Carol Hurley  Position held at the school: EFL teacher           From: 7/1/16 to 24/6/16

Living and working in Bailen    

  • The town 

A great opportunity to live in a ‘non-tourist’ location and experience the workings of an everyday Andalusian town. It’s a small and close community. The people are friendly and I’ve felt at home since day one.

  • Getting around 

Bailen is small enough to get around on foot. Travelling further afield by public transport can be a little challenging (in terms of routes, times and frequency) but Bailen does benefit from having a bus station and with a bit of careful planning many neighbouring villages, towns and cities can be reached.

  • Support regarding living everyday in Bailen 

Bailen is an easy town to live in. Once you’ve adapted to Spanish opening times, there are plenty of shops to cater for everyday requirements – including a very good supermarket close to the school. There are several banks within the town and assistance can be sought with opening an account if needed.

  • Finding a flat 

There are a reasonable number of flats to rent within the town. I would recommend waiting until you’re here so that you can view and choose a property you feel most comfortable in (even if this means staying in one of the low cost hotels for a day or two.) School colleagues can be helpful in recommending properties and assisting with viewings if needed.

  • The school 

A very pleasant, bright, clean and modern building to work in.

  • Materials and resources 

Classrooms have all the equipment you need to teach. There is a good internet connection and a well-stocked staffroom of books and teaching support material.

  • The staff 

The colleagues I have worked with – management, teaching and office, have been both helpful and welcoming. A small and pleasant team of professional people.

  • Students/Classes/Levels

A good mix of ages (children, teenagers and adults), levels and exam/non-examination classes. Most students are local and many of the children have school friends and siblings attending the school.

  • Teacher Training/help to grow professionally 

Although only here for 6 months I’ve had the opportunity to attend a regional conference (with some interesting guest speakers) and a voice care session. The school also encourages the sharing of ideas and good practice between teachers through regular staff meetings.

  • The cost of living. How did you manage moneywise with food, rent, travelling and going out? 

I have found my wage to be more than adequate to support myself comfortably whilst here (this includes bus fares to visit places at the weekend and a couple of trips away during holiday periods.) Compared to the UK the cost of living is considerably lower. It’s good to remember that utility bills need to be budgeted for (and any possible discount you can negotiate on your rent could help towards this.)

  • Health cover 

I have only had need of the local pharmacy whilst living here but the school ensures its staff are all officially registered with the local authorities.

  • Social life, meeting people, blending in. 

As in most Spanish towns there are lots of cafes and bars in Bailen. I made a point of regularly taking morning coffee at one of them before going to work and found this to be a good way to initially integrate with local people. Many of the children you teach recognize you and are eager to both acknowledge you and introduce you to their families and friends. Although a small town, throughout the year there are many street carnivals and festivals taking place which are interesting to experience. There is also a ‘Casa de la Cultura’ (a small Arts Centre) which has a programme of music/performance events throughout the year and some bars have ‘band/musical’ evenings too. There is also a local football stadium and several gyms in town if of interest.

  • What made you decide to stay for another year/leave the job? 

My contract was for 6 months to cover a short term vacancy at the school. Although invited to stay for another academic year, current commitments back home prevented me from doing so on this occasion.

  • What recommendations would you give to someone coming to work at the school and live in Bailen?

Make the most of the experience and your time here! If you don’t have your own transport, visit the bus station early on and check out the times and places you can visit during your weekends off – some really interesting towns and cities are within reach as well as some pretty little villages and surrounding countryside. Get out and watch the street festivals, experience the cuisine and the regional culture – the people in Bailen are friendly and welcoming. Make the most of working in a good quality school, take up any opportunities to attend conferences or training sessions, to exchange ideas with others and develop.

 

 

Amy Scrimgeour  EFL TEACHER November 2015 to June 2016

– I live in Andujar and work in Bailen two days a week. Transport is easy between the two towns as I either get a lift or take the bus which takes half an hour.

-The School is close to the bus station and the town centre. It’s a modern building with bright, fully equipped classrooms.

-The staff are incredibly supportive and friendly, if you have a problem they’re quick to help and offer advice. We usually have lunch together which is a nice way to relax and get to know each other. It’s easy to make friends here and the staff socialise with each other at the weekend.

– I teach a variety of ages and levels which keeps things interesting. They all follow a course book but I supplement with resources from the staff room. The students are lovely, they are very sweet and eager to please.

-I’ve really enjoyed the training on offer with ECI, I have been to three ELT conferences this year. It’s a great way of learning new things and getting ideas for the classroom. There are also internal sessions which are great and particularly helpful for exam groups.

-The cost of living is much lower than back home and I manage to save each month as well as go on regular weekend trips.

I’ve loved teaching here, working with a variety of levels has broadened my experience and there are plenty of opportunities for professional development. Everyone is super friendly and it’s great working in such a collaborative and supportive environment. If I wasn’t returning to the UK to do a PGCE I would definitely stay longer.

 

Graham Byers   EFL TEACHER September 2011 to June 2014 

The town

A small market town, quiet but with a thriving tapas culture.

Getting around

Bailen is on all the main motorways and with a regular bus service to Jaén and other nearby towns.

Support living everyday in Bailen

The directors help in any way they can including interpreting and even finding a lawyer.

Finding a flat

The school has a large number of contacts in the town and a suitable flat at a low rent is easy to find.

The school

A lively but serious atmosphere.

Materials and Resources

Plenty, IWBs and computers in all rooms, wifi access and a very good range of resource books make lesson planning easier.

Teacher Training/help to grow professionally

Teachers are encouraged to develop their skills. Regular workshops and an annual conference help you to keep up to date. Teachers showing an interest in the DELTA will find plenty of materials and aid from experienced teachers.

The cost of living

Rent and nights out are cheap. Utilities can be expensive.

Health cover

You get a health security card and full access to the Spanish Health Service  and an annual health check-up if you want.

Social life, meeting people, blending in

Bailenenses are friendly people and there is a lively night life of tapas, bars, pubs and discos.

What made you decide to stay for another year/leave the job?

I stayed because it was a great place to work. I left because I had to return to London.

What recommendations would you give to someone coming to work at the school and live in Bailen?

It´s not a big city, but if you get out and about, you can have a great time here getting to know Andalucia. There´s skiing not far and national parks if you like the outdoor life, and cities like Granada, Jaén and Córdoba are only an hour away.

 

LEANNE SANCHEZ –   EFL TEACHER September 2012 to June 2013 

If you are reading this and wondering if ECI Idiomas Bailen is a great and legitimate school to work for then I can honestly say you will be in safe and professional hands. Being in a small school creates a warm, welcoming environment where you will not be a cog in a massive school and you can pursue continual professional development in a secure and support environment with up to date technology, terrific staff as well as great parents and students. Feel free to contact me at leannesanchez1971@hotmail.com and good luck!

The town

No complaints apart from the fact that the buses can be late/not regular, but there isn´t much you can do about that.

Support living everyday in Bailen

Excellent

Finding a flat

Excellent. I had literally 1-2 days to find one and found a 3 floor house for 275 €.

The school

No complaints. Had steep learning curve with doing CAMBRIDGE EXAMS for the first time but senior teachers were amazing and always dropped what they were doing to help.

Materials and Resources

Excellent. Having the internet is great but the staff are the most useful resource.

The staff

Maria (DOS/Director) was brilliant with weekly planning also. The secretary is extremely helpful and very patient with my bad Spanish.

Teacher Training/Help to grow professionally

Lots of opportunities, there was also the seminar in Seville and also weekly meetings altogether. Any time I had a problem everyone helped.

The cost of living

Ok. Everyday prices are reasonable.

Health cover

ECI provided great support, including registration with the local doctors´surgery shortly after arrival.

Social life, meeting people, blending in

Good. Going out with other teachers from school and sometimes meeting adult students. People in general are friendly.

What made you decide to stay for another year/leave the job?

I decided to leave due to personal issues.

Recommendations to someone coming to work at the school and live in Bailen

Get away at weekends and visit nearby cities like: Jaén, Ubeda, Baeza, Granada, Córdoba etc…

 

Heather Martin – EFL Teacher from November 2012 to June 2013 

I worked at el centro de inglés Bailen part-time from November 2012-June 2013 whilst also working in the Andújar centre. I had a great experience there and would highly recommend it.  

I taught young learners ranging in age from 7-13 at elementary level and adults from pre-intermediate to advanced level.  Students were highly motivated and there was a big focus on Cambridge, particularly KET, PET, First and CAE.

The school has a great bank of resources available to make lesson planning easy and professional development such as DELTA is also encouraged.  Regular training sessions were also offered; customised to the needs of the teachers.

The management is friendly, professional and highly approachable.  If I ever had any issues, which was rare, I had no problem asking them for advice

The other teachers were very helpful and we worked well as a team. 

IWBs were available in the school and this greatly enhanced the learning experience for the students.  It made the learning process much more interactive and motivating for them.

The town itself is a very typical Spanish town, ideal if you want to learn Spanish as not much English is spoken locally.  Transport options are limited but available.

I only left as I was offered a position in the Middle East with a very attractive salary which was just too good to turn down!

Heather, Scotland

 

SIMI SANDHU – EFL TEACHER September 2013 to June 2014 

ECI Bailen is a professional academy that feels like home.  The school is run by the most supportive, fair and knowledgeable team around.  If I didn’t have to leave to pursue further studies I would have easily stayed indefinitely. I was fortunate enough to work at ECI Bailen and learn an incredible amount about teaching, and my own development was always encouraged.  I was taken to a National conference on teaching, an invaluable experience- I promise!  We also had the opportunity to attend a number of workshops outside of the school, Cambridge exam and Trinity exam workshops to name a few.
It is a small school and a small team, which I personally found to be ideal, as there was a nice amount of one to one time and feedback with the DoS. I would need another page of this testimonial to talk about the students, in short – they were incredible to teach.
Bailen is a very small town, and can be very quiet during the winter months, so if you don’t have a car it might feel smaller.  However, it is a lovely social little town and the people are very welcoming.   There are buses to Cordoba, Malaga, Granada and Sevilla, and stunning Ubeda and Baeza are ridiculously close.  I went away for day/weekend trips quite often without a problem.
Working for ECI Bailen has given me wonderful memories and a stack of teaching knowledge – if you’re looking for peace of mind with an employer, fairness and a genuinely lovely team – this is the place.

Good Luck!

Simi Sandhu

Please do not hesitate to contact me about the academy if you have any specific questions.
teacher.simi@gmail.com, if you would like to talk to me, I will send my telephone number via email.

 

The town:

Very small but easy access to Linares and Jaén. Good bars, good tapas. Not a lot of vegetarian food but it´s ok.

Support living everyday in Bailen:

I was personally supported by DOS and landlady. The people are very friendly.

Finding a flat:

Easy, with the help of DOS I found one withing 24 hrs. Lots of landlords desperate for renters. Get a good deal! If they advertise 350 € , ask for 300 €

The school:

Amazing !!! plenty of resources, small, cosy, friendly, organised, clean.

The staff:

Fantastic! Couldn´t have worked with better people. So much support, great teachers. I learned an incredible amount.

Teacher training/help to grow professionally:

A lot of training was given, lots of opportunities, very useful workshops. The DOS and senior teachers were great mentors.

Cost of living:

Cheap, great social  life

Health cover:

Great.

Recommendations to someone coming to live in Bailen:

The best bars are close to the Palmeras. Bar Andujar has great tapas and an amazing staff. Has wifi

Franky´s on the palmeras has wifi.

The only café with wifi is open from 7 am – 12/1 pm. It is at the end of the high street, close to Hello Kitty shop.

Ask your landlord for a legal contract and make sure the deposit is stated there as paid.

Michael Griggs – EFL TEACHER September 2013 to December 2013 

The town

Bailen is small and relatively quiet, but the friendliness of the people make it a fun and easy place in which to live.

Getting around

Walking around the town is easy and safe, although getting to other towns requires planning due to limited bus services and no rail station.

Support regarding living everyday in Bailen

Excellent support was provided from ECI staff about everyday practicalities, making the move to Bailen very easy to manage.

Finding a flat

The academy´s director, Maria, very kindly sacrificed a lot of her own time to arrange flat viewings and to meet prospective landlords. This support was incredibly generous and I was very graeful for this help

The school

The school has a well-deserved reputation locally, and the students are able to enjoy clean, modern, well-equipped classrooms, including the latest in modern technology.

Materials and Resources

Unlimited materials and resources to support the teachers were/are available fully, in addition to the textbooks themselves. Collectively, this provides endless opportunities to make the lesson preparation simple.

The staff

The whole staff were/are extremely helpful, and quick to resolve any small issues that arose.

Students/Classes/Levels

The students at ECI BAILEN are generally friendly, curious and attentive. Classes are extremely varied and teachers can expect a huge range of different ages/levels/abilities within their timetables.

Teacher Training

Opportunities for teacher development are offered regularly at ECI BAILEN, including participation in the excellent annual ACEIA conference.

The cost of living

In Bailen, renting a good quality flat  is relatively cheap, and everyday prices are reasonable.

Health cover

ECI BAILEN provided great support, including registration with the local doctor´s surgery shortly after arrival.

Social life, meeting people, blending in

In Bailen, there are very few other Brits, therefore a teacher´s social life often involves other teachers with whom one works, or possibly some adult students (good for improving your Spanish)

What made you decide to stay for another year/leave the job?

I left my position because I don´t consider myself a strong YL teacher, and the local demand for English lessons attracted a very large number of five, six and seven year old students. This resulted in a very high percentage of my timetable being dedicated towards YLs.

Recommendations

Enjoy the low cost of living!!

Become familiar with local bus times, in order to make the most of opportunities to visit places like Córdoba, Granada, Úbeda and Sevilla.

 

Ieva Sadzevicuite –  EFL teacher September 2013 to present 

The English academy is situated almost in the heart of the town centre, near the bus station too. You always will be supported and provided with new material. The school has got an enormous amount or resources that are available at all times to use. Also, it encourages your professional development.

Every day over 5 lessons are held for learners of English at all levels from elementary to proficiency. The classrooms are spacious, modern and bright with natural light in abundance. They are heated in winter and air-conditioned in summer.

Classes with 8 students MAXIMUM! The groups ages range from 4 years old to adults, so be ready to teach different levels and ages. Students are willing to learn English and very friendly. This makes the job very enjoyable and the days flow easily.

All teachers are professional and friendly. All of them have CELTA certification. The working environment is friendly and helpful. Some weekends we organize barbecues and we get together. It is a multicultural workplace so you will have a pleasure to meet people from different countries and cultures.

Bailen is a town in the province of Jaen, Spain. It is a small town. The nearest cities are Jaen, Cordoba and Granada. There are some gyms and dancing schools. There is theatre. So at the weekends you can go and see the performances.

The living level is very cheap if you compare it with bigger cities. You may rent a big flay just for 250 euros. Utility bills could  probably cost around 50 euros. Maybe, just in winter electricity bills are a bit bigger. You don’t spend any money for transport. All places you can reach via walking.

It has got quite good connections with other places. So, at the weekend you can get the bus and go to Jaen, Cordoba and Granada. Or just enjoy the nice weather in terrace and have tapas with beer.

If you are looking for a calm place and professional school. It is the right place!
Please contact me if you want to ask questions. My email is evasad04@yahoo.com