Viva Espana! For the heck of it

17th November 2006 at 00:00
Less money, more sangria. Jeremy Dean gives up a UK job to become Se$or Teacher

"You've got a job where?" That was the most common response from friends and colleagues when my wife and I told them we were applying for jobs in a Spanish primary school. The question was closely followed by combinations of "You luckyjammycrazy buggerssodsbastards!" and once they had calmed (and in some cases sat) down, they moved on to variations of "All that sunseasandsangriasardines..."

It seemed as if everything good in Espa$a began with the letter "S".

So many promises to visit were made that we began to wonder if we should forget the teaching contracts and open up a BB with an attached taxitour business and deck-chair hire on the side. Everyone had a good reason for us to go.

But it was only when we had got the offers of jobs that we realised that we hadn't answered the BIG question ourselves. Why? Up until that moment, it was quite possible to see the whole thing as a touch of mid-life crisis mixed in with a small bottle of San Miguel. It would be a "bit of a laugh"

to apply. "For the money" is not a good reason to go and teach in Spain.

(Unless you don't like money, that is). I remember "crossing the threshold", filling in multiple copies of forms for the Department for Education and Skills to prove that I was worthy of a pay-rise. How my friends in industry and business laughed. Now, although my raised salary obviously wasn't going to keep me here, it made me stop and think. Compared to the UK, I was going to be a pauper in Spain.

So why did I want to teach in Spain? Strangely enough, it was the one question we hadn't been asked in interview. I was sure I'd prepared a reply, I just couldn't remember what it was. We had talked about it for so long it had just become part of what we were "going to do'"I "at some point"I "in the future"I We'd even started learning Spanish five or so years ago So when we told our Spanish conversation tutor the news that we were on our way to the homeland she left nearly 10 years ago. Her response?

"You've got a job where?"

Jeremy Dean and his wife have given up their jobs teaching in the UK to begin two-year contracts in Spain. We'll be hearing from him againI

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