David O Grady’s Adventure of teaching in Spain

What is your experience in school, including tasks, classes, and relationships with students/teachers in Spain?

My experience with the school while teaching in Spain has been highly positive, especially with the primary school children. I have been preparing lessons for 4th, 5th and 6th grade every week, going through groups of 3 or 4 students for 15 minutes. I have interacted with them efficiently and feel like every student has been participating in the lessons; adding an element of fun increased my relationship and respect with all the students.

The high school teaching only takes up a small number of my hours, but I am working with the teachers to ensure more students engage in the conversation. Overall, I get on brilliantly with the teachers and have many chats, great lunches, and coffees with an element of language exchange. My lesson plans consist of a vocabulary section with pictures and keywords, ensuring students elicit and memorise new information, and then getting them to do a short exercise at the end of the lesson.

What is your experience living with your Host Family? Have they made you feel welcome, relationships, activities, etc….?

There is nothing I can fault about the host family; they have provided me with excellent meals, hospitality, great company, family trips and understanding if I need anything. They also don’t mind if I want to do things independently, which is brilliant, and would recommend any Voluntary Speaker to come to stay with my family. The kids are so brilliant, and personally, I haven’t been treated as an au pair as the program said I wouldn’t, which is great, but I also love to spend time with them, be it watching football or playing games.

Your overall experience whilst on the program from prior expectations to your current experience

My experience with the program has been incredibly positive, and I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. The initial struggles were there, and there were days that I found tough but then there were special moments with the school, family, and friends that I cherished forever.

Teaching English in Spain


Changes/Improvements in both personal and professional development

I have grown in confidence, breaking out of my hard, introverted IT background shell, and feeling good about myself, especially all the kids shouting my name in the school, it really is heartwarming

Advice for any new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your town/city (best places to visit, things to do, activities with a host family, favourite restaurant, bar, etc..…)

I would always advise asking as many questions as possible and concerns before going to Spain with your teachers and the family. If you are not a people person, I would not recommend it to them because you must be friendly and approachable to everyone, even if you are having a bad day. Me, I am usually good with people, but in a school setting, this was my biggest challenge to put myself out of my comfort zone.

Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your school?

Make sure to have tea/coffee with your teachers after lunchtime because you will also form new friendships and earn their respect. Make sure to have at least prepare one lesson plan per week to ensure that if you run into the same students again, you will have new material for them. I would also recommend bringing a kettle because people don’t use it here, bring some tea bags, and you’ll save more money!

Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers in relation to living with your host family or Spanish families in general

When living with your host family, always be respectful of the food you are given, and if you don’t like a particular type, feel free to express your feelings. They eat late here from 8 to 9 pm so just make sure to be on time for the meal because the parents have put effort into preparing it and always make sure to make an effort to speak English at the dinner table.

Share some of the best moments in your school, host family, and general whilst participating in the program.

When I see the kids in the school giving you smiles, waves, hugs and chanting your name, you know that you’ve helped them improve their English when they are happy to see you.

Any regrets about joining? Would you recommend the program to others? And what would you say to someone thinking about teaching English abroad for the first time and thinking about joining this program?

I have no regrets, although I wish I had done this sooner. I don’t think such an opportunity existed except for some really expensive placements that you see online.

In general, you don’t need a degree to teach English abroad or online. Our certification stands alone and you can get employment without pairing it with a degree. However, some TEFL employers do prefer their teachers to have a degree. More importantly, for some countries, it’s a visa requirement. This means you can’t obtain a work permit without a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some of these countries include China, Japan, UAE and Vietnam. 

Our advice is if you have your sights set on a certain country, look into the visa requirements first before putting time and effort into finding a job there. This will save you time and disappointment. If it’s a school preferability, and not a visa requirement, there’s sometimes some leeway. 

You do not need any prior teaching degrees or experience to teach abroad. Once you have your TEFL certificate, you can secure work as a TEFL teacher. A BA in Education would enhance your CV, but it’s not a necessity. Completing a TEFL course that includes teaching practice, like our Hybrid TEFL Courses, will also help your CV.

If you want to experience different cultures and see the world, teaching English abroad is for you. Not only will you get to explore new places, you’ll also meet new people and get the chance to make a difference to the lives of language learners. A TEFL certification lasts a lifetime. So, you can dip in and out of teaching abroad whenever you feel like it. 

It is not necessary to speak any other languages. You’ll be able to find a job and work comfortably without knowing the language spoken in your chosen country. Of course, it is always an advantage, even if it’s just the basics. We recommend learning a few phrases before you move abroad like hi, thank you, goodbye and sorry.

You’re never too old to gain new qualifications! Some TEFL employers do have age restrictions, but there are ample opportunities for more mature teachers. There are also the options to teach English from home as a private tutor or online tutor.

We recommend one of our Hybrid TEFL Courses if you would like to teach English in Europe. These hybrid courses give you the best of both worlds. You’ll get the training and certification you need, as well as teaching practice through the 10 Hour Virtual TEFL Course. 

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