Teaching English in Spain

Working for an agency

Agencies act as the intermediary between you and the student. Many businesses that call themselves "academies" are really just agencies, so be careful before applying to a job at the "Bla Bla Bla Academy of English." If they send teachers out to give private classes in homes and businesses, they're an agency, no matter that the official name of the company is. Note that some TEFL schools also act as agencies after you finish their teaching training TEFL certification course.

One benefit of working for an agency is that they can provide a steady stream of work. Many are established and advertise in newspapers, specialized magazines, and other media. They also get new clients through word-of-mouth referrals.

Another benefit of working for an agency is higher pay. Obviously, students are willing to pay more for private classes in their homes or businesses than they would be for group classes at an academy.

There are also several drawbacks of working for an agency. First off, they take a percentage of the cash you earn. While you will still be earning more per hour than an academy teacher, you will be earning less than if you were finding classes on your own. Furthermore, as a private teacher, you will have classes in many locations. Travel can be exhaustive and the agency may not cover your travel expenses. Also keep in mind that agency may not provide teaching materials or free photocopies–items that add up quickly and will hit your pocketbook hard.

As you are not working block hours in an academy classroom, you will probably have a hectic work schedule. Often, you will work during your student's free time: at lunch, after dinner, or early in the morning before work. Many private teachers start their days very early and come home very late. So remember, even if the agency offers you many classes, be careful about accepting too many or you may get burned out quickly.

By Phillip Stark, Founder of MAPLanguages.com 
Spain's premiere search engine for private language teachers and academies.

Further reading

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