ESL Teaching Guide - Brazil

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Female teacher (anon.) - May 2004

I am currently teaching: Cultura Inglesa in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil(private Idiom school). The positive aspects: personal satisfaction, reasonable salary (compared to other similar schools), access to career improvment.

The negative aspects.... not a so good salary (compared to other "liberal" professions), pressure (from the competitors, from parents, from students and increasing demands for variety, fun: "classes must be always enjoyable",from employees: you can't afford to "lose" students; catching up with all novelties, increasingly time-consuming lesson plans.

Wages: about US$700 a month per 20h/week journey. staff support: depends a lot where you teach. It may go from no support at all to school that offers special courses, workshops, occasional trips abroad, etc. (mine does it). student motivation: average if teaching abroad, some details about accommodation and cost/standard of living: although you don't make a lot of money, you can pay for your expenses and maybe save a little.

Ray Adams - May 2004

I am from Ripley, Derbyshire in England an am currently teaching in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

I am currently teaching adolescents and adults, from beginner to proficiency levels. All students at the moment are in the upper to higher income bracket, with the possibility of travelling to the UK or the USA for further studies. All recognise the need to study English, thus the classroom atmosphere is always positive. The people here are friendly and warm and association with the community at large is positive.

On the negative side: the current tension in Brazil caused by low wages in general and a lack of employment in general especially for young people. This makes travelling in the streets, not exactly dangerous, but something about which one has to be careful, especially about time and place. This rules out giving classes in certain areas after certain hours, just to be on the safe side.

I am not currently working for any college or academy. I am teaching privately. Nevertheless, I can supply some information about working conditions and salary as I worked at ELC during the last year. Wages are based on a points system x the number of hours worked. The points are worked out based on the following:

Points MAY be deducted if you do not work exclusively for the institute. So for a native teacher, with basic qualifications, in their first year teaching at the institute, this would work out to about R$12 (£2.50)/class hour.

accommodation costs about the same, or more, than the minimum wage of R$250/m, about £50, depending on what you aspire to. As I stated, the minimum wage is R$250, so a lot of people "live" on that. Here in Recife the average wage is cR$700 and one can live reasonably well with that provided that one doesn't want to send any children to private schools, which charge about R$400 - R$1000/mnth.

Personally, as I am branching out on my own this year, my income is not yet as high as I would hope it to be. I am earning about 2.5 times the average wage, though I expect this to rise to 4-5 times the average wage within 6 months. This of course means being willing to work to the convenience of the clients. My working day can start as early as 06:30 and finish as late as 21:00, though this does not imply, of course, back-to-back classes. I also spend a fair amount of time editing information for classes as I do not believe in just slavishly following a course book.

I am currently writing two specialist course books (with Workbooks and Teacher's Guide). One for the university entrance exams, and the other for teaching underprivileged adolescents English, so as to be able to obtain jobs in the tourist industry. This last with special attention to the resources available to the underprivileged here in Brazil.

ClŠudia Tavares Da Silva - May 2004

I am currently teaching at CNA ENGLISH COURSE (private institution) and Public State School (public institution).

The positive aspects of my current teaching job: the process of teaching/learning itself is very interesting not to say wonderful. Contact with people, helping people. The more you teach the more you learn. Just to mention a few!

The negative aspects.... in Brazil, the salaries are very demotivated if we compare with the amount of work teachers have / people, institutions do not recognize the real value of teaching/teachers / at public school there are lack of material, lack of incentive, lack of motivation (both from students and teachers), lack of project...lack of everything...in private courses, sometimes, money and numbers are more important than the educational process itself, the teachers, the students real necessities...

Interested in going and living/working in Brazil??

Useful books on living and working in Brazil...

Michael Hardiman - June 2002

A warning to those of you who wish to work in Brazil. In the last couple of years it has become extremely hard to get a visa, and I mean extremely hard so be prepared to work illegally if you go there and your school does not have "connections".

Vivian Magalh„es - May 2002

I am Brazilian and I have been teaching English in Porto Alegre (south of Brazil) for over 20 years. I also work as a teacher trainer. I guess what makes people come to Brazil (and want to stay) is the liveliness of the people. Security is getting to be a problem, though, and you often hear stories of people who were robbed or had their cars stolen (I guess I have been lucky, because nothing has ever happened to me). As anywhere else in the world, there will be pros and cons of coming here to work.

If you are willing to give it a try, I suggest you start by contacting multinational schools such as Britannia or Berlitz. Because they have schools all over the world (including many Brazilian cities), they can probably give you guidelines on how to apply for a job in one of their branches.

Most foreigners are required to have a visa to come to Brazil, and all foreigners who want to work legally in the country must have a permit to do so. I don't know how hard it would be to get one, but considering the number of foreigners that I see around (especially in places like Rio), I would say it is not that hard--or else that there are many illegal aliens. People must have a teaching degree to teach in regular schools (K-12), but there are many language centers which welcome native speakers of English to work as teachers, even if they don't have the appropriate training. The school itself will provide that.

The pay is not so good compared to countries in North America and Europe (about $5,00 an hour), but the cost of living is not as bad as in the US, Canada or most European countries.


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