Monday, 15 October 2012

Becoming a teacher in Spain: Mission impossible?

Teaching can be one of the most rewarding professions. Little wonder, then, that many people would like to become teachers. Unfortunately, if you live in Spain, it will probably take you a long time (years, actually) before you can set foot in a classroom on a daily basis.

Here are the requirements to become a teacher in this country:

- A university degree
- A teaching qualification
- Academic/professional achievements (selection on merit)
- A good result in the Oposiciones exams

Getting a good result in the Oposiciones (competitive exams) is a mountain to climb. These exams are:

- A written exam (there are 69 topics to study)
- A practical (translations, linguistic analysis, literary criticism, use of English, etc.)
- An oral (presentation of a syllabus plus a teaching unit) before an examining board

If you don't get a good result in the Oposiciones - either because you didn't get high marks or because you lacked the necessary academic or professional achievements - you can still work as a supply teacher.

Being a supply teacher is not a bed of roses. You have to travel from school to school in order to work for short spells, usually a couple of weeks or one month. Moreover, being a supply teacher is no guarantee that you will have a job. A supply teacher is on a list of teachers who are chosen to work on the basis of their performance in the Oposiciones (or their experience as teachers). That means you hold a position to begin with on that list, so there are lots of other teachers with a better position on the list who will take precedence over you.

Although I am a supply teacher, I haven't worked as such yet. I don't even know if I will work this year. My only chance is to get a better result next year. Or get a permanent place. That seems more like mission impossible.

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