Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Job search paying off

My current job search has been surprisingly easy and quick with results. I’ve been to about 7 or 8 schools (having taken only one competency test – scoring 147 out of 150) and have already been adopted as the in-house native English speaker at one school and have been recruited by another to conduct their daytime conversation classes.

What has made the search such a hoot has been the utter lack of ANYONE who speaks English at these English language schools! I’m sure there are teachers who can manage a conversation, but the front office staffs at all of the schools I have been to – without exception – were completely unable to understand my opening request: “May I speak to the person responsible for hiring teachers?”

Comical, but let’s be fair. I am looking for a job in Portuguese-speaking Brazil after all. So I switch to Portuguese and am understood. But it still makes me chuckle.

When I got a call to come in for an interview (message left in Portuguese) I wisely took Luiz with me for the meeting. The school owner with whom we met does not speak English at all. No matter – Luiz charmed him up one side and down the other. I just smiled and nodded occasionally. I got the job.

This is not a get-rich-quick career. Teaching English is rather notorious for being a relatively low-paying job. Long term strategies for making a living as an English teacher include breaking into the private instruction for adult business professionals niche or better yet being picked up as the in-house teacher/trainer for a multinational company needing to bring their staff up to speed to work globally.

There is quite a road ahead for myself, training-wise. Just being able to speak the language does not adequately prepare me to be an effective teacher. If I am really to make my way in this profession I’ll most likely be taking a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) course.

For now I can easily lead conversation-only classes (completely in English) and/or be trained by a school in their method to teach more beginning students. But again, the more flexible and financially rewarding job options will come from being a private teacher.

Once again Google is the master of the universe. An hour or so on the internet reaps great lesson plans and vocabulary lists for my students. So far so good.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

hey jim, i just found your blog through your link to my blog. i see you're living across the bay (i might be able to see your house from here!) and I wanted to let you know if you're ever in Zona Sul, let me know if you'd like to meet up! bjos