After applying and waiting and going through all the estados you’ve finally made it. You have your region assignment and you’ve received your Carta de Nombremiento. Now what do you do?
Note: There are a few provinces/areas that will only send it via mail while others send it via email, and others that send it through both ways. If you get it via email start the visa and acceptance process immediately – don’t wait for a physical copy.
At least in Andalucia we got three papers.
The first looks like this and tells you your school name. It goes over your duties and the job description – how much you’ll be paid and when you work. The huge box at the bottom is for you to sign your name- so think of this one as a sort of contract.
The second page looks like this and is basically an information sheet of what you need to do.
The final page looks like this. It basically has all the good information for the visa and an electronic signature at the bottom. This itself is the Carta and this is the paper the consulates want for the visa.
What you do:
- Print the “contract page” (#1) out twice, fill it out and sign it with the same signature in your passport. Some people were getting emails about how their signatures didn’t match so pay attention to your signature – particularly if your passport is old/signature has changed.
- If you’ve lived in Spain you’ll need to attach an extra certificate showing you haven’t committed crimes.
- Make two photocopies of the first page of your passport
You send these things to the address provided. Look carefully for a deadline (on page #2) – in this case we had until June 15th to physically (not email) send this all to Spain.
At the bottom of this same page is an email address for if you want to renounce your position.
Deciphering Your School
First take a look at the name: C.E.PR. Virgen de la Villa, I.E.S. Fernando III, C.E.I.P Alcalde Jiménez Ruiz for example.
Your first clue is the abbreviation at the beginning.
EI – Centro Infantil. Preschool/nursery school. (Guessing around 2.5-5 years old)
CEIP – Centro Infantil y Primaria. An elementary/primary school with preschool (infantil)
IES – Instituto de Enseñaza Secundaria. A high school that offers the 4 required years, trade school (FP Formación profesional) and pre-college options (baccalaureate = +2 years_
ESO – Centro de Educacion Secundaria Obligatoria. High school (4 mandatory years)
EOI – Escuala Oficial de Idiomas. Adult language school.
CEO – Center for Education specifically in the oeste – west? Or Catalan “Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió” or a name specific towns might use for occupational training. Sorry I can’t get a straight answer.
CEPR – Colegio de Educación Primaria. Elementary school, does not include infantil. (6-12 years)
CP –Colegio Publico. Some offer infantil and primary but I can’t get a 100% straight answer on this.
INS– IES but in Catalan? High school/trade school.
Colegio… – Some of these seem to be a community colleges but it could just be the name of the school.
IESO – Instituto de Educación Secundaria Obligatoria. Like the ESO but the non mandatory last 2 years of high school.
…. de los Remedios- Remedial school, seems to offer all ages (infantil to trade school)
Help! Multiple Schools??! It seems a lot of people who are assigned multiple schools panic a little. You will probably alternate by week, not by day. If this seems crazy just think – some teachers are assigned 5 schools, 1 for every day of the week in South Korea.
Investigating Your School
Not only is cyberstalking your school fun, it helps for you to you to get an idea of the students and facilities. Also you might find any past auxiliares who taught there. Here are some tips for cyberstalking.
Besides a simple google search
- Find the official school website if you can.
- Look for other resources like a blog search
- infoidiomas.com seems to have specific information on some school’s facilities (like what kind of technology or gym options)
- Don’t forget to put quotation marks around the name so it searches only full name
- Be sure you’re looking at the right school -add the city name or “escuela”
Second search specific sites:
- Search youtube specifically. You might find a tour of the school or projects students have made. This gives you an idea of any uniforms/student life/student language levels. Also your school might have their own youtube channel – mine does but all it has is a bunch of favorited minecraft videos. Who knows what you’ll come up with!
- Facebook – see if there is a page or if an employee has marked themselves as working there
- Hashtags on Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr – you never know if the last teacher who worked there had social media.
Take a look at the school. This should be easy with google maps.
- Look at it from space. Pay attention to how big it looks and what the general campus looks like. Multiple soccer fields clues you in that this could be a big school.
- Drop the little man on the street to go into Google Street View. Circumnavigate around your school and see what you can see. Now it really becomes more obvious how big the school is based on how many stories it is. Mine looks large from above but those are mostly apartment blocks surrounding it. It’s only 2 stories.
Get a real person
Finally go deep and see if you can find the last teacher. Hit control+F to search for the school’s name.
Contacting Your School
It’s good form to try to contact your school and introduce yourself. If you’re lucky they might even contact you first.
The problem is that you are usually given a generic email. So if each school in the country is assigned a number – it’s just a generic school-wide email system like firstname.lastname@example.org. You can try this email and see if someone gets back to you or you can try to get an email off your school’s webpage.
Ideas of what to include in your email:
- Skills – experience teaching or any life experience that is relevant
- What was your major in school – how could that be helpful to teaching?
- Culture experience – have you ever traveled/lived abroad?
- Do you know Spanish? How much? If not, are you currently studying it?
- Sign off saying how excited you are to meet the students and work at their school
Keep it short and sweet because you’re about to inundate them with questions.
Things you might want to know before you get there:
- “Can you tell me a little about the school?” or if you’ve learned a lot from cyberstalking then any specific questions you have about the school.
- “What age groups will I be working with” every age? Or will you be working with just the youngin’s or just the older kids.
- “Will I teach English or other subjects?” More than likely will you be assisting with PE/Science/Trade school things. I was told they don’t like to have auxiliares in English classes and really didn’t like math. Who knows.
- Personally I love to teach with powerpoint and technology (you can make some amazing games and keep students really entertained). So it was really important to me to know if I had access to overhead projectors and powerpoint. So I asked about it.
- If you care you can ask about class size, uniforms, ages, the community/neighborhood or anything else you want to know.
To be nice don’t ask more questions than you provided information snippets about yourself.
If you don’t get an email back ever don’t be surprised. You can always try again or just live the adventure.
Make your visa appointment or begin getting documents together for your visa. As soon as you have the carta you are able to apply.