Teach English in Spain in a Public School

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If you’ve been searching high and low for information on how you can teach English in Spain in a public school, we’ll cover all the information you need.

Most students in Spain begin their English education during primary (primaria) school.

During that time, learning outcomes and teaching styles vary slightly across schools in Spain.

One of the modalities used in Spanish public schools to facilitate lessons for English language learning are language assistant programs.

Teach English in Spain – Language Assistants

Most language assistant programs in Spain have a similar desired outcome: bring native-like English speakers into Spanish classrooms to assist teachers.

We’ve previously explored programs such as the NALCAP or the Language and Culture Assistants Program in Spain.

These are two major programs that bring English speakers in from around the world to assist with teaching their native language.

Oftentimes, many refer to these language assistants as auxiliars de conversación.

The Ministry of Education of Spain sponsors the programs mentioned above.

However, there are other options available to you outside of these government sponsored programs.

Teach English in Spain – A Day in the Life

The day to day of a conversation assistant within the Spanish public school system will vary according to the school you’re placed in.

The overall role as an auxiliar is to serve as a linguistic model for students learning to speak English.

From New York to New Zealand, there are hundreds of different English dialects spoken the world over.

To that end, each language assistant will likely implement their own approach to the English language.

As most teachers will vary in their approach to teaching languages, a work day as a language assistant can be dynamic and exciting.

Regardless of which region you end up in, many assistants tend to gather together before the work day with the teachers for breakfast or café con leche.

Your work day typically lasts for five class periods, four days per week.

Your weekly work time might be anywhere from 12 to 18 hours.

The school, or the teacher you work alongside, prepares the curriculum before you arrive.

You will, however, be free to give presentations, lead activities, or spearhead holiday-oriented events.

learn Spanish

Teach English in Spain – Requirements

The requirements to be a language assistant are fairly straightforward.

There are a few schooling requirements, as well as documentation requirements.

This next section we’ll go over what is required to teach English in Spain in a public school.

Spanish Fluency Level

You might be asking yourself: should I know Spanish in order to take part in a teach abroad program in Spain?

The short answer is no!

It’s not required to be fluent in Spanish while you teach English in Spain in a school.

However, many programs do recommend that you’re able to carry on at a conversational level.

You will be living in Spain for a large part of the year.

Therefore, knowing how to interact, get around, and enjoy the region you live in will be much easier if you know the basics.

Just as you will be helping others increase their English skills, plenty of options exist for you to increase your Spanish!

Plenty of online courses exist to help you in your Spanish speaking journey no matter where you’re at in the world.

Required Documentation

To be a language assistant in Spain, the following will be required:

  • Current passport
  • Associate’s or bachelor’s degree
  • Current visa

As long as you’ve received, at minimum, an associate’s degree prior to the program start date, you can apply to be a language assistant.

In addition to this documentation, you must be able to demonstrate native-like fluent English.

As a reminder, you do not need a current visa to apply to be a language assistant.

Rather, you will need a visa after you’ve been accepted in order to live in Spain while you teach.

Teach English in Spain – Accepting Applications

So, you meet the requirements and want to apply.

Wonderful! Depending on the program you go with, your steps to apply might vary slightly.

You can refer to our NALCAP guide for application steps for that particular program.

A similar program, such as RVF International, is another government-sponsored program.

RVF accepts applications on a year-round basis.

They will contact you specifically with further application steps and program information.

The Fulbright is another program that places teaching assistants in schools across Spain.

The Fulbright application process will differ from RVF, and so on.

However, their website outlines specifics on what to complete as a hopeful program participant.

Be sure to check each website for specific application parameters.

For government-sponsored programs, the regional Spanish governments operate the school placements.

Programs, like the ones listed above, are the ones to connect applicants with support through the application, placement, and even visa processes.

University Studies in English in Spain

Helpful Reminders

Language assistant programs typically run from October to May.

Using the NALCAP as an example, applications for that program begin in February and run through April.

So, for a 2024 program year, you would want to begin your application in the spring of 2023.

This ensures you will be considered for the next valid school year.

It’s a good idea to schedule a background check after you’ve applied to a program as it will be necessary as part of your visa application process.

Many programs will require documents on top of your passport. I.e.:

  • Personal statement
  • University transcripts
  • Copy of degree
  • Letter of recommendation

Your letter of recommendation can be from a current university professor or your employer.

You can also use a letter from your mentor if you have one you regularly work with.

Visa Reminders

If you hope to teach English in Spain in a Spanish public school, don’t forget your visa!

As a foreign worker, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got proper documentation to live abroad.

It can be helpful to gather visa documentation earlier rather than later.

Once you know you’ve been approved for a program or position to teach, you can start the process.

While the visa application process might seem daunting, Go! Go! España has a dedicated team of professionals to help you navigate.

Time to Explore

One of the best parts of any language assistance program is the free time!

Yes, your main duty will be to assist with language learning in the classroom.

But what about time spent outside of lessons?

You’ll have weekends and holidays to explore all that Spain has to offer!

In fact, Spain has 17 different autonomous communities (comunidad autónomas) in which you can be placed when teaching English in Spain.

There are even two autonomous cities in Northern Africa that take part: Melilla and Ceuta.

When applying to teach in Spain, you can typically choose your top preferences, but it’s no guarantee where you’ll end up.

Regardless, every location has something to offer.

Some of these regions are:

  • Castilla-La Mancha
  • Valencia
  • Catalonia
  • Aragón
  • Navarra
  • La Rioja
  • Cantabria

From the festival of running bulls in Navarra, to the unique cuisine of Aragón, there is no shortage of things to do or places to explore.

life in Spain

Teach English in Spain – The Language Assistant Pathway

Sharing native-English speaking expertise can boost motivation in the classroom and help students with their practical language skills.

If you’re gathering your checklist items to teach English abroad in Spain, we hope you can refer to this guide for help.

In addition, our team at Go! Go! España is here to help with the crucial details when it comes to living abroad in Spain.

I.e.: finding accommodation once you’re in Spain, or going over what you need to submit for your visa application prior to your arrival.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you have.

We’d love to help you get started on your journey on providing language assistance in Spain.

Being a language assistant is an adventure of a lifetime.

If you’ve been wanting to teach, but also want to experience the beauty of Spain, the language assistant pathway might be the perfect fit for you.

Don’t hesitate to get started on the path toward becoming a language assistant today!

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