Is teaching English a good career choice?
In the 21st century with the most influential countries being English speaking, it is no surprise that learning the English language is a valuable skill that one ends up using at some point in life. English now runs the international market and is the predominant language running the Global Village so it is a given that there will always be someone wanting to learn it. Whether it is to fulfill a job prerequisite or to learn to interact better with foreign delegations, there will never be a shortage of countries with people eager to learn the English language from a native speaker himself.
As an English teacher, you never run out of career options. You can choose anything from where to teach to whom to teach and in some cases when to teach. There are countries willing to learn through ESL programs offering jobs from primary school to university level teaching programs. So if you are opting to teach the English language as a career and broaden your horizons globally, ESL not only creates those opportunities for you in your own country but also internationally; all in all, creating a safe haven for you as a job option.
Teaching English in Brazil
Since after hosting the Olympics in 2016, Brazil remains a popular country in South America. With rapidly growing tourism and development in cities like Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Paulo, and overall Brazil, it is an attractive option to not only explore and live in but also to go teach ESL in.
- Enthusiastic pupils – Brazil is a hub for students willing to learn the English language, they are enthusiastic to learn, which will make your job fun and easy for you.It’s always a better experience to teach students that actually want to learn what you have to teach.
- Flexible work hours – Unlike other countries, Brazil offers you enjoy the liberty of choosing your own working hours. So if you want to try teaching as a part time occupation and work somewhere else part time, Brazil is fortunately the country that might just give you that privilege. Not only that, flexible working hours provide you the opportunity to explore the exotic cities of Brazil while having something that pays for it.
- Friendly Country – As someone going to a new country, you might be faced by the fear of whether or not you will be able to adjust to the new people, new place or not. Fortunately for you, Brazilians are known to be friendly people that are cordial towards foreigners, which in turn makes it easy for anyone visiting to adjust to the new surroundings and also saves you from the homesickness that comes with leaving your home.
What is the Peak hiring time in Brazil for English teachers?
The best time to look for work in Brazil is from Middle of February to March or in August when most of the hiring is done for Brazilian Schools. Summer vacation and most holidays fall during December to March in Brazil, new session usually commences in March, it would be a good time to do your research and get ready for the type of work you are planning to do. If you are planning on teaching privately via tutoring, most people start looking for tutors mid-session, so August would be a good time to search for private tutoring jobs.
What are the requirements for becoming an English teacher in Brazil?
Teaching in Brazil fortunately does not have an expansive list of prerequisites.
- Bachelor’s degree – A Bachelor’s degree such as BA or BS is not required by most institutes and is often not compulsory but having a degree will definitely weigh better for you and increase your chances for the job amongst applicants without a degree. A higher qualification can make you eligible to apply for higher level jobs such as high schools and university teaching positions.
- TEFL, TESOL and CELTA certification – If you are looking to work as an ESL teacher without much hassle or paperwork, fortunately for you, teaching ESL in Brazil does not necessarily require a TEFL TESOL or CELTA certificate. It saves you the cost and time of getting one. However, if you do have a TEFL or CELTA certification, it definitely gives you an edge and looks better for your resume.
- Teaching experience – Usually you do not need a prior teaching experience in order to apply for jobs in Brazil, but like every other occupation, any amount of experience on your resume will make it stand out and in turn, will significantly improve your chances of getting a job.
- Native-English speakers – This is not mandatory for you to be speaking native level English but it will get you better jobs because native English speakers get hired more easily. Since you’re teaching English as second language, it obviously gives you more benefit if you yourself speak it as a first language.
- Visa – You can work using three different types of visas
- Tourist visa – A tourist visa for Brazil lasts for 180 days; it is commonly used by many English teachers to work. However, working on such visa is illegal. Even with its technical ambiguity, people using such visa to work do not face any repercussions such as eviction. If you stay over your visa limit (180 days), you usually have to pay a fine that amounts to around or less than $400 per year and you are good to go.
- Student visa – If working with a tourist visa does not sound very reassuring to you, you might want to try and get a student visa. Such visas are granted after you’re enrolled into a university program, such as one teaching Portuguese. This type of visa allows you to stay in Brazil for a year, cutting down the cost of fine but know that working with such visa is not legal either.
- Work Visa – This type of visa is the only visa that legally allows you to work in Brazil. However it is pretty difficult for you to get a work visa for ESL itself. Institutes usually do not sponsor your visa process unless you get job with an international school in Brazil. Getting a work visa on your own is possible but it requires a lot of effort, making it a tedious process to get one.
- Work Visa formalities
- The only way to work legally in Brazil is if you get a work visa which is difficult as an ESL teacher since such visas are usually granted to major specialities. Another way to work in Brazil is by getting a permanent residency visa by getting married in the country or via amnesty that will allow you to be able get a Brazilian citizenship.
- Getting work visa for English teachers is hard in Brazil. A lot of people enter the country with a tourist visa and start working through it. Although this is a common practice but it’s not legal. However people practising such ways hardly face any repercussions apart from a fine for overstaying their visa limit.
- Schools do not like to sponsor teachers and therefore getting a work visa becomes expensive and the whole process becomes bureaucratic.
- Most teachers who are able to work legally on a work visa in the country do so by securing multi-year contracts with International Brazilian schools. So you might need a long-term plan to stay in the country. Such contracts are not easily available and require more than just your ability to speak English.
What types of jobs can an English teacher get in Brazil?
As a teacher you can expect to earn an average monthly pay of $800 to $1300 but it varies with your choice of city, teaching level and your own worth depending on your qualifications and experience.
- Private language schools – The best place to start ESL teaching in Brazil is probably a Private Language School. These are set ups that are developed solely to encourage learning of the English language at all ages. Some popular language schools in Brazil are CCAA, CNA, Brasas, Wizard, Fisk, and Cultura Inglesa.
- Salary and Benefits
- As a Private School teacher in Brazil you can expect to make around $800-$1000 per month or $19-$26 per hour.
- Private schools usually offer a good starting opportunity for new beginners without the hassle of looking up private students.
- A stable monthly income is something you can look forward to while working in Private schools.
- Certain international private schools might sponsor your work visa process, making it easier for you.
- Some schools might provide training as part of their employment process, helping you brush up your skills.
- Timings are somewhat flexible; you can choose your own working hours depending on your own feasibility.
- A valid passport
- Valid work visa might be required by some schools before employment confirmation.
- A basic understanding of Portuguese language might be needed by some schools.
- A BA or BS degree is not always required but it is safe to have one.
- Some experience of working with kids.
- Native level English skills
- TEFL or CELTA certification
- University and colleges
- Salaries and Benefits
- A university level job can pay as well as $60 per hour or up to $2000 per month depending on work hours and job description.
- Some institutes provide accommodation and visa sponsorship as part of their package.
- The Brazilian Government has lately been keen on improving their higher education standards, paying special attention to universities. So there might be plenty new opportunities opening up for prospective ESL teachers.
- Some universities allow you to learn Portuguese as part of your training program.
- It is easier to get a university level ESL job in Brazil, than in other countries.
- Valid passport
- Valid work visa might be required by institutes that do not want to sponsor visa.
- Some institutes that do not provide it, need proof of accommodation.
- A Bachelor’s degree along with a Master’s degree might be required by some positions
- TEFL or CELTA certificate
- Work experience in ESL or teaching
- Private tuitions – With newly emerging tourism in Brazil post 2016 Olympics, it is very common to find people willing to learn the English language as private students. Such classes are held after work hours or during lunch hours, at the teachers own expense.
- Salaries and Benefits
- Your earning from Private tuitions largely depends on how rich your students are and how much they are willing to pay for lessons. On average you can expect to earn $21-$30 per hour as a private tutor.
- You can choose your own students according to your own feasibility.
- You can choose your own working hours mostly, which allows you to do other part time work or explore the city meanwhile.
- There is no official paperwork or list of requirements you need to fulfil, so it’s easier to start working this way.
- Requirements – There are usually no official requirements for private tutoring. You mostly need a valid passport and some sort of Visa that allows you to stay in Brazil.
How do I look for Jobs in Brazil?
The Hiring process – To get a job in Brazilian schools you can try a few approaches that are listed below. You usually find a school see if they have a job listing. Depending on their requirements; you apply for the job that is suitable for you, they schedule an interview which is usually in person, and job confirmation is after you have all important documents such as a valid work visa and accommodation proof. To find a job you can try the following:
- Travel to Brazil – You can travel to Brazil yourself, explore the city you are looking to work in, ask around for job openings for ESL teachers. Apply for said jobs and appear for the interview in person. This is a more suitable and reliable method to search for jobs in Brazil.
- Online job directories – There are Portuguese job directories such as, Indeed.com.br, infojob.com.br, Zap, Catho, Adzuna, Buscojobs
- These jobs boards have Job listings that you can sort through to find something of your interest. This is a good alternative if you cannot travel to Brazil or you do not have time to walk around the city in search of jobs.
- In person interviews – In person interviews are more common with Brazilian employers. Some international schools do offer online or skype interviews but most usually don’t. You mostly have to be present in Brazil yourself to appear for interviews so plan your trip accordingly.
Is it better to teach privately or to work at a school in Brazil?
- Advantages of Teaching in a school
- It is a more stable job as a private school teacher, promises a stable and fixed income at the end of each month according to your contract.
- Some schools might provide accommodation and sponsor your work visa.
- It provides you a social network of teachers to interact with daily, that might help you with settling down in a new country
- It is easier to find a private school job as soon as you get in the country, without spending time making a name for yourself
- Working in a school might give you an idea on how to interact with Brazilian students and what are their teaching patterns. which will allow you to develop a more equipped teaching plan
- Advantages of Teaching privately
- There is less paperwork to worry about and there are almost no prerequisites, hence easy in that regard to get a job.
- You can choose your own working hours and alter them accordingly.
- You can take up as many students as you can handle, without the pressure of having to deal with more.
- Without there being a middleman, being a private tutor can pay more than twice of what schools can pay you.
Each of them have their own pros and cons most ESL teachers in Brazil prefer to teach as a Private tutor mainly because of how well it pays and how it might be easier to get work compared to school jobs. However, to get popular amongst students you have to rely to on word of mouth, which may take a while to establish. Although the money with Private tuitions is more, it is not reliable and varies throughout the year and sometimes you might have to make an effort to get your students to pay you on time. You might have to travel more and too often to meet your students depending on their choice of location. Other than the few peculiarities that are easy to get around, teaching as a private tutor might be the more suitable option of the two, in monetary terms.
Is it safe to teach in Brazil?
It mostly depends on which city or area you choose to live in but generally speaking, Brazil is prone to street crime such as pick pocketing, mugging, stealing and kidnapping. However, like most places it can be avoided by being aware of your phone and wallet at all times, do not carry too much cash or do not use a fancy phone in a deserted street. It is said that thieves usually target foreigners so do not do anything obvious that gives that away. Take general precautions and avoid unsafe neighbourhoods as much as you can. That being said, no country is really ever safe from such risks but it does not happen as frequently as it might sound it does, so take the chance on Brazil and hope for it to be good for you!
What to look for before moving to Brazil?
- Cost of living – This really depends on you and how well you can budget you earnings. It also depends on what area or what city you’re choosing to settle in but generally it can vary from $800-$1300 USD including basic utilities and average rent.
- Accommodation – If your employers are not providing you accommodation it will be the major expense you face living in Brazil. It depends on which city you choose to live in but urban areas of bigger cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are more expensive in terms of housing. It is easier to find a place to rent suitable to your budget, in smaller towns. Another option is to rent an Aparthotel in Brazil, if you can find a roommate this will obviously be easier for you to afford. On average you can expect to spend around 1000-1500 reals per month on housing in cities like Rio.
- Food – The cost of food and groceries is relatively low in Brazil. Brazilian food is healthy and cheap, you can find juice corners and farmer’s markets readily all over the country. In restaurants you can pay around 10-25 reals per meal. If you’re looking at groceries, fruits and vegetables lasting all week will cost you anywhere around 14-15 reals.
- Transportation – Big cities like Rio and Sao Paulo have well developed metro systems that make travel easy and relatively cheap. It is best if you find accommodation near these metro stations since you will be travelling a lot as a private teacher.
If not the metro system travelling via bus is common in Brazil. Buses are cheap everywhere in Brazil and you can travel most places through them.
Which cities offer the biggest market for English language teachers?
- Sao Paulo is an international city and offers a lot of high paying jobs for ESL teachers.
- Rio de Janeiro is a rapidly growing tourist attraction so it’s no surprise that more and more locals want to learn English. Hence Rio has a pretty good job market for ESL teachers
- Belo Horizonte is another popular city with increasing demand for native English speakers and lower cost of living- making it an interesting option for ESL teachers.
Is teaching online an option?
Teaching English online is a great option if you don’t want to move to Brazil. The country has high demand for English language teachers but getting a work visa is a hassle. Therefore teaching online is convenient. VIPKID provides a great platform for teaching English online.
What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is a website that serves as a virtual classroom that teaches English language to foreign kids abroad using a latest video call technology much like skype with the added feature of being able to show lesson slides and enabling the student and teacher to be able to look and converse with each other. The lessons involve speaking activities from prepared lectures and fun activities that the teacher can plan using props, puppets and other material.
What makes VIPKID stand out?
- International experience – You get an international teaching experience with exposure to kids all over the world from many different countries that use VIPKID, with the added benefit of working from the comfort of your own home allowing you to carry out house chores with ease.
- VIPKID does all the work for you – There is not much that you have to do as an English teacher at VIPKID except obviously, teach. They do all the middle work and connect you with the student directly, making the entire ordeal as easy as possible.
- Flexible working hours – Working hours are usually flexible; you can choose your own work hours from early mornings or weekend evenings according to your feasibility. If you work another job, you can adjust a VIPKID job in your schedule additionally to earn some extra cash.
- You get paid handsomely and on time – The salary is usually between 16-22 USD per hour, for two 25-28 minute classes. Being an international organization they are quite reputable and you do not have to worry about being paid, since they always pay you on time.
- VIPKID provides you with the teaching material – You do not have to spend your time and energies on developing materials to teach since VIPKID sorts that out for you, making it all the more easier for you.
How to become a teacher on VIPKID
- A valid work permit in USA or Canada
- A bachelor’s degree
- At Least one year experience in working with kids.
To become a VIPKID teacher, you need to sign on the VIPKID website. Then you have to fill out a short questionnaire after that you wait for a couple of days until VIPKID gets back to you. Set up an interview slot using the VIPKID web interface. Then you can either schedule a live interview/demo class or give a demo class instead. After that you can get hired, sign a contract, and start teaching whenever they ask you to.
As an ESL teacher, if you’re looking to teach in a country where you can spend your vacations in beautiful Amazon rainforests, paradise-esque beaches and cities known for their carnivals and friendly people, Brazil is your top pick! It might not pay incredibly well enough for you to become rich by teaching but it is possible to live some of the best days of your life and have an amazing teaching experience with some of the best students you’ll ever meet. All that and more is possible if you choose Brazil as your destination for an ESL career.