The Pros and the Cons of a BEDA Program
The BEDA Program is one of the better-known English teaching programs in Spain. It puts over 1200 native English speakers (mainly people from North America, but there are also auxiliares from the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand…) in Spanish Catholic schools to improve their English.
I have been with the BEDA Program since 2013, after working for two years in the Ministry program. With both programs, I have had the fortune of working within Madrid’s Zone A of public transportation and have had an amazing experience in both schools. Each auxiliar you meet has had an experience on a wide spectrum due to a whole host of factors. So the following pros and cons are what I have experienced as well as my friends and fellow BEDAs.
PRO: More personal contact with administration
Most people I have talked to have expressed gratitude that you can message a person in BEDA (our main three contacts are Esther, Samantha, and Julian) and receive a prompt response. It is such a relief to know who you are writing and that they are going to try and help you. In the Ministry, it felt more impersonal and you didn’t know the administration as well.
You must pay a fee (over 100€) to enter the program. The fee decreases as you continue your time in BEDA, but this is a significant cost. It secures your place in the program, shows that you are committed, and pays for the mandatory classes that must be attended throughout the year, provided by Comillas.
PRO: Know Your Fellow Auxiliares Better
Due to the mandatory meetings, you get to know people in your program more. I’m not saying this is ALWAYS a pro, but you are put in smaller groups and you will see those people consistently throughout the year. And I have to give BEDA credit, I have made some great friends from those meetings.
PRO, then CON: Four-Year Limit
In the Ministry, there is a two-year cap on Madrid. Many people naturally move to the BEDA program after their time in the Ministry as they want to stay in Madrid. BEDA used to be unlimited in the number of years you could stay in the program. As of this year though, there is now a limit of two years in one school (which sucks when the school is great) but you have up to four years in the program. This change is due to new laws that have been established.
CON: Mandatory Meetings
Those mandatory meetings I told you about before. They can be helpful but there is usually a two-day meeting in October that cuts into your Saturday. From what I can tell, first-years usually have meetings on Fridays while the Repeats have meetings in the afternoon. This is not ideal after a day of working and possibly interferes with private classes!
PRO: School Locations
I haven’t met any auxiliares outside of Zone A. I know there are schools in Pozuelo, El Pardo, near the airport, and in the outskirts but most auxiliares don’t seem to be too far out.
CON: Less Money, More Hours
We work for less money, more hours, and pay taxes. The Ministry, in Madrid at least, pays 1000€ for sixteen hours and you automatically get Monday or Friday off. In BEDA, the minimum is 18 hours and paid less than 900€, and you may have to work all five days. I am fully aware that to many people, this complaint sounds ridiculous.
It’s worth talking to BEDA auxiliares to see how their experiences differed. If you want to continue in Madrid and have already done your two years in the Ministry, I would recommend that you apply for the BEDA program!
Discover useful tips for English teachers like transport and accommodation guides in Madrid, get our ebook here: https://goo.gl/Rm7PSO