Finding a job as an English teacher in Brazil can be incredibly easy, or it can be the hardest thing you do depending on which approach you take. Because there is so little information about teaching English in Brazil available online, many teachers who come to Brazil end up making their lives more difficult than they need to be.
Lets take a look at the ways that a language teacher can find work in Brazil:
As you walk through any city in Brazil you will come across dozens of language schools. English is a big business here and these schools are popping up everywhere in order to meet the demand. One approach for finding work is to walk around to all of the schools nearby where you are living and fish for leads.
- Targeted Location – The benefit of this approach is that you’re more likely to find a school close to where you live.
- Its inefficient – You’ll spend a significant amount of time traveling between schools, walking around in the hot sun, without any idea of whether they are hiring or not.
- Unqualified leads – Just because they are an English school doesn’t mean that it would be a good school to work at. You don’t know anything about the working conditions, pay, teaching methodology or the company culture.
- Small pool of schools – You’re going to miss several schools that are hidden away from major streets. Some of the best schools to work at are smaller operations that rent an office in a larger building.
Word of Mouth
As you move to a new city, one of your first priorities should be networking and making contacts with other English teachers in the area. There are several groups that exist to facilitate these encounters and you should take advantage of them as much as you can.
The English teachers you meet have already faced many of the challenges that you are going through and their experiences can help you reduce the learning curve to getting started. Asking other English teachers for leads on where is hiring is the best way to find an English teaching job in Brazil.
- Efficiency – You can minimize the time it takes to find a job if you only approach companies that are actively looking for foreign teachers.
- Inside scoop – The person who refers you will be able to tell you if the school is a good place to work before you start working there. You can find out what the working conditions are like, whether they pay on time and other important questions as well.
- Friendly work environment – You’re already going to have one friend at the new school you work at, which makes it easier to make others. More importantly you already know that the school is used to working with foreigners and have some experience with the cultural differences that exist between Brazil and gringo cultures.
- Making connections – The only disadvantage to this approach is that it is contingent on your ability to seek out other English teachers in the city you want to teach. Most teachers don’t have websites so you have to find other ways of getting in contact with them.
The site aims to bring together the best information about English teaching in Brazil as possible. If you would like to see an interview with an English teacher from a particular city, send me an email and I’ll make it happen.
Online Job Directories
Update: I’ve launched a job board for ESL teachers in Brazil. Check it out here.
There are two types of job boards you might look at for English teaching jobs. There are the job boards that specialize in international English teaching jobs, and there are Brazilian job boards that have information on jobs all over Brazil. In general I’ve found that the jobs on the international English teaching forums are of poor quality or have little useful information.
Here are a few Brazilian sites you might check for jobs. All of them are in Portuguese and they have job listings in major cities like Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, etc.
If you’re insistent about finding a job before you arrive there is still hope for you yet. Our good friends over at Google have created a tool that makes it delightfully simple to find every English school in your city.
Type “escola de ingles” or just “ingles” and the name of your city into Google Maps and start sending emails to the schools that interest you. To improve your results, get on the phone and ask for more information. You can do this from abroad by using Skype. The receptionist might not speak English, so be patient with them while they get someone on the phone who does. If you speak Portuguese you should do that first since you are in Brazil after all.
- Targed location – You can narrow down your search to a particular area and find a place close to where you live using Google Maps.
- Efficiency – You can make several phone calls in an hour and go through every school in your target area in a day using this super targeted method.
- Find a job before you come – Using this method you can call from abroad and have job interviews lined up for when you arrive. Don’t commit to anything before you arrive and don’t stop calling places because you found something that sounds good enough.
- Missed opportunities – I lied when I said that Google Maps will show you every English school in the city. Not every school is going to be listed on Google because many Brazilian businesses haven’t caught on to the 21st century yet and are unlisted on Google maps.
- Low email return rate – Brazilians prefer verbal communication, and if you send an email they may take a while to respond, if they ever do at all.
- Lack of information – Just as with walking around, you wont know anything about the school and if it’s a good place to work. You have to go in and get to know the place and feel it out if it’s a good place to work.
Having success in finding an English teaching job in Brazil comes only after you talk to a lot of people. The best jobs will come from talking to other English teachers in your city, but you will have to find them first. If you cant make contact with any other English teachers then you will have to cold call English schools by finding their phone number online. Online job directories are almost non existent and should be ruled out of your job search. And if all else fails you can walk around the town when you arrive, knocking on doors and leaving your CV with English schools that you find.
If this sounds like too much work for you and you have no idea of how to get started, there is another way. I’ve created a private video training course where I share insider information on schools in Brazil and how to get the best jobs. If you’re interested in learning more about the course you can check it out here.
I hope this has been useful for you. If you have any questions about finding a job in Brazil, leave a comment below. If you have any useful information that you’d like to share please do so in the comments as well.