Teaching English in Madrid: the TEFL Job Interview

Ready to start teaching English in Madrid?


You’re a fresh-faced, idealistic young English teacher, recently moved to Spain.

You’re wearing your best pair of board shorts and and some flip-flops that are so new and so clean that in a pinch you could use them to stir your cocido.

But today, you’re a little bit nervous.


Because today you’ve got your first job interview with a real language school!

You’re looking forward to teaching English in Madrid…


That’s why you’re wearing your new flip-flops, after all.

You’ve even taken the time to run your fingers through your hair before leaving the house. That’s how much you want this job.

You arrive at the language school 15 minutes late (of course, it’s not your fault that they are having the interview at the ungodly hour of 11 AM) and are somewhat disappointed to find that it’s just a small office in a building full of pawn shops, cut-price lawyers and happy ending massage parlors.

teaching english in Madrid, Spain

The secretary ushers you into a small room, where a middle-aged man sits with his feet up on the desk, punching keys on a computer that looks like it was probably found in a dumpster some time in the late 90s.

Meet your new Director of Studies

He looks you up and down. You can smell alcohol on his breath, and you realize that it’s about time for you to start hitting the sangría yourself.

You sit down in a creaky plastic chair.

“So where you from?”

“Well, I’m…” This is your first time in the presence of a DoS (the venerated Director of Studies) of a real institute of higher education, and you can feel yourself tripping over your words. “I’m from this little town in the OC… It’s, like, totally righteous, man… if you know what I mean.”

You don’t know it at the time, but you already have the job. Your “Native-speaker” accent is more than acceptable, and you don’t appear to be dangerous. You’re in.

Still, the DoS asks you a couple more questions. “Gotta CELTA?”

“Well, yeah, I did this, like online course that was like a CELTA, and then I figured, well, might as well come to Spain, I mean, like YOLO, and all that, right man?”

“You speak any Spanish?”

“Well, I’ve picked up a few things since I arrived! ¿Dónde está el baño?”

Welcome to the team. You’ve got a bright future as an English teacher…

And then, he asks you that fateful question.

“What are you doing Mondays at 8:30?”

“Well, I just got here, so you know, my schedule is pretty much wide open. I like to get outta the house and all, so you know, 8:30’s great!”

“I’ve got a client out in Tres Cantos who wants a native teacher. It’s 18€ an hour plus 4€ for transport.”

You do some quick mental calculations. Of course, you’ve assumed that 8:30 means PM. You have no idea that he’s sending you to some industrial park 27 kilometers away. All you know is that 22€ is a whole lot of sangría.

“Sure, sounds good, I mean, yeah, whatever, man!”

The DoS reaches out his hand to shake yours. “Welcome to the team! Payday is the 9th of every month. You’ll be expected to provide your own materials, but mostly he just wants to talk.”

“Yo, that’s cool, man, I’ll just ask him about his weekend and take it from there!”

And just like that, you have your first company classes. Teaching English in Madrid is gonna be awesome.

You decide to celebrate by going to 100 Montaditos so you’ll have something in your stomach when it’s time to start on that pitcher of sangría.


Mr Chorizo.

P.S. For more “humor”, if you can even call it that, see: Teaching English in Spain is So Glamorous and 3 Ways that Teaching English Inflates Your Ego. And if you’d like something more informational, check out my article about making a living as an English teacher, or the pros and cons of living in Madrid. Enjoy!


How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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