Teaching ESL in Brazil
Teaching English in Brazil’s exotic culture and beautiful landscape is a great way to gain valuable teaching and life experience.
Peak ESL Hiring Season in Brazil
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Brazil
Largest Chain Schools in Brazil
Tips for ESL Teachers in Brazil
Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Brazil
Embassy and Consulate Information for Brazil
The Brazilian school year begins in February and goes until December, with a semester break in July. While hiring takes place prior to the start of both the February and July semesters, ESL teachers can begin teaching at any time throughout the year. Teaching positions are available through public and private schools, language schools, universities and colleges, and through private tutoring.
Public and Private School System
Public and private schools in Brazil are somewhat similar to North America's conventional primary and secondary schools and run on a two-semester system. The school year begins in February and lasts until December, with a vacation in July to break up the two semesters. The summer vacation, generally lasting from mid-December to February, gives a welcome break during the hot summer season.
Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 14 and is free in the public school system. There are many Catholic-run private schools in Brazil.
Private Language Schools
Private language schools provide supplementary education for students who require additional tutoring. Classes are offered during after-school hours and at other convenient times. As private language schools do not follow the semester system of conventional schools, teachers are hired year round.
Teaching Business English is in demand in Brazil as in other parts of Latin America. Taking Oxford Seminars' Teaching Business English Specialization Module would be advantageous for teaching English there.
Universities and Colleges
In recent years the government has focused its attention on improving higher education in Brazil. As a result, public universities and colleges are fully funded by federal and state governments. Public institutions are reputed to offer higher quality education because of the funding; however, private institutions have been narrowing the gap with improved quality. Competition to get into public universities is very stiff. The academic year generally runs from early March to mid-July and then early August to mid-December.
Private tutoring is quite common in Brazil, as the ESL teacher can be flexible with teaching hours and can earn substantially above normally low teaching wages. ESL teachers charge between R$25 - 50/hour.
Many businesses hire in-house private English language instructors to teach their employees. Classes are normally scheduled before and after business hours and during the lunch break so as to keep from interfering with job-related duties. Networking through relationships in a business setting is a great way to grow one's private tutoring clientele.
There are many resources available to ESL teachers searching for teaching positions abroad, including:
Graduates of Oxford Seminars receive our Graduate Placement Service with exclusive access to established schools and recruiters around the world.
- Berlitz Idioma
With more than 470 centres in over 70 countries, Berlitz is a well-established English language training company. Berlitz offers one-on-one tutoring as well as small and large group instruction.
- Cultura Inglesa
This well-established English language school has centres all throughout Brazil.
Boasting over 200,000 students registered in their centres, CCAA offers English and Spanish classes throughout Brazil.
Jobs Teaching English in the Summer in Brazil
ESL teachers seeking summer teaching positions in Brazil will find that the North American summer does not coincide with the summer months in Brazil, December through February. As such, securing a teaching position during North American summer would be to arrive in the middle of the school year in Brazil. The most likely way to find teaching positions during these months would be to contact volunteer agencies for short-term positions. Private tutoring is also an option during the summer months.
Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in Brazil
There is an abundance of ESL resources on the Internet for teachers to help teach English as a Second Language. Examples are listed below.
- Oxford Seminars' ESL Teaching Resources
- BBC Skillswise
- About.com - ESL Teaching Resources
- Classic Reader
- Discovery Education
- Songs For Teaching
- Genki English
- Learn some basic Portuguese phrases before you go to Brazil and plan to continue learning the language once there.
- Ensure you always carry identification as this is enforced by law. A photocopy of the relevant pages of one’s passport is usually sufficient.
- In light of the laid-back, time-flexible way of life in Brazil, one should be prepared for slow line ups in stores, supermarkets, etc. Having a pocket phrase-book handy to study the language while waiting may help to alleviate the anxiety caused by waiting.
- Adopt an adventurous attitude and experience the cuisine, culture, and sites of Brazil.
- Consider getting an international driver’s license in your home country.
- While the “thumbs up” gesture is quite common to indicate an affirmative response, the gesture made by creating an ‘o’ shape with the thumb and index finger is considered obscene.
- Women should not go to local bars or clubs unaccompanied.
- Petty thieves can take advantage of foreigners coming into their laid-back culture. Teachers should take care to watch their wallets and cell phones, especially in light of the close proximity of interaction.
- Use only bottled water from reputable companies for consumption. Boil filtered water if unsure. Milk in rural areas is not usually pasteurized and should be boiled before consumption.
- Ensure meat is well-cooked. Vegetables should also be cooked well and fruit should be peeled.
- Shoes, while not always high in quality, are abundant in Brazil. Half, narrow and wide sizes however, can be difficult to find.
- Some brand-name toiletries and medicines can be found in Brazil, though usually at higher prices than one would pay in North America. It may be helpful to take a year’s supply of favourite cosmetics, or essential items with you to Brazil.
- Tipping is common in Brazil, and much appreciated due to low wages and high unemployment. Rounding up to the nearest Real for taxi drivers and giving $R1 for each normal-sized bag for baggage carriers is standard. Sit-down restaurants generally add an automatic 10% to the bill.
- The voltage in Brazil is not standardized. Some regions use 120V and other areas use 220 or 240V. The purchase of a transformer may be necessary for appliances that are not dual-voltage.
- While possession of drugs may only warrant a “slap on the wrist” and community service for local Brazilians, it may mean deportation or incarceration for foreigners. If caught going into or out of Brazil with drugs, it would be an automatic jail sentence.
The requirements and guidelines below are listed for ESL teacher applicants to Brazil who are citizens of: Canada, United States, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
Minimum Requirements to Apply for Teaching Positions in Brazil:
- TESOL/TESL certificate
- Native English speaker
Types of Applicable Visas:
- Tourist Visa: designed for visits up to 90 days. This visa can be extended to a maximum of 180 days per year. It is illegal to work on a tourist visa; however, entering on a tourist visa in order to apply for teaching positions is permissible.
- Volunteer Visa (Temporary Type 1): designed for those who wish to volunteer in Brazil.
- Temporary Work Visa: designed for those working with a legitimate company in Brazil. Sponsorship by an employer is required for this type of visa.
- Spousal Visa: designed for those married to a Brazilian citizen and living in Brazil. A proper work visa is still required in order to teach English.
Important Visa Information:
- As work visas are difficult to obtain, many schools are willing to initially hire teachers who enter on a tourist visa, and then sponsor them for a work visa.
- Citizens from the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand are exempt from requiring a visa to enter Brazil.
- In addition to obtaining a visa, entry/exit permits are required.
- Leaving the country without a re-entry permit essentially cancels one's visa.
- Visas must be used within six months of receiving it. (This should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate)
- One must apply for a visa at a Brazilian Embassy or Consulate in one's own country of citizenship.
- One should apply for a visa in person.
Standard Process for Obtaining Documentation to Work Legally in Brazil:
- The applicant secures a contract with a legitimate school.
- The school applies for a work permit with the Ministry of Labor in Brazil on behalf of the applicant.
- The ESL teacher applies for the visa in one's home country once the permit is approved.
Standard Required Documents for Visas:
(Important to check with embassy/consulate as variations in requirements sometimes occur)
- A valid passport with at least six months remaining at time of application. Passport should have at least two blank pages. (This should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate).
- Completed visa application.
- Passport photos (Specifications should be confirmed with local embassy/consulate).
- Work Visa: Employment contract with letter of invitation.
- Tourist Visa: Statement of earning, a copy of a round trip ticket or official itinerar.
Canadian Embassy and Consular Offices in Brazil
Embassy of Canada, Brasilia
SES - Av. das Nações, Quadra 803, Lote 16
70410-900 Brasília DF
Phone: +55 (61) 3424-5400
Fax: +55 (61) 3424-5490
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday: 8:30-13:00, 14:00-17:30/ Friday: 8:30-14:00
Canadian Consulate, Sao Paulo
Av. das Nações Unidas, 12901 - 16º andar, Torre Norte
04578-000 - São Paulo, SP – Brazil
Phone: +55 (11) 5509-4343
Fax: + 55 (11) 5509-4262
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday: 08:00-12:00, 13:00-17:00/ Friday: 08:00-13:30
American Embassy and Consular Offices in Brazil
Embassy of the United States, Brasilia
SES - Av. das Nações, Quadra 801, Lote 03
70403-900 - Brasília, DF
Phone: +55 (61) 3312-7000
Fax: +55 (61) 3225-9136
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 08:00-17:00
United States Consulate General, Rio de Janeiro
Av. Presidente Wilson, 147 - Castelo
20030-020 - Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Phone: +55 (21) 3823-2000
Fax: +55 (21) 3823-2003
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 08:00-16:45
United States Consulate General, São Paulo
Rua Henri Dunant, 500,
Chácara Santo Antônio,
São Paulo- SP, 04709-110
Phone: +55 (11) 5186-7000/ After hours: (11) 5181-8730
Fax: +55 (11) 5186-7199
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 08:00-17:00
United States Consulate, Recife
Rua Gonçalves Maia, 163 - Boa Vista
50070-060 - Recife, PE
Phone: +55 (81) 3416-3050
Fax: +55 (81) 3231-1906
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 08:00-16:30 pm
Australian Embassy and Consular Offices in Brazil
Embassy of Australia, Brasilia
SES Quadra 801
Conjunto K, Lote 7, Brasilia
Phone: +55 (61) 3226 3111
Fax: +55 (61) 3226 1112 (chancery)
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday: 08:30-17:00/ Friday: 08:30-16:30
Australian Consulate, Sao Paulo
Alamenda Santos, 700
9th floor, Unit 92
Edifício Trianon Corporate - Cerqueira Cësar
01418-100 - São Paulo - SP Brazil
Phone: +55 (11) 2112-6200
Fax: +55 (11) 3171-2889
Australian Consulate, Rio de Janeiro
Veirano e Advogados Associados
Av Presidente Wilson, 231, 23rd Floor
Rio de Janeiro RJ 20030-021Brazil
Phone: +55 (21) 3824 4624
Fax: +55 (21) 2262 4247
British Embassy and Consular Offices in Brazil
Embassy of UK, Brasilia
Setor de Embaixadas Sul
Quadra 801, Lote 8
Brasilia - DF, Brazil
Phone: +55 (61) 3329-2300
Fax: +55 (61) 3329-2369
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday: 08:30- 12:30; 13:30-16:45/ Friday: 08:30-12:30; 13:30-16:30
British Consulate, Sao Paulo
Rua Ferreira de Araújo,
741 - São Paulo - SP - Brasil - CEP 05428-002
Phone: +55 (11) 3094 2700
Fax: +55 (11) 3094 2717
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday: 08:30-12:30; 13:30-17:30/ Friday: 08:30-12:30; 13:30-16:30
British Consulate, Rio de Janeiro
Praia do Flamengo, 284/ 2nd floor
Rio de Janeiro – RJ – CEP 22210-030
Phone: +55 (21) 2555 9600
Fax: +55 (21) 2555 9671
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday: 08:30-12:30; 13:30-16:45/ Friday: 08:30-12:30; 13:30-16:30
Irish Embassy and Consular Offices in Brazil
Embassy of Ireland in Brazil
SHIS QL Conjunto, 05 Casa, 09 Lago Sul
Brasilia, Brazil 71630-255
Phone: +55 (61) 3248-8800
Fax: +55 (61) 3248-8816
Hours of Operation:Monday – Friday: 10:00-13:00
Irish Consulate, Sao Paulo
Al. Joaquim Eugênio de Lima, 447
São Paulo – SP
Phone: +55 (11) 3147-7788
Fax: +55 (11) 3147 7770
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 14:00-17:00
New Zealand's Embassy and Consular Offices in Brazil
Embassy of New Zealand in Brazil
SHIS QI 09 conj. 16 casa 01
71625-160, Brasília-DF Brazil
Phone: +55 (61) 3248-9900
Fax: +55 (61) 3248-9916
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 08:30-17:00
New Zealand Consulate General, Sao Paulo
Alameda Campinas, 579, 15o andar
01404-000, São Paulo-SP Brazil
Phone: +55 (11) 3141-4169
Fax: +55 (11) 3148-2521
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 09:00-17:00
Embassy Offices outside Brazil
Embassy of Brazil in Canada
Embassy of Brazil in Ottawa
450 Wilbrod Street
Phone: +1 (613) 237-1090/ 1 (613) 755-5160
Fax: +1 (613) 237-6144
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 09:15-12:00
Embassy of Brazil in the United States
Embassy of Brazil in Washington, DC
3006 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington D.C 20008-3634
Phone: +1 (202) 238-2805
Fax: +1 (202) 238-2827
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 09:00–14:00, except holidays