Frequently Asked Questions (from ACEIA)
Why work for an ACEIA school?
The Association of Private Language Schools in Andalusia (ACEIA) was founded in 1980 and currently boasts 500 teachers working for member schools in what is the largest region in Spain. These schools are among the most prestigious in the towns and cities of Andalusia. Each ACEIA school is obliged to abide by a code of conduct which, among other things, promises to offer a transparent service to both students and teachers in accordance with current Spanish legislation applicable to private language schools. ACEIA itself is also a member of a national regulatory organisation FECEI (The Spanish Federation of Language Schools) as well as UCE-UCA and FACUA , two regional consumer associations. All this means that an ACEIA school is part of the main professional (and only specialist) organisation in Andalusia and, therefore, is able to offer a guarantee of quality which you will not find elsewhere in the region.
TEACHINGWhat is a typical teaching timetable?
The Spanish working day is divided into two by a long lunch which is the largest meal of the day for Spanish people. Most people work or study in the mornings to early afternoon: Government jobs finish at 3, schools at 2 or 3:30, so the main part of the teaching day in ACEIA schools will be done in the afternoons to evenings. Expect your main contact hours to be between the hours of 4pm and 10pm. There may, however, be some morning classes in the school as well as classes off the school premises. Some member schools teach a lot off-site and teachers may have timetables built around business classes. You should consult each school. Teachers meetings and in-house training sessions tend to be conducted in the mornings.
What age and level will I be expected to teach?
Expect the majority of learners to be young learners and teenagers with a lesser percentage being adults. However, some schools teach mainly business English which means a high percentage of adults. Again do enquire with the specific ACEIA school you are interested in. The Cambridge UCLES exams and the Trinity College exams are well-known in Spain and you may be expected to teach towards these . ACEIA schools have experience in preparing their learners for these exams and will be able to provide ample support.
Do I have to speak Spanish to work as an English teacher in Spain?
Generally speaking ACEIA schools prefer the communicative approach to language teaching which involves immersion in the target language. It is perfectly possible to teach English without recourse to Spanish. However, Spanish is a considerable benefit for settling in and making living in Andalusia more comfortable. A good knowledge of Spanish will also help you understand why learners are making certain errors and so provide more effective correction.
What is a typical academic year in Andalusia?
A typical academic year would run from late September or the beginning of October until the end of June. An ACEIA school may also run summer courses during the months of July, August and September.
Will I receive any teacher training?
By being a member of ACEIA every private language school has access to an ongoing workshop scheme in which teachers from different ACEIA schools can visit one another to give workshops. This means that each ACEIA school has access to a variety of professional workshops by experienced teachers and teacher trainers to complement their own internal professional development scheme. Moreover, ACEIA holds one of the largest and most prestigious English Language Teaching conferences in southern Spain every year and all ACEIA-member schools are invited.
What holidays will I get?
An ACEIA school will give you all those holidays stipulated under Spanish law which include Christmas and Easter and national and local holidays. You should ask the particular ACEIA school for a calendar.
LEGALWhat documentation will I need in Spain?
Residence permits are not required for EU nationals but the ACEIA school for which you intend to work will help you with the paperwork to apply for a Foreigner's Identity Number (NIE). You need to apply for this if you plan to stay in Spain for a period exceeding three months. Your passport number can be used until you receive a NIE. It is advisable to have this identity number for any official transaction in Spain such as buying a car, opening a bank account or preparing your tax returns in May/June. You will need to carry a copy of this number (or your passport) with you at all times as Spanish law states that it is an offence not to be able to identity yourself to a police officer if required to do so. You will also be required to apply for a social security number before you begin work for your company. It is also advisable to register in the town's census and to notify the tax office of your address once you have a NIE.
Will I have to sign a contract?
Spanish labour legislation is comprehensive and there is a specific agreement (convenio) for the sector. You will expected to sign a contract on starting work in an ACEIA school. According to the convenio a full-time job involves up to 34 hours a week. Consult in each case how many contact hours are expected, and what hours are assumed for preparation time, training and so on.
Most ACEIA schools regard a full-time contract to involve around 24 contact hours. By law the contract you sign must be in Spanish although the ACEIA school you are signing the contract with will be more than willing to help with any doubts you may have concerning its contents.
When and how do I get paid?
According to the law binding private language schools, an ACEIA school promises to pay teachers within or before the first five days of the following month. The amount will be paid in euros and you will have to sign your pay slip ( nomina ) on receipt of your salary. Your pay slip will include a breakdown of the tax and social security you pay.
Do I have to pay tax?
Tax deductions vary substantially depending on the amount on your pay slip, the duration of the contract and the time of year you sign up. Your employer does not set the rate: The amount deducted is calculated by a specific program supplied by Hacienda (Inland Revenue). The rate (typically between 2% and 12%) depends on your earning profile and your personal circumstances, for example, whether you have children. Between May and June you can submit your tax returns for the previous calendar year through the local tax office (local hacienda office ). Again your ACEIA school will be more than willing to explain what you need to do in more detail. If all your earnings are from one source only over the year and don´t exceed a specific amount you do not present a tax return. Social security deductions are approximately 6%.
WELFAREHow can I find accommodation?
The ACEIA school you apply to may help you find a flat and settle in as quickly as possible. Most people in towns and cities in Spain live in flats and prices vary from place to place. It is often cheaper and more frequent to share a flat. You will probably have to pay a deposit when you first move in which is normally the same amount as a month's rent but can be anything up to three months' rent, so bear this in mind when deciding how much money you will need when you first arrive in Spain. The earlier you arrive the more choice of accommodation you will have, as other teachers and students will also be looking for accommodation at the beginning of the academic year. Most flats in Andalusia are conditioned for the high temperatures in summer and have tiled or marble floors which means that during the harsh winter months it can sometimes be warmer outside your flat than inside. Depending on where you intend to live central heating and/or some form or air-conditioning are things to look out for when house-hunting. Do also enquire what is covered by the rent as very often the water, electricity or community charges may not be included.
Is Spanish easy to learn?
As with any language this depends on your level of commitment. One positive thing about learning Spanish is that the words are pronounced the way they are written which is more than can be said for English! Spanish is also said to have significantly less vocabulary in its lexicon in comparison to English.
How can I open a bank account?
Foreigners can open temporary accounts until they get their tax identification number (NIF). Once they have a NIF they can open a normal account. Many banks offer free accounts for clients who receive their wages directly into their account. You should find out if your school offers this option.
Can I drive in Spain with my current driving licence?
If your driving licence has been issued by a member country of the European Union, then you can drive in Spain using your current driving licence for up to six months after you have entered the country. After that time you should exchange your licence for a Spanish licence. The minimum age to drive in Spain is 18. If you are below this age and hold a driving licence you cannot drive in Spain. There is also a points system in which points are taken away from a total of twelve (for experienced drivers) for any infraction of the law.
What are the arrangements for health provision?
Teachers are signed up to the National Health Service (Seguridad Social) on arrival and assigned a GP in their local health centre as soon as possible. However, if you are from a European Union member country you automatically have the right to receive medical attention. Dental treatment in Spain is not covered by the National Health Service. Teachers are also covered for work-related injuries which occur at or on the way to work by a private insurer. If you become ill while under contract you should go to your doctor or an emergency room .
Check with your school about their policy on 'bajas'- this is the official term for sick leave - it may have repercussions on your salary
ANDALUSIAWhat is the weather like?
Andalusia has a Mediterranean climate which is mainly mild all year round with short winters and long summer seasons. Rain is irregular and often limited to spring and autumn. The summer and winter months often see extremes as regards temperatures. In the summer temperatures in certain areas often reach 40º, while winter can often be very cold and it has been known to snow in some places.
Andalusia is famous for its Mediterranean diet which consists of lots of fresh meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and legumes. However, it is not always vegetarian-friendly. The whole process of eating is taken seriously in Spain and it is common to have tapas with your drink.
Andalusia is a region steeped in traditions. Holy Week is celebrated with daily processions of Christians carrying religious figures. There are pilgrimages to sites of worship throughout the year. There are fairs where people eat, drink and dance all week long. Christmas Eve and Epiphany are the major winter celebrations with the Three Wise Men (los reyes Magos) often being the present-bearers instead of Santa Claus.
Life in Andalusia is very street oriented. The weather and extra hours of daylight in the evening mean that you can expect to see families with small children out until late. Andalusia also boasts six World Heritage sites. Although it may sometimes be difficult to find somewhere to play every sport, outdoor sports are popular.
Compulsory education in Andalusia is from 6 until 16. Before the age of 6 many children attend Pre-school. After the age of 16 students can decide to go on to college and study A' levels ( bachillerato ) and go on to University or opt for vocational education . The Andalusia Government has an important plan to promote plurilingualism in state education. To this end many schools teach certain subjects in English as part of their bilingual programme. Children from as young as three years old are in contact with English in their schools. ACEIA language schools offer extra-curricular support which is why both parents and adults prefer the guarantees an ACEIA school can offer them.