Teach Enrich Empower
Charlotte Peet - Teaching in Brazil
With it's visual beauty, picturesque back drop of magnificent mountains; green tropical rainforests, shimmering golden beaches, coupled with the Carioca “joy of life” attitude really-Rio is paradise.
Rio de Janeiro
The “Cidade Marviousa” (Marvelous city)- has many alluring characteristics. With it’s visual beauty, picturesque back drop of magnificent mountains; green tropical rainforests, shimmering golden beaches, coupled with the Carioca “joy of life” attitude really-Rio is paradise. With Brazil being one of the fastest growing Industrial countries in the world, the need for native-speaking English teachers is booming. I leapt at the opportunity.
A little about me. I am twenty-two years old and have been teaching in Rio for 3 months. What I realized when starting is that most native English teachers here tend to be a lot older. Most TEFL teachers tend to have years of experience or have opted for a swift career change. For me, becoming a TEFL teacher was based more on the post-gap year fantasy.
“English-native teachers are hugely sought after in Rio”
Why I took a TEFL course
I graduated last year with a Philosophy degree and have always had an aching sense of Wanderlust. Having grown up in Portugal, I am fluent in Portuguese and have had distant dreams of travelling to Brazil. These dreams, coupled with my philosophical ponders, propelled me on my adventure. TEFL seemed like the perfect solution; travel and work at the same time!
I took the 120-hour TEFL course in Bristol which is composed of 20 hours in a classroom over one weekend, and 100 hours online which you have up to 6 months to complete. This seemed like the best option as prospective employees consider the 120-hour course to be the minimum requirement. The 20-hour weekend TEFL course offers crucial practical teaching experience. Through our tutor’s instruction, by getting involved in hands-on activities and games, I learnt how to design and plan my own TEFL lessons for various abilities whilst also getting to know interesting, like-minded people.
The course proved more difficult than expected and provided me with valuable insight into the complexities involved in teaching English as a foreign language. With the guidance of personal tutors through each online module, I was able to get up to speed quickly with key grammatical terminology, business English and delivering English to young-learners efficiently. I would highly recommend the course to anyone who wishes to teach TEFL as it is thorough, well-organized and good value.
Where I’m teaching right now
I mainly teach Business English one-on-one to adult students in large corporate businesses. These are the people who really require a high level of English as they want to perfect their speaking skills for both professional and personal advancement. The Business language schools provide the brightest students as well as the highest salaries. With a minimum requirement of a degree and TEFL qualification, taking the course opened up the best opportunities.
It is very common for TEFL teachers in Rio to work for a handful of language schools in order to accumulate a decent network of contacts. I am working for 3 different language schools and have a selection of private students. English-native teachers are hugely sought after in Rio, and most students tend to say they prefer the British accent to the American. The diversity of teaching students of all levels and abilities, accompanied with the relaxed and fun Carioca attitude, make coming to work a pleasure.
Any funny classroom situations?
Part of the fun of teaching in Rio is the unpredictability and spontaneity of each day and lesson. The funniest lesson I have had so far was with my twelve-year-old twins. I arrived at their house in Ipanema only to find that an audience was joining us. The girls had had their school friends over for dinner and as per standard procedure, we continued with our lesson on the dining room table; consorted by blank stares, mouthfuls of Black bean stew and a lot of chuckles.
Brazil is an incredible place to live and work. English teachers in Rio enjoy easy access to public transportation, cafes, restaurants and shopping areas. Working around 25 hours a week, I have plenty of time to experience Brazil’s diverse culture; go for a jog on the beach, visit an art exhibition, mingle with the friendly locals and generally enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
What are your plans for the near future?
I really feel TEFL has opened up a world of opportunities for me. For the next year or so, I wish to continue to travel and teach in as many places as I can. I have fallen in love with South America, so teaching in Columbia or Chile may be the next logical step. Up next would have to be the young, uber-cool and culturally-diverse Berlin.
For anyone interested in teaching overseas, the best advice I can offer is be prepared to take initiative. Call around, drop your CVs into schools and build networks; word of mouth is one of the most effective ways of finding teaching work abroad.
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