5 types of ESL boss

If you’ve been teaching a while you will definitely have seen bosses of all shapes and sizes. Some are great and some are the embodiment of  your nightmares.

Here are 5 types that we have seen in our teaching exploits across Spain (this is all tongue in cheek of course):

The Tyrant

It is 8 am in the morning and you’ve been asked to do some ghastly one on one or a business class a hundred miles away from your academy. As you walk into the academy all hell breaks loose as you are bombarded with the type of abuse that gets your dog taken off you by the RSPCA.

You are already juggling a million teaching responsibilities but the Tyrant doesn’t care; he has money to make and teachers’ lives to make difficult and you are in his sights.

You entered his domain and the silver back is angry! No one knows how he became so tyrannical, or why everything has to go through him before it gets done, but that is the way it is and like it or lump it, unless you want his curses to wake you up and make you realise what a nightmare you’ve found yourself in.

The Diamond

Well organised, friendly, reliable, a decent human being, a good man manager and the list goes on and on. Many bosses think they are these things, or strive to be, but will invariably fall into one of the other types mentioned, as most excellent bosses don’t even know they are so good, they just think they are doing it the way it should be done and that respect and doing a damn fine job are part and parcel of running a business.

We need these types of bosses, as in some places they are in very short supply, and can make the difference between a living hell and the finest experience of your life. In fact, these bosses are like shiny Pokemon cards, super rare, and not worth trading for anything.

The Artifact

“DICTATION DICTATION DICTATION. Children should only study grammar; it worked for me and it will work for them”.

After escaping from the museum of teaching antiquities this boss somehow got the money together to buy an academy and fooled you into coming to teach there. An oracle of nonsense, clinging to his one rigid teaching method that has gone unchanged since first carved into rock all those years  ago.

Teaching in this environment can be a disaster for teacher and student a like. There is no doubt that you start to feel like you are going backwards and becoming a worse teacher for being there… you may even be becoming the Artifact yourself. After all:

”He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.”

The Teacher vs The Businessman

This guy is not so bad. He gets it: life as a teacher is hard and he wants to be there on the front line with you, following by example. However, you don’t get paid on time and his office is just a mess of paper and blue-tack. Man management has gone out of the window and whenever you need help or advice he is in a classroom somewhere, leading from the front, despite chaos at the back.

There is a lot more to running an academy then just teaching and striking a balance is always a good idea.

This leads me onto the businessman boss. The enemy of the teacher boss, this guy is in it for the profit, mercilessly squeezing every penny he can out of you and the system. He is all that is wrong with said system, the money grubber, who puts teaching last and MONEY MONEY MONEY first.

The Sleaze


Wretched old coots abound in Spain and they love to walk the line between playing it safe and unnerving young female teachers who find themselves alone in the car after a lift back from a lesson.

I was once told, after requiring a lift to a further away destination than normal, that I was ruining the boss’s and  a young teacher’s ‘private time’ to which an awkward laugh burst forth from said teacher’s mouth, then a sigh of defeat and introspective turmoil. She was promoted soon after, so I guess all’s well that ends well.


Finding a half decent boss in Spain can be a chore and for many a simple roll of the dice. I don’t know what possesses a person to open an academy and become some of the demons mentioned above but perhaps they weren’t always like that and the ever changing teaching world just got the better of them.

 In my opinion, support and guidance is always needed in the classroom, and outside of it, but some bosses simply don’t care, some bosses dither and writhe and others are pure diamonds worth coming back for year after year. They really do make or a break a school, they are the face, the heart and the soul of it all and ultimately it starts with them and it ends with them.

Add some more types in the comments and if you like our stuff then subscribe.


Author: Teaching in Spain

Two teachers who like to write about travelling, and you guessed it, teaching. One of us is from England and one of us from Greece. If you like what we write then subscribe and enjoy!

3 thoughts on “5 types of ESL boss”

  1. Teachers should be treated as internal clients/suppliers. Always remember the “boss” needs you. You are their bread and butter. Without you, they would be lost. My advice, make sure you get on well with your clients/students.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s