a vacancy in such schools. If there were plenty, we’d all be working in your school or the few similar ones.
     
  16. motorhomer

    motorhomer New commenter

    I don't have personal experience of teaching in Spain but some of my colleagues have & they all warned of long working (teaching) days with large classes and little PPA. The low pay and disorganisation of leadership was a kick in the teeth too. However, they enjoyed living in Spain, just not working there.
     
  17. twisty08

    twisty08 New commenter

    @dumbbells66 Very interesting! Care to expand on this? I hear of take-home pay in Spain being around €22,000. Let's call it €20,000 for easy maths.

    Where in Eastern Europe (I think you've mentioned Ukraine) was your package worth more than €80,000?
     
  18. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Free accomodation, free bills, free pretty much everything. And most Spain jobs are quoted as gross, basically so they don't look as truly terrible as they are.
     
  19. twisty08

    twisty08 New commenter

    So what was the total value of your package in Eastern Europe, once salary, free accommodation and bills were added up?
     
  20. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I do remember my rent being quiet expensive, even though i didnt pay anything for it, but it was around the $80 000 mark...hence my previous comments. Spain, i got nothing, plus a terrible wage. Eastern Europe i got pretty much everything paid for plus a generous tax free salary. It was also cheap as hell to live. 2ltrs of beer for 50p if i remember.
     

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