Why I chose Teach & Learn
With my Italian, French and Spanish skills sitting in the back of my head I thought there is no better way to use these languages than to live in Europe! While in Mokpo, South Korea, I told my Spanish club that Spain was my next destination. One of the members mentioned this program. I thought “Well, hell this might be a good idea. I can enjoy Spain and get a Masters degree at the same time!”
I spent weeks looking into programs like BEDA, Auxiliary, UCETAM, and a couple of other options and made list of pros & cons of each. As an American it’s very difficult to get a work visa in Europe, but Spain has government funded programs for Native English Speakers. This meant a way to live in Europe legally. I decided that I would apply for the Masters Program and as a backup, apply to UCETAM (in case I wasn’t accepted). There were also 3 payment options that all had different application deadlines.
After scouring the internet reading all the information out there concerning this program I decided to do the “early bird” payment option B. I’ll explain a bit as to why I settled on this option.
The pro: No tuition, but you still have to pay the application fee and deposit.
The cons: You are placed in a private school with 18-25 hours a week of teaching. If you’ve ever worked in a private school, you’ll know that the workload is piled on. Usually you’ll have to prepare multiple lesson plans, and you are expected to be in charge of your own classes. You will also be paid a 600-800 Euro monthly stipend. Which, in Madrid, is impossible to survive off of.
The pros: You are placed in a Comunidad public school around Madrid. You receive a 1000 Euro monthly stipend for 16 “working” hours a week. I say “working” because you are an assistant, which I’ll explain what that entails later on.
The con: You must pay tuition for the program.
The classes at Instituto Franklin
There are different programs to choose from within Teach and Learn, but I am in the International Education Masters. I hopped back and forth between this masters and the bilingual and multicultural education, but in the end I felt that the international Ed would look nicer on my resume when I start applying for international schools.
In the program you get a new course each month. You are divided into groups, and the people in your group will be with you throughout the entire track. Classes are every Friday from 3:30-8:30 and they are taught in either Spanish or English.
The workload depends on the course, and the professor. For example, my last class my final grade was a 10+ and we had no readings and no homework. The class I have no I read 60+ pages a week, weekly forum discussions, presentations, etc… I find myself hanging out at Starbucks with my fellow group members to get the work done twice a week.
In order to pass and get your degree you must also make a portfolio and either a research paper or curriculum design of 30-50 pages. There is one thing to keep in mind, this Masters is not an MA degree. In Europe there are two kinds of masters, Masters propio and masters oficial. This is the masters propio which is like a certification that you are a master in this field. That means you can’t get a doctorate with just these courses. You would need to see if another degree will accept the credits in order to do what ever courses you still need for an MA. That being said, I’m not interested in getting a doctorate. For me, a master in this field is enough to give me the practical skills I’m looking for.
While I am not enjoying living in Madrid, or my job, I can honestly say that I don’t regret my decision. So far I’m enjoying the Master’s program. The school is beautiful. The staff is super nice and helpful, and Alcala is a great city with many things to see and do. The fact that the Universidad de Alcala de Henares is one of only 5 UNESCO schools in the world is quite impressive and makes me feel like I’m a part of something special. I’m hopeful for what the rest of the year has in store and the opportunities it may bring.