ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) – Teachers from Spain have arrived in Elgin as part of the Texas-Spain Visiting International Program.

There are five teachers in all that made the journey, traveling from all over Spain.

“I am teaching first grade, and I am teaching reading and writing and Spanish for two groups of 24 kids,” said Maria Gallego-Gil, who made the move from Madrid.

“I am teaching here in 2nd grade in reading, writing, social studies, and science in Spanish,” said Ruben Jimenez who is returning to Texas to teach for a second time.

School districts across Central Texas have been dealing with teacher shortages, Al Rodriguez, assistant superintendent with Elgin ISD, says bringing in teachers from overseas can help fill critical positions.

“I think it is a necessity, the reality of the situation is that for the last couple of decades the pipeline for teachers coming into the profession has been dwindling,” said Rodriguez. “The great thing about this program is these are teachers, they aren’t newbies right out of college. These are veteran teachers that are coming to us.”

The teachers have agreed to teach in the district for three years. They will support Bilingual and English as a Second Language educational programs in grades K-2.

Both teachers are excited, but they have noticed the differences between teaching in the U.S. and Spain.

“The salaries here are higher than in Spain, but the cost of living is also higher here,” said Jimenez.

Elgin ISD is one of only 13 school districts in Texas participating in the program this year. The
program is a partnership between schools across the state, the Spanish Ministry of Education
and Region 13 Education Service Center.

To be selected, teachers must have at least two years experience.