Working for Us
Who We Are
Chester was founded in 1986 and has grown to become one of Madrid’s most reputable English academies. With two purpose-built centres located in the attractive Salamanca district, Chester currently employs a teaching staff of twenty-eight to give classes to well over a thousand students of all ages, backgrounds and levels. The variety of the student base is reflected by the diversity of the courses which Chester offers, ranging from children’s groups to Cambridge Exam preparation courses.
From the outset, much of Chester’s success has been due not only to its excellent teaching standards, but also the level of support and personal attention given to our students. This in turn has helped to foster a warm and friendly atmosphere more characteristic of a much smaller school. Indeed, many teachers cite this as a major plus point of working for us.
Types of Classes
English as a second language has become increasingly important in Spain, to the point where it is a pre-requisite for many job applications. Many state schools in Madrid are also implementing bilingual programmes. Consequently, Chester provides a broad range of courses to cater for as many needs as possible.
- General courses for adults – 8 levels, from Beginner to Proficiency
- General courses for children – 7-14 years of age, divided into 9 levels
- Intensive courses for adults
- Cambridge Exam preparation courses
- Crash courses (highly intensive one-to-one courses)
- Telephone classes
- In-company classes (normally located close to Chester)
- Summer intensive courses for children
In our commitment to providing the best possible courses for our students and the best working conditions for our staff, Chester runs a full in-house training programme for all teachers. Fortnightly sessions on a wide-ranging series of topics are led by senior staff, with the main aim of ensuring that all lessons are of a similarly high standard.
Chester also has an observation programme for teachers. All teachers are observed once a term by a Director of Studies, with feedback aimed at giving guidance and thus improving teaching performance. We also ensure that all staff members have the chance to observe their peers at least once a term, as this often provides an excellent source of new ideas.
Chester has two centres, situated 10 minutes’ walk from one another. Both centres have all the resources you would expect from a modern language school.
All classrooms are fully air-conditioned and are equipped with whiteboards and laptop computers for audiovisual purposes and internet connection.
Each school has its own staffroom with PC’s with internet access. All computers are linked to a printer/photocopier. The staffrooms are stocked with the stationery necessary for preparing lessons. All teachers are provided with their own lockers for books and materials. Each staffroom has a kettle, a microwave and a fridge.
Chester has created files of supplementary lesson plans for almost every course book currently in use in the school. Aside from being an extremely useful resource in its own right, this material also provides a template from which teachers can create their own material. Those teachers with a particular interest in materials development may be invited to collaborate in preparing new files when necessary. In addition, both centres have extensive libraries of supplementary classroom material, as well as a wide range of books on teaching theory and practice.
We make a big effort to block our teachers’ hours and also to give them as few level changes as possible. We also try to make sure that teachers are working with levels and ages that they have experience of.
Although we normally have three teachers teaching mornings and early afternoons, the majority of our teachers work in the afternoons and evenings.
Here are examples of the two typical types of timetables which Chester teachers have.
Timetable A (Week 1 & Week 2) is a sample timetable showing a typical Monday to Thursday + every second Saturday teaching schedule. Our teachers can expect to have a 3 day weekend every second week as indicated.
Timetable B is a sample timetable showing a typical Monday-Friday teaching schedule.
Note: Timetables above are representative. Real timetables may vary.
Chester offers highly competitive conditions, tailored on an individual basis to take into account variables such as qualifications and previous teaching experience of different ages, levels and types of classes. Teachers are expected to work up to 25 contact hours per week, although this figure increases to 28 hours should a teacher be required to substitute a colleague. Requests for extra hours are taken into account by the management and are met wherever possible.
Other benefits include:
- Three weeks paid holidays as well as local and national holidays.
- Restaurant meal vouchers for teachers who do overtime and teach more than five and a half hours on any given day.
- Grants for Spanish classes.
- Grants and loans for teachers doing the DELTA.