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 centres which says a great deal about the pros and cons. In many instances it really is a ‘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 ‘on call’ from 8am to 8pm or similar. You are rarely paid for travelling 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, TEFL in Brazil is a fun experience for a short period of time but certainly not a serious career option.
|Type of Institution||Typical salary (USD/month)||Typical hours||Typical annual leave|
|Language centres||800 – 1,500||Various split shifts and evenings and weekends||2 weeks plus national holidays|
|International schools and universities||2,500 upwards||9am – 4pm Monday to Friday plus some weekend work||10 weeks plus national holidays|
Main places for jobs
Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro.
Degree, TEFL certificate preferred, local interview preferred.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Cost of living
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 with another teacher.
Tax and salary information
You should expect to be paid on a monthly basis. Make sure you actually have a contract or else you may have problems when it comes to payday.
|High demand for English tuition||Generally low pay and many employers are reluctant to offer proper, full-time contracts|
|Fantastic, sociable students||Teachers are usually expected to work split shifts and spend a lot of time travelling (which is unpaid)|
|There are plenty of other teachers in Brazil so you should have a good social network with both foreigners and locals alike||It is very difficult to find work unless you are already in the country|
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