Working "under the table" may be the only option.
Bar jobs, teaching english, and actually going up to the hostel manager (of whatever hostel that you're staying in) and asking them for work in exchange for free room and board w/extra cash has worked for many travelers world wide.
Hostels like the Pink Palace
offers employment in, I think, 3 month intervals. Click that link for instructions on sending them a resume (CV) and photo.
is a very popular overseas work program.
I walked into an English school, without any teaching skills or TEFL certification, and said that I wanted to teach english. She heard my American accent, from the Westcoast, took down my number and when I popped in there again to follow up, she said, "We have an opening at another location for the next 2 months, can you start on Monday?" they kept me longer, but I left on great terms to focus more on the film that I was shooting.
Okay, it wasn't the big duckies that I was used to in the states, but enough to live on nontheless, and they paid cash at the end of every week(you have to negotiate that with them).
I actually did that to meet new people(my morning class had 8 people- 7 good looking women
! It was awesome and I made some cool friends at that school!) and get out of the apartment during the day while my gf was working.
Seriously, after working my ass off all of my life, strangely, I found it extremely hard doing nothing all day
If you do end up teaching english without a "legal contract" and doing it "under the table," cover your hide!
Tell them that you want cash each week or at least for the first few weeks while they'll be getting feedback from their students on how your teaching skills are.
Sometimes, when schools hire you "under the table" and tell you that you'll get your first payment at the end of the month, if things go wrong and they refuse to pay you for the time you've already put in there, you won't have a leg to stand on since you're illegal and working without a contract.
One place that I worked at in Madrid, many teachers left before me and his secretary had almost left, because of non-payment.
I had put in 45hrs and at this point (2 1/2 weeks later), I found out about all the teachers leaving before me. So, I confronted him and said, I'm not waiting another week and a half to get paid, only to find out that you're going to jack me.
He got all fiesty and I said, "you better pay or you'll face some consequences," then left.
When I called him to prepare my money, he of course, gave me the attitude that I thought he would, and said to me sarcastically, "yeah, why don't you bring in your contract and your lawyer." Of course, I was illegal at this point (was in Spain more than 6 months at this point- 3 months over the legal 90day tourist limit) and didn't have a contract, so he did have some leverage and I couldn't go to the police for fear that they might deport my ass. He then hung up on me.
Now, bear in mind that he was about the size and height of Danny Devito, grew up in Los Angeles, and his demeanor was caustic and trying to act all "tough guy-like." But, if I did go in there and he called the police, I would have been toast! Possibly sent back to the US
I called him back and after he wouldn't take my calls (I 've observed that he always had his secretary screening his calls), I told his secretary that I was going to report his ass to the US embassy and Spain Ministry of Labor(?) and she said "hold on," he got on the phone and again gave me more attitude. Calmly, I laughed at him, and said, "okay, I was trying to be diplomatic about it and just get the money that I worked for, but since you won't cooperate, now I'm going to go to phase 2" and hung up.
So, I sent up a couple of buddies to rattle his cage, and he was like "okay! Tell Tony to come in next week and pick up his money! ($690Euros. about $15 an hour)
. It was funny ass shit to hear how terrified he was when I sent my buddies in there :greenguy:
DON'T let this happen to you! Other teachers before me never got their money and didn't know how to get it, since they were also working under the table.
The best way to avoid this, is to negotiate pay after the first week! This way, you don't waste your time and you'll see how serious they are about your employment there. Once they've paid you a few times, you've earned their trust and they've gained a good teacher, and you can re-negotiate a biweekly on even a monthly check.