Are us English teachers doomed in Spain? Has the time come for us to hang up our board pens and become real teachers back home, and escape before we get caught up in this Brexit lark?
I read an interesting article in the EL Gazette titled Spain sees fall in language learning. The headline did scare me a little, but I guess it’s nothing that I didn’t already know.
I still remember having a conversation with a student a few years back who said that Spain was heading for a recession. It was just before they won the Euros in 2008, and I was quite miffed when he told me this crisis was coming our way. I didn’t actually believe him. Indeed, just a year later, things started to go a bit Pete Tong.
Demand for English has definitely fallen in some respects. A lot of people just can’t afford to send their kids to extra English classes, so they make do with the terrible level in the public schools. But, saying that, other people, mainly older teenagers, University Graduates, and public school teachers, have had to fork out and pay for English classes in order to get the required B1 or even B2 level, which they now need to graduate, or even continue in employment as is the case for public school teachers. So there has been a massive boom in people desperate to get an English qualification.
I agree with what the article says though. The bubble is definitely less bouncy than it was, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Firstly, the level of English in the public schools in Spain is still very poor. It seems that most teachers just don’t do any speaking activities with their students, which I just can’t get my head round, because speaking takes up about 70% of my classes.
As long as the level of English in public schools is low, there will always be a demand in private academies. It’ll rise and fall, depending on the state of the market, and also the need in each city and region. I heard that the average level of English in Madrid and Barcelona is B2, whereas here in Sevilla the norm now is B1, but that’s getting higher each year.
So I don’t think we’re in trouble. Spanish people will always need to improve their level of English as it’s becoming more and more important. Personally, the company I work for has grown a lot over the last few years, there have been peaks and troughs, but generally the market is buzzing and there are a lot of young students still coming through in need of gaining a qualification.
Good luck to them, that’s what I say. If only it was the same back in the U.K. where all University Graduates were made to get to a decent level in another language. Open your mind people…learning another language is excellent for you!
What do you think? Do you think the bubble has burst in Spain? Should ESL teachers start fleeing on horse and carts?