School’s out! – and now what?

We made it! One of the most challenging school years is done! But what are you going to do now?

There is no doubt that the school year 2020/2021 was one of the most difficult years for teaching. We all needed to adapt to the new routine, disinfect everything every 5 minutes, keep the distance, transition to teaching fully online or worse…hybrid teaching.

If you teach in a state school, the answer to the question is very simple – now relax. However, if you are teaching in a private academy and your contract ends with the last day of school, you may find yourself in a pickle.

In Spain, most of the ESL teachers working at private academies work under contrato de obra y servicio (work and service contract). This means that you are hired for an academic year and once the year is over your work and service is done too. Private academies often offer intensive summer courses that focus mainly on exam preparation, but there simply may not be enough work to keep you around. If you worked hard during the year and your service was appreciated, there are high chances of rehiring you in September, but this means that you have 3 months of unpaid leave. But worry not! There are many different ways in which you can find something to do.

1. Find a new job

In case you feel insecure about your current position and you just don’t know if you get a callback in September, there is no better time to find a new job! Update your resume and apply for new positions – there is also a chance that you will find a summer job either as a counsellor in one of many summer camps or as an intensive course teacher.

The best websites for ESL teaching jobs in Spain, which I used myself and could recommend without the shadow of a doubt, are TEFL.com and Spainwise. Through these websites, I found plenty of job offers and many academies actually reached back and scheduled an interview. Even if you feel a bit uncertain about some places, there is no harm in going for an interview (which are normally done online) and getting some job interview practice.

2. Become autonomous

Another great way of making some money is by offering private classes. The most common platform in Spain is Tus clases particulares. You are your own boss, you decide the time, the place, the level and the prices. It will require some self-implemented rules and making sure that you stay on top of everything, but it can help you create your own teaching space and teacher-student relationship that you can maintain even when you go back to work. It can be your main summer hustle and your side hustle for the rest of the year.

3. Develop yourself

If you’ve been thinking about doing some teacher related courses and you just never had the time, why not now? There are plenty of websites that offer short and relatively cheap fully-online teaching courses. Before I got into teaching, I learnt about different planning strategies for adults and for children using Tefl.org. Keep in mind that even though you work with a tutor and you do get a certificate at the end of the course, these courses are more for you than for any future employer.

In case you have some extra money and you actually want to impress your future boss, then you may want to invest in getting one of the teaching Cambridge courses. There is a variety of different courses, but if you haven’t got it already, CELTA is the best option. You can get it through one of the intensive courses offered by many different language schools. I got mine from CLIC Seville, which is also a part of the International House. The intensive course takes about 4-5 weeks (depending on the academy) and can be done in person, 50% online or fully online. It is quite pricey but it is definitely worth it.

4. Prepare for next year

If you are the lucky one who knows that they are able to come back to the same academy next academic year, then why not prepare some classes. I find it incredibly challenging to start the year and I am yet to develop a plan that is a perfect year opener. This summer I will definitely prepare some extra lesson plans and worksheets that I can use at the beginning of the new year. You may find it excessive now, but you will really thank yourself in September.

You may also want to find or make some games for your students. Do research about some online tools and try them for yourself. There are so many incredible websites out there that still need to be discovered!

5. Get creative

Another great way of developing yourself, networking and sharing your knowledge is by creating your own platform – such as this one! However, if you are not much of a writer then why don’t you share some of your incredible lesson plans and worksheets on websites like Teachers pay teachers. I am yet to explore this world myself, but to be completely honest I have used it a few times to download some of the freebies and I have definitely used some of them in my class. They are well done, professional and interesting for students. This is also another great way to make some extra cash during the year!

6. Just rest

This goes without saying. Switch off, relax and get ready for next year!

This summer for me is a bit different as I am taking a month off. During this time I am going to develop creative writing (aka this blog) and try creating the best lesson plans and worksheets for my students. Summer 2021 – let’s begin!

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