By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s the final part of Joe’s excellent and epic guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.
Tools of the Teaching Trade
When I finally get home, I take a brisk shower to shake off the effects of the subway and bus ride, but wasn’t really able to relax, not with that HBO video on my mind. After grabbing another bite to eat, I hunker down to commence my laborious transcription.
Wouldn’t you know it, the telephone rings, only this time it’s Flora, apologizing for having wasted my time and asking me to please return the video tomorrow, as she has just learned that it’s not needed after all. Relieved, I graciously thank her and proceed to turn off the computer, television set, and VCR-now I can relax!
Some teachers may be curious as to what tools they might need in order to be set up for the life of a fulltime English-language instructor. Believe it or not, there’s really not all that much involved.
If you plan to teach in-company, you should carry with you a sturdy portable cassette player/recorder, preferably by a reputable maker. Try to avoid those quickie bargain-basement brands found on the stalls of so many camels (street vendors) scattered around town. They’re not worth the plastic they’re fabricated from. Cassette tapes are relatively cheap in price and can be used to record the sessions for later student playback.
The cassette player will be most useful for listening activities that accompany your language books. You’ll probably need some pointers on how to develop a decent library of materials, and on which learning aids to buy.
My own experience taught me that the excellent Interchange series of books (Cambridge University Publishers), along with Focus on Grammar, Business Objectives, True Stories in the News, Great Ideas, and other related workbooks and cassette tapes, are all good for practicing the Communicative Method. The best thing about them is that the teacher’s manuals come with ready-made lesson plans, thus saving you gobs of preparation time.
Where can you purchase these books and tapes? A good place to start is Livraria Cultura, located along Avenida Paulista in the Conjunto Nacional building, easily accessible by subway or bus. There are branches of this major bookstore chain in most large urban centers, but all their wares can be ordered online or by telephone. The staff are cordial and knowledgeable, an unbeatable combination in the time-is-money-conscious São Paulo. If you mention you’re a teacher at Livraria Cultura you may be able to get a discount.
Another excellent resource for teachers is Special Book Services, or SBS for short. They’re situated on Alameda Barros, in the Santa Ceclia section of the city. As a self-employed language instructor, you can even participate in their program of discounts (anywhere from 5 to 10 percent off) on goods and items bought at any of their branch outlets. They’re not as large a concern as Cultura, but offer a wide variety of teaching aids. And the employees are equally patient and polite, though not as well informed as the people at the Cultura stores.
Teaching at home will require additional implements in the way of blackboards, whiteboards, chalk, dictionaries, thesauruses, erasers, folders, markers, highlighters, paper, pens, and pencils, in addition to classroom furniture. These can be found in stores specializing in school and office supplies.
One of the best is Unilivros on Rua São Bento in downtown São Paulo, which caters to students and faculty of most of the well-known institutions of higher learning, including various private schools, colleges and universities. Their materials tend toward the pricier side, but they’re worth the extra cost if you are seriously inclined to making the teaching profession a lifelong endeavor.
For electronic or computer equipment, many of the local department stores are prime candidates for your patronage. Try Casas Bahia, Eletro-Brs, Lojas Pernambucanas, or other similar establishments, readily found in the ubiquitous shopping malls in just about every neighborhood.
Be wary of stores offering a payment plan called parcelado, or monthly installments, as the interest on your original purchase will mount up precipitously; their rates are notoriously high at best, so avoid them like the plague.
As a final wrap-up to this topic, it may be to your best advantage to buy as many of the teaching aids you think you might need even before you reach Brazilian shores.
Of course, it’s difficult to plan that far forward, or to anticipate your future needs, with regard to the type of students you’ll be teaching; but it could save you big bucks later on, and spare you a major portion of your expense outlay, in buying up as many of the books, tapes, learning materials, and videos as you can possibly lay your hands on. These items are very expensive in Brazil, due mostly to the unfavorable exchange rates-although they are all supposedly free from import duties and taxes.
Don’t forget to ask for assistance from colleagues, compatriots, friends, acquaintances, relatives, and people you socialize with who are in the teaching profession, especially those with intimate knowledge of the ups-and-downs of the English language market. You’ll need their expertise, counsel and advice to keep you going when the going gets tough, which it frequently will from time to time-trust me on this.
When in doubt, just drop me a note. I’ll be glad to respond to any questions or concerns you may have about teaching English as a foreign language in Brazil.
Have fun, stay healthy, keep smiling, and boa sorte (good luck)!
Copyright 2006 by Josmar F. Lopes
A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.
To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:
Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?“