Really conflicted - should I stay in Spain or move back to UK to become a teacher?

(25 Posts)
KateMcd Fri 05-Jul-19 16:48:38

Hi, so I'm really stuck with this dilemma right now! I first moved to Spain 5 years ago. Then I came back to Scotland for 2 years (set up my own online business & it was great for a while). But then I missed Spain and teaching (I have a TESOL qualification). This is my second year in a row living here (think you need 5 years in a row for residency? Not sure). There are many things I love about living in Spain, the sunshine makes a big difference to my life, otherwise I get SAD & the overall lifestyle suits me. However I am sick of the poor salary and am not able to live the life I want (ie. I have not been able to pursue healthy hobbies like yoga in an on-going way and it is essential for my mental health).

However I applied to the PGDE course in Scotland this year and was only invited for interviews from UHI - Glasgow rejected me and I was so upset to not even be invited to interview. They have now said I need more experience in Scottish schools before a chance of acceptance.

The big problem is that I am a writer and I feel I need to proritise writing my novel. I don't know if I will get anywhere with it but I have short stories and journalism published, am told I am a good writer by etablished journalists etc. Current teachers have warned me against entering into the profession because I will not have time for my writing projects.

On the one hand I want to stay in Spain because my community is there, I love it and I don't want to risk a barrier to going back if Brexit messes things up. But at the same time I want to earn a good salary for a while (I might be able to find a good job in Spain, but it is harder than in UK). So please help me consider the options and decide what to do?!

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Fri 05-Jul-19 18:33:30

I really wouldn't consider teaching, unless it is something you really, really want to do.
If your heart isn't in it (you say you want to be a writer), then it is an awful job.

Bigearringsbigsmile Fri 05-Jul-19 18:36:04

Stay in Spain.
UK is a shithole right now.
Teaching too stressful.

KateMcd Fri 05-Jul-19 18:42:51

Have you been/are you a teacher in the UK BackforGood?

I am a teacher right now and I would say a good one. It is often stressful and I am resilient but I worry it would drain all of the energy I want to put into writing projects.

The problem with staying in Spain is that it is difficult to get a job with a good salary that isn't teaching English. Ideally I want, for now, a 9-5 job (still have time to write) that allows me to live a decent lifestyle so I can get my own place. So I feel like the UK could offer me the money I want but Spain has the lifestyle/most of my friends.

But in Spain I am really fed up with living with annoying flatmates and not being able to save much of anything. I feel quite stuck.

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iambouddica Fri 05-Jul-19 18:47:23

Teaching isn’t a 9-5 job in the UK.You won’t have time or energy left for writing if you are teaching. In many areas of the UK an NQT salary might not be enough to afford your own place straight away. Not to mention borrowing for uni fees etc.

KateMcd Fri 05-Jul-19 18:53:18

Ok I see what you mean. Other important point is that if I get a teaching qualification in the UK I can get a job teaching in an international school in Spain potentially (or several other countries). So in that way it is worth doing the degree in UK. HOWEVER, some unis are saying I need more experience in a Scottish school - when I don't really want to stay here? Ugh.

Setting the teaching aside - at the moment I don't know what else I can do. I also have a background in marketing and business but not sure how many jobs I'll find in Spain that would fit. I keep coming back to Spain overall versus getting a good job that allows me to save and have a decent life.

OP’s posts: |
Aquilla Fri 05-Jul-19 18:53:46

In a word, no.


GiraffeMomma Fri 05-Jul-19 18:54:38


I just wanted to say that I have taught EFL in Spain and taught in schools in England and the two are in no way comparable. The teaching lifestyle you have in Spain will in no way prepare you for life as a teacher in England, if you say you want a 9-5 job to prioritise writing (and I'm very jealous, I'd love to be able to write!) then teaching is most definitely not the career to be heading in to!

My vote would be stay in Spain and write from there whilst continuing to teach EFL but then I really regret leaving Spain so I may be slightly biased 🤔😂

KateMcd Fri 05-Jul-19 19:03:25

The thing is GiraffeMomma I am 27 now and wanting to become a bit more settled in terms of having my own place and being able to live the life I want (which I need money to do). Teaching EFL has been a bit of a nightmare for me this year as I have been really messed about by some academies - a huge problem. It also often constitutes a lot of commuting and scattered hours. I almost had a breakdown because of how badly I was treated this year.

I have friends that are 37 and they have been teaching English for years and still don't have their own place/are always skint. You just sort of get sucked into that lifestyle and I don't want that. But I LOVE Spain. I have 2 friends that make their whole income via remote jobs so I could look into it - not sure how rare the positions are.

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shartsi Fri 05-Jul-19 19:05:00

There is a shortage of teachers in the UK so you will easily find a job. You could save enough to have a long summer holiday in Spain to write your novel.

Cyberworrier Fri 05-Jul-19 19:40:34

I think if you’re prepared for a really tough and intense year with no time to write or for yoga in all likelihood,getting a teaching qualification is a good idea. If you view it as a steppingstone to a better job in Spain and don’t try to stay in the UK as a teacher and write.
Most primary teachers I know are at school 7.30am till 5 and do work at home. It’s not a great job for balance,healthy lifestyle or positive mental health at the moment, as a glance at Staffroom boards will tell you.
I do know people went straight from PGCE to teaching in international schools and just bypassed UK schools, apart from their placements.

BackforGood Fri 05-Jul-19 20:08:37

Have you been/are you a teacher in the UK BackforGood?

There are loads of positive things about it - I loved the job for the first 10 - 15 years. Still love teaching, but hate the rest of it. Hate the hours. Hate the pressure. Hate the lack of autonomy. Hate the ridiculous amount of pointless paperwork. Hate the lack of trust. Hate the interference at miniscule levels about ridiculous things.
I had a passion for teaching, and was doing it because I wanted to do it though. If you don't really want to be there, I can't see how you would survive now.

Ideally I want, for now, a 9-5 job (still have time to write) that allows me to live a decent lifestyle so I can get my own place.

Hmm, I don't think you'll get that in teaching. grin

timeforakinderworld Fri 05-Jul-19 20:12:26

Why don't you look at getting more Tefl qualifications and then getting a better job in Spain. What's the university teaching like there?

KateMcd Fri 05-Jul-19 22:05:40

I am passionate about teaching. I actually only did the original TESL cert to be able to earn money and travel, then discovered I genuinely loved it. I consistently get good feedback from students and their parents and still love it even when it gets stressful.

BUT writing was my passion long before that. Since I was a child, it was all I wanted and as I've had work published I think I owe to myself to give the novels a real chance. I know I would always regret it if I didn't do it.

I just had a look at doing a top up TESOL course to teach in unis and the cost is £8000 in Glasgow! Again comes back to not being affordable right now. I'll look into it more though. And need to have a further think about what the heck I can do with my life that would allow me to earn money AND live in Spain!?

OP’s posts: |
timeforakinderworld Fri 05-Jul-19 22:44:33

What's a top up Tefl course? You could do a diploma or an MA in Applied Linguistics without leaving Spain.

timeforakinderworld Fri 05-Jul-19 22:44:54

I did the latter.

KateMcd Fri 05-Jul-19 23:39:00

Can I ask where you did the degree and what kind of job prospects that has led to? Again, it may be an idea for the future but too expensive at the moment.

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timeforakinderworld Sat 06-Jul-19 10:47:59

I did it at Leicester uni (distance learning)10 years ago and now work at a European university. Since gone on to get a PhD too. I am also a writer but nowhere near good enough to make a living out of it but my job leaves me enough time to try!

CadetRousselle Sat 06-Jul-19 16:03:51

Why not do the distance PGCE for international schools from Sunderland? Or a part-time distance PGCE from Sheffield Hallam / Canterbury (off the top of my head, couple of years since I looked into it) where you have to do some weekends in the UK but can remain abroad. Not all will give you NQT (Sunderland won't) but you don't need that to work in an international school.

shartsi Sat 06-Jul-19 17:58:24

Frankly in most cases you can achieve what you want if you set your mind and sacrifice things. Think about where you want to be in 5 years time, then do whatever is necessary to get there. If it is a property in Spain then work and save the high UK wages. Write your novel in the night and weekends, do YouTube yoga etc.

GiraffeMomma Sat 06-Jul-19 18:58:38

Yeah I get the age thing, it was one of the reasons we came back. I found EFL teaching quite stressful too, very unreliable hours and we could be quite short for money some months if a lot of people messed us around.

I guess a compromise could be to come home for a year to do a PGCE then try to do your NQT year back out at an English school in Spain? I agree with a PP though, you have to really want to be a teacher in order to make the sacrifices worthwhile, so if you really want to teach then by all means go for it. You will have to accept that the summer holiday is probably the only proper chunk of time you'll get to write though (especially in the first few years) so I guess it's up to you to decide if you can write enough in that time. PPs ideas of going to uni long distance to improve your qualifications in order to get a better paid, more secure job in Spain sound good, do you think that would be feasible?

fussychica Tue 09-Jul-19 10:12:40

If you are thinking of working in an International school in Spain I would contact several them and ask whether they would consider an NQT or whether you would have to gain a couple of years experience teaching in a UK school before they would consider you. Almost all the jobs I have seen require 2 years experience post PGCE.

Both the course and teaching will require all your time and energy, you won't have time for writing novels in the first few years, especially.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

yoursworried Tue 09-Jul-19 20:27:52

I would go home and do the PGCE. I say this as an international teacher who has had a very interesting and highly paid career so far.
Tbh Spain pays badly compared to pretty much everywhere else, but you will probably find a school who would take you as an NQT. Most international schools want at least 2 years experience (5 in my current school) but Spain are always looking, and there are schools in China that will support an NQT if you wanted to try there.

Get the qualification - it's short and will open doors.

KateMcd Thu 11-Jul-19 00:07:28

Thanks for your thoughts. To clarify - I DID apply for the PGCE (or PGDE in Scotland) and was rejected. The reason given was not having enough experience in a Scottish school/reflection on what I learned (I did some, but not for long). They want me to reapply in a year when I have more experience which would mean staying in the UK. hmm

So basically - If I reapply next year, I will probably be going to the course when I am about 29 and will have to stay here on top of that to get the experience first. There is NO way I am willing to stay in the uk multiple years of my life with the way I feel atm.

My problem is - I am told I need more experience in a Scottish school but I don't want to risk losing my residency in Spain with Brexit etc AND honestly I don't want to be in the UK atm. My life is in Spain now.

I am quite upset about this whole situation - my mental health has taken quite a big downturn in the last couple of years and I am sure part of it stems from moving around so much/failed LDR relationships. The thought of moving back to UK for years before I can go to Spain again makes me feel miserable. sad I care about meeting someone I can be with and settle with in one place - all this moving is not going to help me get there is it?

I have had some good recommendations from 2 friends who have worked for an excellent organisation in Spain that seems decently paid if I did decide to go back as an option. Ahh, I'm finding this really hard.

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thethethethethe Thu 11-Jul-19 00:20:59

What kind of experience do the universities expect you to get in Scotland before they'll allow you onto the PGDE course? How can you get experience in schools without beinq qualified to teach? Are you expected to work for a very low wage as a teaching assistant for a year or 2?!!

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