Teaching in Spain is one way to obtain a legal estancia in Spain and a good stepping stone if you’d like to live here long term. And there are no shortage of English teaching programs that provide you with a visa and stipend to make ends meet between your tapas and weekend trips! Clare Boerigter talks to us about how she decided to do the Instituto Franklin program, and what advice she has for teachers looking for a serious program with an M.A. involved.
Last October I sat down with my laptop and a notebook and Googled “Spain + auxiliares.” I was wrapping up my third season as a wildland firefighter for the Forest Service and during those summer months I’d had an epiphany: I was ready for a very different sort of adventure. Ready to trade in the remote guard station for a foreign piso, ready to drop the fire jargon and pick up Spanish again, ready to say goodbye to something I’d had the chance to explore in exchange for an explosively new experience.
I first heard about the Spanish Government’s Auxiliar de Conversación Program through a fellow firefighter; one of his college friends had spent a year in Madrid with the program – a year during which, he claimed, she worked part-time for a decent stipend as an English language assistant and “cultural ambassador” in Spanish classrooms. Investigating online, I uncovered a few other teaching programs in Spain that provided a very similar experience for young English-speakers looking to live abroad. All offered a visa and stipend in return for work as an English language assistant, but through COMO Consulting I discovered the Instituto Franklin and its Teach & Learn Masters Programs.
Instituto Franklin: Opportunities in Four M.A. Programs
The objective of the Teach & Learn in Spain Program is to offer native English speaking students the opportunity to spend a whole academic year in Spain, studying a Master’s Degree at the Universidad de Alcalá, while doing a practicum as language assistants in schools in the region of Madrid.
For me, Instituto Franklin stood out for a few reasons, the first being that it provided training and guidance through its M.A. Programs. All of the M.A. programs include a practicum portion, or between 16 and 26 hours per week working as an English conversation assistant in a school within the Comunidad de Madrid. They all also cluster their classes on Friday afternoons so students only need to commute to the Universidad de Alcalá once a week.
The M.A. Programs do vary greatly, and I spent a lot of time considering which would be the best fit for me. I would highly recommend that anyone interested in these programs take time to visit Instituto Franklin’s website and read more about each M.A. program – the specific courses, faculty and professional outcomes associated with each.
Instituto Franklin – The Basics
4 Masters Programs:
The Franklin program offers four different programs, each with a different aim. What these programs have in common is that you receive a monthly stipend depending on the hours of work you are assigned and health insurance. Take a look at this breakdown of the basics to learn about the differences:
MA PROGRAM and WEBSITE
|LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION||
|International Education||English and Spanish||Tuition remission|
|Bilingual and Multicultural Education||English and Spanish||Tuition remission|
|Learning and Teaching English as a Foreign Language||Spanish||Tuition Remission|
Courses for the LTSFL M.A., for example, are only conducted in Spanish, while the IE and BME classes are in both English and Spanish; the Teaching M.A. is offered only in English. Similarly, students in the LTSFL, IE and BME Programs receive tuition remission, a monthly stipend and health insurance; the odd man out is the Master in Teaching Program, which costs €3,500. Students in this program do have the opportunity to request a school placement in Madrid, for which they will receive a monthly stipend of €1,000 and health insurance.
Teaching Practicum and Stipend:
-18 hrs/wk = €5,800 for 10 months, or about €580/mo*
-26 hrs/wk = €7,773 for 10 months, or about €777/mo*
-Students in the Teaching M.A. are placed through a different program and have a different stipend and schedule: 16 hrs/wk = €1,000/mo, usually with Monday or Friday off
Note that this is a gross amount, and taxes may be charged according to Spanish tax regulations.
Classes for all programs are clustered on Friday afternoons at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (about a 45 minute train ride from Atocha Station).
Spanish Language Requirements:
-For the M.A. in Teaching, International Education and Bilingual and Multicultural Education, students should have at least an intermediate level of Spanish (level B1 according to DELE*).
-For the Learning and Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language/Aprendizaje y Enseñanza del Español como Lengua Extranjera M.A., students must have a C1 level shown by either test or diploma.
For more on the DELE, read Cat’s article on how to prepare for your level.
Why did I choose Instituto Franklin?
For me, Instituto Franklin stood head and shoulders above other English language assistant programs because of the master’s component. I’ve volunteer taught in various classes since I was a high schooler, but I don’t have a background in education and am not ready to handle a classroom on my own. The opportunity to get to teach in a Spanish classroom while receiving support and instruction through a program was incredibly appealing to me.
After reading a lot about Instituto Franklin’s four different M.A. programs, I decided to apply for the M.A. in International Education. As the daughter of international teachers – my parents spent 15 years teaching in Costa Rica, Peru, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia – and with my own aspirations to teach in international schools, the M.A. in International Education seemed like a fantastic fit.
I believe that this program will provide me with the training – both theoretical and hands-on – that I need to be an effective teacher, while also preparing me for the unique environment found in international schools. Not to mention the credentials. Yes, I might work slightly more and receive a smaller stipend than in some other English language assistant programs, but at the end of the year I’ll have completed a number of useful courses and achieved an M.A. in a field in which I would like to continue working. This seems like a fair trade off to me!
Stay tuned for a follow-up article on how to apply for and accept a position with the Franklin Institute’s Teach and Learn Program, brought to you by one of this year’s participants!
Clare Boerigter graduated from Grinnell College in 2014 with a B.A. in Spanish. She has studied abroad in Mexico, worked as an intern for an environmental NGO in Costa Rica and WWOOFed on a small farm in País Vasco, Spain. For more about her experiences abroad and as a wildland firefighter, visit her site at clareboerigter.com.