How Teaching English In Brazil Inspired Me To Take My TEFL and Pursue A Teaching Career
In 2016, I was given the amazing opportunity to teach English in the beautiful country of Brazil. In my first few weeks there, I learned how to teach by observing a professional instructor at the English language school and then practicing in front of my new colleagues. These were my first steps into the world of teaching.
This post was written by our ITTT graduate Kyler J.
During my first month at the English school in Brazil, I learned as much about the culture of Brazil and the students who lived there as I did about being a teacher. When I finally began working directly with the students in my second month, I started with the advanced and master classes. Later on, I would begin my work with the intermediate classes. The reason for this was largely based on the fact that I was just learning the local language of Portuguese and we would use the grammatical structure and words that were similar in their native tongue for the beginner classes. I needed a lot more time before I was ready for any of the beginner classes.
The methodology used at the school I worked at was to only speak English while in the classroom. This would help students learn more naturally than other methods that are often used. I worked primarily with adults, most of which wanted to learn English for their work environment or for the university they would attend. Because of their age and their reasons for learning, fostering relations with these students was made easier for me. Most of the students I taught were highly motivated. A few of the students struggled to learn and understand English. These particular students needed motivation and possibly a different methodology to achieve their goals of being English speakers. I found working with the students at the English school to be very rewarding. It was great to be able to see them progress to the point that we could hold conversations together in English and they were effective communicators.
Also read: The Top 5 Places to Teach English in Brazil
I can say without a doubt that I thoroughly enjoyed working with the students. I also enjoyed spending time with my fellow teachers and co-workers. We would discuss strategies and differences in culture and important English phrases. Things that seem so common in the English language can often cause problems or trip up ESL learners. Though I was only a first-year English teacher and felt as if I had a lot to learn, the students and other teachers would tell me of their appreciation for my work. Helping to teach others to read and become fluent English speakers as well as being greatly appreciated for my willingness to help were the greatest rewards I could ask for.
The books and programs in the curriculum that I used at the English school in Brazil were the "Engage, Study, Activate" stragegy. One of the difficulties I ran into while teaching these students in Brazil was that I was teaching them from a British English curriculum. British English can be different, at times, then American English. For example, there are many words and phrases used in British English that are not used in American English. Being able to explain this to my students was my first experience with culturally adaptive teaching. In conclusion, I believe that my experience teaching ESL students in Brazil was an enriching experience both culturally and educationally and I knew I wanted to do it again in the future.
Taking a TEFL certification to become a certified ESL teacher was the next logical step. I believe that language allows people to share so much more than just business acumen. Language can unite people that are separated geographically and culturally. I will be able to use the knowledge and tools I learned in Brazil to continue to teach students who are interested in learning English as a second language in the future.
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