Teaching English in Brazil

Teaching English in Brazil

Brazil Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro$800 – $1500

The level of demand for native speakers in Brazil is reasonably high.

Unfortunately, TEFL salaries are relatively low and despite reasonably low living costs you certainly won’t be able to save much, if at all. Brazil is a remarkable, diverse country but your chances of seeing much of it whilst teaching are rather low given the poor pay and lack of holidays.

As in most Latin American countries, the students are lively and sociable and therefore a pleasure to teach. There is a high turnover of staff at language centers which says a great deal about the pros and cons. In many instances, it really is a β€˜backpacker job’ for those willing to work illegally. Employers can be unreliable and have unreasonable demands such as the common one that you are effectively β€˜on-call’ from 8 am to 8 pm or similar. You are rarely paid for traveling from one location or class to another and this can take up a significant chunk of your daily schedule.

There are lots of other native speakers looking for short-term employment but many leave after just a few months due to the poor pay and the fact that many private students cancel at short notice (and therefore don’t pay you). If you are experienced and hard-working then you may be lucky to find one of the few well-paid positions, such as those at bilingual schools.

For the majority, however, teaching English in Brazil is a fun experience for a short period of time but certainly not a serious career option.

Flag of Brazil - Wikipedia

Typical Requirements and Tips

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?

A CELTA or TEFL certificate is not strictly necessary, but you will find that if you have one you are eligible for better jobs and better pay. You’ll also be a more confident teacher.

Given the low salaries, you may need to supplement your income with extra, private one-to-one tuition. Contacts are essential and found via word of mouth and through local adverts and websites.

American and Canadian teachers may be at a slight advantage.

Your employer is responsible for obtaining your work permit. However, in reality, many work illegally because employers are unwilling to spend the money required to sponsor you. Despite the flexibility this allows, this is not recommended for obvious reasons. Fortunately, the fines for overstaying your tourist visa are not too severe.

Public transport is cheap but taxis are expensive. Food is moderately-priced. Accommodation is expensive in the big cities and you will probably have to share it with another teacher.

Pros of Teaching English in Brazil

  • High demand for English tuition
  • Fantastic, sociable students
  • There are plenty of other teachers in Brazil so you should have a good social network with both foreigners and locals alike

Cons of Teaching English in Brazil

  • Generally low pay and many employers are reluctant to offer proper, full-time contracts
  • Teachers are usually expected to work split shifts and spend a lot of time traveling (which is unpaid)
  • It is very difficult to find work unless you are already in the country