Teaching Experience

New chapter: becoming a freelancer

This post was meant to be about something else. However, as I was enjoying what I thought were my last few days of holidays, I received a news so unexpected that it changed my way of thinking and motivated me enough to change my current work ambitions. Let me tell you a story about teaching ESL in Spain – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Teaching ESL in Spain is sure fun and has many benefits. First of all, you work half-time and with a little bit of organisation you can fit in a lot of other activities that you truly enjoy. The worst part of it is that the amount of work you put into it is not properly rewarded and often times you try finding ways in which you can improve your current working status.

I’ve been teaching English for three years now. Last year I changed academies and signed a work and service contract aka the garbage contract. My service ended mid-June and I was offered to teach a month long intensive courses but I rejected it. You see, the summer placement was short time and paid under the table which doesn’t sit well with me. On top of that I wanted to finally visit my family so taking this time off seemed like the best option. Regardless, in June I talked with my boss who told me that I can come back in September and work with them for one year more…except not! Exactly two weeks before the start of the academic year, I received an email thanking for my year of work and wishing me all the best in the future. I felt shocked and a bit betrayed. However, my story isn’t unique. Unfortunately, in Spain it’s very common to ditch your workers without giving any explanation. My shocking news circled other work colleagues and as it turned out, I wasn’t the only one put in this situation.

After the initial shock wore off, unexpectedly came a sense of relief. I’ve been wanting to become a freelancer for some time but decided to wait one more year to fully commit to this idea. The feeling of working evenings, commuting one hour each way, working weekends and earning peanuts started getting to me. I needed a change and this situation pushed me to implement my plan just a little bit sooner. It’s actually quite funny as the night before this life-changing message I was saying how I feel quite ready to become autonomous and I was writing different ways I could teach my very own students! I guess everything happens for a reason!

So here’s my initial plan, a new chapter of my teaching experience – becoming my own boss. I feel a bit scared but definitely ready for JoannaESL 2.0. I even came up with some points that I’d like to achieve this academic year 2021/2022:

  1. Be my own boss! Become fully autonomous and work as a freelancer. I’d like to have my own students and work online, maybe get a few teaching hours in an academy as I do enjoy being in a classroom and feeling the presence of my students.
  2. Find more than one source of income. I’ve been trying to do this in many different ways but so far no success… I decided that if I stay committed to my blog for more than 6 months, I’ll get a paid version of it and get even more serious. Additionally, I’ve been researching other teacher platforms. I’m so captivated by Teachers pay Teachers and I started uploading my free worksheets on there too. I have some ideas that I can post on there and be rewarded at the end.
  3. Keep being creative. After a few months of being online and trying to network with other ESL teachers, I felt like my creative juices stopped flowing. However, I feel inspired again and have my head full of ideas that I just can’t wait to implement and share with everyone!

I guess that’s all I have to say about my life changing event. Being an ESL teacher in Spain isn’t always glorious and easy. When you move to Spain and decide to join this business, get ready for many mishaps and events that may put you off. It doesn’t matter how much you love teaching, you’ll most likely meet people who will make this job so difficult and unrewarding that you’ll want to quit. However, try turning every bad situation into a growing experience and turn it around so the odds are in your favour!

Hope you are as excited as I am for my new adventure and if you’ve ever had any similar experience, please do tell me how you dealt with it. I’m so new to this that any advice, even the silliest one is more than welcome! JoannaESL 2.0 – here we come!


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