Due to the economical crash several years earlier, competition for local jobs is fierce. The fastest growing market is in tourism and international startups - and they all have one requirement in common : a high level of English. Especially in the big cities, it just doesn't cut it anymore that a local can't speak at least a medium level of English. As a result, demand for English teachers is booming.
Meet almost any Spaniard in the street and let it be known you're an English teacher (or even just an English speaker for that matter) and they will suddenly burst into the best English they can muster to impress you with their mastery of the language.
The Spanish take great pride when they speak English, and for those that don't, it's often a source of embarressment followed by effusive promises to improve.
As one of the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain), Spain took the brunt of the economic crisis which shattered many households and families and took Europe to the brink of collapse as an economic institution. With the goal of ending 2017 with unemployment below 20% and youth unemployment under 50%, Spain clearly has too many workers fighting for too few jobs. Quite simply, the need for the best CV and skill set will always inspire people to learn in order to get a foothold on any career.
Working for a foreign company in the cosmopolitan cities of Barcelona or Madrid would be unthinkable without a good level of English. You can even find jobs for mailroom clerks and McDonalds staff where on the list of requirements they simply tag on "Good level of English".
For parents, having their children speak English is a life-long gift which will help them navigate adulthood, as important as a good college fund, a big inheritance or dental work. Many parents in Spain who want the best for their kids will push them to learn, or at least push them to be taught English.
After-school classes are always popular since mum or dad can postpone the school run for another hour, safe in the knowledge that the kids are learning. It works well for the kids as they still have their classroom heads on so it's easier to carry on the classroom discipline from earlier in the day. Regardless of the timing of the classes the benefits to mum and dad are obvious.
One-to-one tutoring happens in addition to the after school classes or instead of; depending on how many extra hours are needed or can be crammed into a week. A single trusted teacher dedicating an hour just to one student will usually charge 10 to 20 Euros an hour, depending on how many hours are booked.
The biggest benefit of these private classes for the student is that the teacher can go into greater depth reinforcing the school curriculum, meaning better results in the classroom, where teacher attention is shared between 20 or 30 other pupils. The biggest benefit for the teacher is usually that it's cash-in-hand, no permits or papers needed and it's their own gig, no need to rely on a Director of Studies to allocate the job.
If cuts have to be made in a household, due to the often spoken about 'crisis,' then yes, these classes are not as essential as food on the table, yet maybe the after-school volleyball classes will get the first cut.
After all, it's pretty much a parent's obligation to send their kids out into the world of work armed with the best skills possible - and "Fluent English", in bold, at the top of the kid's CV, is a skill that will give back to both the child and the parents.