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So, You're Thinking of Working in Pamplona?

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Joined: 26 May 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:33 pm    Post subject: So, You're Thinking of Working in Pamplona? Reply with quote

This post has been moderated. UJ

Well, why not? (school name removed) in the UK have a good reputation. It must be a great place to work.

Well,after working as a teacher here in Pamplona for the last four years,and talking to many others who’ve been here for much longer, and to some, probably like you, who’ve decided to come and give it a go, it seems that the answer is no, so :

What the hell are (School name removed) doing involving themselves with (College name removed)
There are only so many ways to earn a living as an English teacher in a city the size of Pamplona. A city of 200,000 inhabitants, it lies around an hour and a half inland of Donosti/San Sebastián, is not on any of the low cost airline routes, nor is it’s weather particularly pleasant.Temperatures of a roasting 35º are common in late July and August, and lows of -6 or so are common in winter with snow, sleet and plenty of‘bracing’ icy gales for you to enjoy. That said, it does have it’s charm, hence the fact that there are a decent number of Brits here that have stayed on for between two and thirty years. The options for teaching are basically private classes, language academies and the two Universities (one public, one private).

The Public Sector

Unless you have studied in Spain for the ‘Oposiciones’ (exams that enable you to become a civil servant) then you won’t be allowed to work in the public sector (the exception being six month stints each year as a Language Assistant in primary and secondary schools for around 630 euros per month). Likewise, to find work at UPNA (the public Uni) is extremely difficult, a) because jobs come up very infrequently, and b )to do more than occasional ‘short courses’ you will need to have done the Oposiciones. If you have a degree in teaching, there are ways however of gaining employment in the private schools and colleges without taking the Oposiciones.

Private Classes

A good option for short termers. A decently qualified teacher can expect to charge 20 euros per hour for individual lessons. Many teachers go self employed and make a good living working from home. You can always do it cash-in-hand of course but then you’re (expletive removed) when it comes to a pension / getting decent dole if you need it.

Language ‘Academies’

Don’t get us started on this one. Poorly paid, poor conditions and you’ll probably be wishing you’d never come here after a month. Of all the schools in Pamplona, perhaps Three Kings, Best Idiomas and ESIC are three of the better ones. Pay is around 15 euros per hour before tax and you will teach long hours in a variety of different locations, but the conditions are generally better than for others such as (School name removed) (no contracts, low,low salaries, next to nothing in the way of teaching materials, no teacher support/development) or (names removed)

What’s the story with (College name removed)?

Firstly the interview. This will be conducted by (name removed), who will spend around 45 minutes espousing the company’s history and explaining the structure at (removed). You will then be sent to see (name removed) who will sit you on a low chair while he‘explains’ the financial package and contract terms to you in very fast Spanish (he’ll claim to not speak English) while looming over you from a great height and drawing incredibly complex equations on the board.If you’re Spanish is anything less than fluent and your grasp of Spanish contract and tax laws not exactly ‘up to scratch’ then you’ll probably find yourself agreeing to sign a contract for 22 contact hours per week (You will be asked to sign a pre-contract at the time). When you actually go to sign the contract you will probably find that this has been increased to 25 hours. (some teachers are on 30+ contact hours!) Be aware that if (removed) can only give you say 20 of these hours, even when the reason is that they haven’t got the work, you will the the extra 5 hours that they have been unable to give you. These will be stored up, and you can find yourself working the summer on NO PAY, if you ‘owe’ them enough hours. (That (removed)are unable to fulfill their obligation to give you your full contract hours is a FREQUENT occurrence).

Your take-home pay will be just over the 1,000 euros per month mark,however, of this, the basic salary is only around 7-800 euros. It is this that counts towards your pension payments etc. And it is this from which your entitlement to unemployment benefit is made up when you find yourself claiming in the summer months if you don’t accept (removed) offer of poorly paid summer work with kids (the dole here is worked out as a percentage of your income). The rest of your wage is made up of vague payments that appear on your payslip as strange ‘extras’. Doing it this way benefits only (names removed) When your contract is up at the end of June, (removed) must pay you a ‘finiquito’ (end of contract payment) by law. However, there have been numerous complaints of non-payment of this ‘finiquito’.

The other issue with(removed)wages is how often they are paid late into your account. Of six payments to staff last year, four were between 2 and 4 days late. This was due to ‘problems at the bank’.

(removed) pay through CAN and other teachers paid through CAN by other schools had no problems of this ilk. Bearing in mind that (removed) have around 50 teachers working for them at any one time, all earning around 1,000 euros per month, you can calculate the amount of interest that the school is earning from not paying their teachers on time and keeping that money in the bank.

Finally, your timetable. Even if you have a car, do not admit to it. You will be given an insane timetable. Even those that don’t have a car find that their working day can start at 7am in distant outlying industrial estates such as Berriozar or Orkoyen that are served by infrequent bus services, with stops that then require some walking until you reach your first job of the day. Your next job can then be as far away as Mendillori on the other side of the city, with barely enough time to get from one to the other, followed by jobs in places like Barañain, or Mutilva. These are not even officially in Pamplona, and speaking to new teachers a month after they have begun at (removed) always brings the same response : that any free time to prepare is eaten up by the distances that they are forced to travel between jobs, leaving them exhausted and having to prepare late at night for the following day (if they have the energy to prepare at all). Classes in businesses or with kids, are then subject to unbelievable amounts of paperwork, such as reports and so on, (that you will write in your unpaid free time) you are obliged to keep records of everything that you do with the students, and you are to give the students regular exams that you will spend your free time correcting.The amount of time that you really spend working will, in reality be almost double the 25 hours in your contract, so you will be doing a lot of work for FREE.

So, I hope this leaves all of you a little bit wiser as to what you can expect from Pamplona. The choice is yours.

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