By Robert Eugene DiPaolo
You might think that the fastest and easiest way to get a permanent visa in Brazil would be to marry a Brazilian. However, there is actually a more efficient and convenient way to obtain permanent residency in Brazil. And one that does not require you to make a lifetime commitment, or an emotion-based decision undertaken in the throes of passion on the way to the airport on the day your tourist visa is set to expire.

In an apparent effort to attract individual investments in Brazil, Brazil’s National Immigration Council, or the NIC, in October 2004, issued Resolution 60/04 regarding the issuance of permanent visas to individual foreign investors. This Resolution, which replaced Resolution 28 from November 1998, reduced the amount of money a foreign individual is required to invest in Brazil to obtain a permanent residency visa from US$200,000 to US$50,000, making this an affordable, efficient and convenient way to obtain permanent residency in Brazil.

This new regulation actually gives foreign investors two options. The first option, which we will refer to as Option 1″ allows the foreign investor to obtain a permanent visa by investing US$50,000 or more in Brazil. The second option, which we will refer to as “Option 2” permits the foreign individual to invest less than US$50,000 in connection with the submission of a plan to create at least ten new jobs in the five year period following the date of such investment. In either case, the funds must be invested into a newly formed or an existing Brazilian company and employed in productive activities in Brazil.

There a few things that you should know about this permanent visa for foreign investors. First, while it is referred to in the resolution as a “permanent visa”, it is actually something less than permanent. In fact, this permanent visa expires after five years. At the end of five years the law allows the investor to renew the visa by demonstrating that he or she continues to be an investor in Brazil and presenting documentation in connection therewith. Given that it has been less than five years since this resolution was enacted, the process by which such renewal will be granted is not yet clear. However, since the sole requirement in terms of the use of the invested funds is that they be deployed toward productive activities in Brazil, it’s reasonable to anticipate that the investment must remain in Brazil and be deployed during such five year period into some productive activity, such as opening a new business, participating in an existing business, or purchasing a piece of real estate. With respect to Option 2, it’s reasonable to anticipate that at the end of such five year period, the investor will need to have created at least ten jobs in Brazil as specified in his or her investment plan.

The second thing you should understand about this visa is that while the criteria to obtain a visa pursuant to Option 1 are completely objective, the criteria pursuant to Option 2 are completely subjective. Under Option 1, if you invest US$50,000 or more in a new or existing company, properly register the investment in Brazil, and apply for the visa, you will be issued the residency visa. Unlike many other things in Brazil, the process is fairly straightforward. Under Option 2 however, the new law does not provide any guidelines regarding what criteria should be used to evaluate the investor’s plan to create ten new jobs in Brazil, or what amount of money less than US$50,000 would be considered reasonable to do so. As a result, the NIC’s evaluation and decision is completely discretionary. This means that the review of a visa application pursuant to Option 2 will take much longer and that decisions pursuant thereto will likely not be uniform so as to provide any real guidance for the would be investor to follow. So, if you don’t happen to have US$50,000 to invest in Brazil, marriage may prove to be your best option. If however you do, then this is the most convenient and efficient way to secure permanent residency in Brazil.

The third thing you should know about this visa is that there is a lot of misinformation about it, including at the website of Consulate General of Brazil in San Francisco, which confuses the requirements of Option 1 and Option 2. Others have incorrectly assumed that the requirement that the invested funds must be employed in productive activities in Brazil prohibits the investor from purchasing non-commercial real estate, such as a beach house, or other investments which may not seem to have an obvious commercial purpose. The law simply does not specify what “productive activities” means or does not mean, and given that any such purchase will be made through a newly formed or existing company, there is no reason to assume that such purchases would not satisfy the requirements set forth in this resolution. In any event, if you wish to acquire an investor visa, it is advised that you obtain your advice from a competent professional, who is familiar with the law and its related requirements. And if you happen to read Portuguese, you can read the full text of the resolution yourself, which can be easily found by putting “Resoluão Normativa n 60, de 06 de outubro de 2004” into your favorite search engine on the world wide web.

The purpose of this article is not to bore you with all the details regarding the process which you will need to go through to obtain a permanent residency visa by investing in Brazil, from organizing a new company, obtaining your tax payer identity card or Cadastro de Pessosa Fsicas to registering your investment with Banco Central do Brasil, but to provide you with a clear understanding of the legal requirements, and to dispel frequent misunderstandings about them. When you are ready to undertake the task of obtaining a permanent investor visa, your lawyer will guide you through all the steps you will need to take. If you choose Option 1, the process is fairly straight forward and completely objective. However, if you are considering Option 2, which generally speaking is not recommended, you may want to reconsider the marriage option. Just don’t make your decision on the way to the airport on the last day on which your tourist visa is valid. Such a decisions made in the throes of passion often end up being far more costly, not to mention complicated, in the long run.

Mr. DiPaolo is the managing director of The Fidelis Group do Brasil Consultoria, Ltda., a legal/business consultancy specializing in assisting non-Brazilians who want to do business or invest in Brazil and Brazilians who want to do business or invest in the U.S. You can find out more about The Fidelis Group at www.fidelisgroupco.com or contact Mr. DiPaolo directly at dipaolo@fidelisgroupco.com.

Previous articles by Robert:

Doing Business In Brazil: Part 5 – Acquisitions, Investments and Joint Ventures
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 4 – The Despachante
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 3 – Starting Your Business
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 2 – The Variety of Brazilian Companies
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 1

By Volker Ruther
This is one in a series of helpful articles by Volker which are a collection of information and experiences about how and where to get documents and permissions, or how to resolve bureaucratic subjects and matters in Brazil as a foreigner.

Note that although the best efforts have been made to ensure the information is valid, we cannot guarantee that it is 100% correct, as the article is based on a mixture of personal experiences and information that has been collected from various sources like Internet sites, official documents and an exchange of experiences with other foreigners in Brazil. Also even Brazilian law is subject to change, and often difficult to interpret.

Always check your own situation via a suitable source e.g. consulate or appropriately qualified lawyer, before proceeding.

To be able to work legally in Brazil it’s necessary to have the Carteira de Trabalho e Previdncia Social (CTPS, the Work and Social Security Card). This is issued by the Delegacia Regional do Trabalho (DRT, the Regional Work Delegacy) located in larger cities. When you get a job it is entered on the CTPS, which is also updated with new jobs, raises, and holidays/vacations.

You need the following documents to apply for the CTPS, depending on your visa status and if you already have a CIE (Cdula de Identidade de Estrangeiro, the foreigner’s ID card covered in the previous article).

It’s possible to apply for the CTPS while waiting for the visa, as long as the Federal Police can provide the printout of the SINCRE (Sistema Nacional de Registro de Estrangeiros).

Here is a table of the document requirements depending on your Visa status:

Type of Visa With CIE Without CIE
Residence/Permanent (Permanente) 1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the CIE
1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the Protocolo from the application for the CIE
3. Photocopy of the printout of the SINCRE
4. Photocopy of passport
Temporary V (Temporario V) 1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the CIE
3. Photocopy of the working contract
4. Photocopy of passport
5. Publication of the DOU
1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the Protocolo from the application for the CIE
3. Photocopy of the working contract
4. Photocopy of passport
5. Publication of the DOU
Provisional Registration (Registro Provisório) 1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the CIE
1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the Protocolo from the application for the CIE
3. Photocopy of the printout of the SINCRE

As part of the application you will also need to provide a 3x4cm photo (colour or black and white).

The photocopy of the passport must contain the main page with all personal details and also the page with the visa and the stamp when you entered Brazil.

When all documents have been handed in successfully, the CTPS will be ready in around 10 days. The validity is as per the the CIE, usually 10 years.

The DOU (Dirio Oficial da União) newspaper can be viewed at http://www.in.gov.br or http://www.mj.gov.br.

To contact Volker, as well as get a copy of his free eBook (PDF) of this information, send an email to mineiro_alemao@hotmail.com.

Previous articles by Volker:

Understanding Brazil: CIE – Foreigners ID CardUnderstanding Brazil: The Permanent Visa

By Gringo Blogger
By way of introduction I’m a foreigner who’s lived in São Paulo city for a few years. I came here for romantic reasons with the hopes of finding a job, like many gringos (only to find out that getting work in Brazil is a near impossible task). So I’m not your typical wealthy gringo. Thankfully I am now working part time in a great job, but am still on the Holy Grail-like quest of finding full time work. I married my girlfriend early last year, so have some idea of the highs and lows of a multicultural relationship.

In my blog I’m just documenting some of the day-to-day events that happen to me, amusing or not, to give an impression of what it’s like for a gringo living in the bustling metropolis of São Paulo, and Brazil in general. It’s at times also meant as a tongue in cheek look at gringo life, so shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

The past couple of months have not seen any change in the employment situation, that is nothing in terms of full time and decent paying work. There have been one or two tantalising opportunities, one better than any to-date, at least both seemed that way at first.

The first was a call from what seemed to be a headhunter, situated somewhere near Ana Rosa. I was told they had connections with various Blue Chip companies, and had a specific IT job in mind for me, therefore would I go and see them. So I donned the suit, and headed out for the interview. When I arrived there something seemed a little odd, simply from the number of other people there being interviewed, and I began to smell a rat. I was called into an interview and the interviewer was friendly, but a little too friendly as if trying to sell something. I was shown a number of business cards in a holder from various large Brazilian companies and Multinationals e.g. Siemens, IBM, Microsoft. Once the spiel was over it got to the inevitable sting in the tail, which was that I’d have to pay to join their database which of course would lead to a great job”. I wasn’t quite so sure though, and the whole thing reeked of being a scam. It was also similar to an experience I’d had a year or so before with another supposed job agency in Av. Paulista. The other agency there wanted me to pay to take an exam, costing R$100, before I could be allowed on their system. So I declined with a polite “thanks, but no thanks” on both that and this occasion, and left feeling rather disillusioned.

The second opportunity was a little more realistic, and came via the Internet heavyweight Catho. I continue to hear good and bad things about Catho, but mostly bad for foreigners at least. I have been registered with them for almost 3 years, and have applied for many jobs through the site, albeit with pretty much nothing in the way of return so far. This particular position, in software sales, came out of the blue as a request to attend an interview the next day. It was a little problematic as the interview was at the company’s office in Brooklin, so it meant a rather complex trip across the city to get there on time, as unfortunately I don’t own, nor can afford to own a car. The interview was with a Human Resources consultant, that had been contracted by the company. It was quite a lengthy interview of about an hour, in Portuguese, during which all the typical topics were discussed. The salary was stated as being R$2000 (around 500/US$1000) which I was rather dismayed to hear. This was also a registered job, so would be subject to tax (it’s believed that around 50% of jobs in Brazil are “cash in hand”, hence bypass tax). R$2000 is around 25% of the average salary in the southeast of the UK, where I’m from, and around 15% of the best salary I’d had in the last few years of working in the UK. Despite this I didn’t think about it too much, and decided to push on with trying, although even after all this time living in Brazil I think I was still a little naive to the difference in salaries.

After the first interview I was told I would be called in a week or so about the position. A week went by and I got a call to attend a second interview. The time stated was difficult for me, so as I was used to in the UK I asked about the option to change to a later time. The HR consultant stated that I arrived at this time, or I didn’t attend the interview, simple as that. So with the lack of choice in mind I arrived at the interview at the requested time, again travelling across the city to get there. This time around there were a group of 6 others, all Brazilians, and all suited and booted. We were left in a room to chat, and called one at a time to do psychological tests. I was rather bemused that a lowly sales job required such extensive interviewing, but stuck with it, and sat through sets of cards with faces on that I had to judge as happy, sad, sympathetic etc. It didn’t help the test that the photos on the cards appeared to date from the 19th century. Following this we all had to write some text about various aspects of software (either Portuguese or English, and I opted for English), then a supposed email to a customer, only in Portuguese of course. Again we were told we’d be contacted in a week or so about whether we would proceed.

A couple of weeks went by so I had assumed that I hadn’t got the job, but then I got another phonecall from the HR consultant saying that they wanted to interview me again. “Again?!”, I thought. The interview time was a problem again, but negotiation for a different time was clearly not an option so I turned up the following day at the appointed time. This interview was with the sales manager of the company, and after some discussion with him, and some more discussion with the HR consultant, I was again told I’d be contacted in a week or so. The topic of salary was raised by the HR consultant, and she made it relatively clear that she thought that R$2000 was very low for the position. Even the sales manager queried that I was content with the salary. If there doubts weren’t enough, I was already starting to have some doubts of my own as to whether the position was worthwhile at this amount, as I already have two part time jobs that combined are not far off this full time salary (bearing in mind this was before tax) and don’t require travelling halfway across the city every day.

Again a couple of weeks went by, and I had started the IT course discussed in a previous blog entry. I had again assumed that I hadn’t got the job to the lack of contact, but then I received a message on my mobile phone during a morning study session that there was an interview that afternoon at 3pm, again at the company’s office. By this point I’d had a saco cheio as they say in Portuguese, that is I’d about had it with this particular job application. This was the fourth interview for a job that I wasn’t really sure about, mostly because the salary was too low. I’m all for adapting to living in Brazil, and the different ways of doing things, but even so I’ve only ever had one job application in the UK proceed to a second interview. So I decided, with a bit of disappointment, to give up with it and not attend the interview.

Combined with the job disappointments there have been financial problems. The money I earn part time is enough to pay the bills with a little extra over, but not enough to contribute towards a family, or for savings, or to fund the inevitable trips home (flights to the UK are currently around 800/US$1600/R$3000). After almost 3 years of living in Brazil it has finally dawned on me that finding work here for a foreigner is an almost impossible task, even more so with a salary that I’d be used to in the UK. It’s also dawned on me that I will always be struggling financially here, even more so with children. This was something that I had been completely naive to when I arrived. I had naively expected, albeit given some time, that I would walk into a job with a multinational as foreigners would be a prized commodity. Whereas foreigners applying for jobs here are pretty much at the bottom of the CV pile.

So I’m now facing the decision of whether to return to the UK, or face a markedly different life in Brazil to the one I had expected. The decision is complicated even further by other factors, such as the enjoyment of some aspects in Brazil, particularly my part time work and the climate. I still miss the UK lifestyle, even though it’s likely to only be afforded by a rather dull 9-5 office job. After several months of thinking hard about the topic I’m still no closer to making a decision, although with a return flight due at Christmas, and no money to buy a flight back to Brazil, my hand may well be forced.

Do you have any comments on Gringo Blogger’s blog? If so send them to mark@www.gringoes.com and we’ll add them to the article.

Previous articles by Gringo Blogger:

Brazil Blog: Studying
Brazil Blog: The Cleaner
Brazil Blog: Dealing With Doctors
Brazil Blog: Showers
Brazil Blog: Dia Dos Namorados
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 3
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 2
Brazil Blog: Fishing Trip Part 1
Brazil Blog: Feira Frustration

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?

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s part 20 of Joe’s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

Language & Cultural Barriers
I get to Santana and immediately mount the long flight of stairs down to street level to transfer to a bus. When I was a rookie paulistano and still green in the ways of commuting, I used to wait on those interminable queues at the subway station for the next bus to take me home. Later, I learned to walk to the next corner, a mere two blocks away, where the choice in bus lines was far greater and the waiting time next to nothing.

Today, I happen to take a bus that I’m not too familiar with, and notice that it turns into a side street I’ve never been on before. Realizing I probably took the wrong conveyance in error, I walk up to the cobrador (change-maker) and ask him if the bus goes to Avenida Nova Cantareira. He stares at me for a moment and doesn’t answer.

Equally perplexed, I ask him a second time if the bus goes to Nova Cantareira. He rattles off some incomprehensible riposte, but then I notice a metal sign behind him that indicates this bus definitely does not go to my desired destination. I hurriedly get off and take the next one to the correct stop.

For someone such as myself – born in Brazil, but raised in the good ole USA – the impenetrable parlance of many of the Nordestinos (people from the Northeast), who populate the greater metropolitan area, both intrigued and exasperated me. But there was more than just their accent at work here. After being away from the country for close to 40 years, the native culture was now as alien to me as that of Afghanistan’s.

As an example, I once went with my wife to the Santana subway station in preparation for a trip to downtown. I decided to make a quick pit stop into the men’s room before venturing forth. It was the first time I had been in a Brazilian public restroom in nearly a quarter century, but I rightly assumed it to be similar (in most respects) to every other restroom I had ever used in my life, so I did not expect much in the way of difficulty.

When I got inside, I was greeted by a long and glistening metallic trough. It was slightly higher than my waist and covered the entire length of the bathroom wall. Not finding any of the usual stalls or urinals I had been accustomed to seeing in the States, I deduced that this must be where the guys did their thing, so I opened up the old fly, stood on my tiptoes, and proceeded to relieve myself.

No sooner had I begun, than a highly indignant subway employee – dressed somewhat like the janitor, I suppose – came over and started yelling at me. He rudely pushed me aside, the action of which led me to inquire as to the reason for his belligerent behavior. I gathered from his loud demeanor that I had committed some grievous faux pas, but couldn’t imagine what it might have been.

Zipping up my trousers, I attempted to explain myself to this hothead. From what I could fathom of the janitor’s shrill reprove, I shouldn’t have been doing what I had just done. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I had urinated in the public sink tank, set aside for the main purpose of washing one’s hands and face.

I beat a hasty retreat from the restroom, flushed with enough vergonha (embarrassment) to light up Jardim Frana at Christmastime, and ran right into the protective arms of my dear and loving wife – who laughed uncontrollably at my discomfort when I told her what had transpired.

Let this particular incident serve as notice to any-and-all male newcomers to Brazil: when in doubt as to the public rest facilities, make sure you ask around before dipping your paintbrush into an unknown well.

It should also demonstrate to all foreign teachers that you must bring your Portuguese language and culture skills up to an acceptable communicative level, or you will be left by the wayside should a truly serious situation develop that necessitates your total involvement.

Part 21 next week…

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 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?

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s part 19 of Joe’s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

Welcome to Chaos!
Going back home after not having taught class really irks me – especially since I have yet to get started on this dumb HBO video. But I really can’t complain, since I now have the rest of the afternoon to do the transcription.

Hey, what was that? Oh no, the subway has just stopped between stations, and all the lights have gone out! Now the overhead fans have stopped circulating!!! Boy, it’s really getting hot in here after only a few minutes. What the hell is going on now, anyway?

I feel the subway car lurch forward, and several people are thrown together by accident. Well, we’re moving again. Must have been one of those five-minute, energy-saver breaks I’ve heard about – you know, where the city’s subway lines just sit there on the platform, with no lights, for minutes at a stretch. This is São Paulo’s radical new solution for energy conservation. Huh, good thing it was only for a short spell.

The last time I got stuck in a stalled subway car it lasted for over an hour. And another time, all the passengers were told to disembark from a car that had suddenly caught fire. The platform at the Praa da S station was filled up in seconds with people from the other arriving and departing subway trains. It was a positively claustrophobic experience that reminded me too much of Manhattan during rush hour.

Frequent work stoppages and strikes, as well as unplanned delays, demonstrations and detours, are all common occurrences in the big cities, and can happen at most any time.

Luckily, I only experienced a few such minor slowdowns, but they were enough to disrupt the flow of traffic and prevent me from getting to class on time. I would usually try to replace the missing session, but it’s not really a requirement since it wasn’t my fault. Besides, my schedule had grown so large that I rarely had time anymore for replacement classes. You, too, will find this to be the case. Offer to give the student a discount on next month’s payment, if replacing the canceled lesson proves to be impractical.

Early in my teaching career, as I was going to a private in-company class, the bus I was on came to a grinding halt along Avenida Tiradentes and did not move for over ten minutes. Some of the more impatient passengers onboard started to shout abuse at the driver without knowing what exactly was going on.

From my window seat, I could see several perueiros (private van drivers) staging an impromptu demonstration along the side street that emptied out into the main avenue. The van drivers were fuming over some city ordinance or other that required them to pay additional fees to register their vehicles with the Department of Transportation.

In protest, they had strategically parked their vans right in the middle of Tiradentes to prevent any oncoming traffic from moving.

As I was watching them, the van drivers grew more and more agitated with our bus – and started yelling at the driver and at various passersby. I decided to leave in a hurry. Walking brusquely past the dueling drivers, I headed straight for the elevated subway line for the ride back home. I wasn’t about to risk my hide over some ridiculous disturbance, and I certainly wasn’t about to risk being without a means to get back home – which seemed very likely, given the length of time it took to bring the situation to a semblance of normalcy along Tiradentes.

When I finally got home, I tried to contact my student to inform him of the delay and, more importantly, to cancel the lesson. I was told that he had gone to a late-afternoon business appointment and wasn’t expected back in the office until the next morning – and he hadn’t even called to inform me beforehand of this change in plan.

If I had gone to meet him downtown that evening, I would most certainly have been stood up. As luck would have it, I chose the right course of action.

I cite this incident not to scare teachers away but merely to alert them to the very real, and ever-present, inevitability of strikes, slowdowns, demonstrations, and the like; and to train them to be prepared at all times for emergency situations which they may need to face in order to teach.

Always plan on an alternate route to-and-from your class or home. Unfortunately, the options here may be limited, because if traffic stops in one part of the city, it may very likely stall in another.

Congestion in the Big Abacaxi (pineapple) is a universally accepted fact of daily urban life, as is the ever-present crime and violence; in other sleepier towns and villages these problems may not exist, or be as bad, but there might be other hazards that take the place of crawling traffic lanes. Keep your eyes open at all times to avoid serious trouble.

Subway workers, bus drivers, bank employees, autoworkers, civil servants, municipal and government employees, and many other functionaries frequently stage walkouts in sympathy with their brother protesters. In the event of strikes or other mass interruptions, stay tuned to a good all-news radio or television station for the latest up-to-the-minute information.

Part 20 next week…

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 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?

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s part 18 of Joe’s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

It’s Getting Late
Glancing furtively at the time – an occupational holdover from my Wall Street days – I see that it’s now 12:40 p.m., and still no student. I have the receptionist call Snia again, who, I’m told, has just gone out to lunch. I instinctively grab the telephone receiver and speak to Marly, another secretary, to try and get to the bottom of this.

Hello, Marly? It’s Joe. How are you? Can you tell me if Mrcio has called yet?”

“Yes, Joe,” she replies, “he just called in to say that he couldn’t make it to class today. I’m so sorry about that. Snia didn’t tell you?”

I thank her for this latest news flash, hand the phone back to the receptionist, shrug in resignation, and return my visitor’s badge to the security desk. I then rush out of the lobby with the video in hand, and prepare for the long trek back.

Being stood up is a major dor de cabea (headache), I don’t mind telling you, for private teachers, who are busy enough as it is not to have to worry about no-shows, let alone be able to confront cancellations on a periodic basis. Often, they must plan their day well in advance, and to the split second.

Going to class and not having students show up – especially after they’ve already confirmed the lesson – is a precious waste of time and resources, and downright disrespectful as well. I couldn’t help but get stewed over the situation.

However, students are not always responsible for their cancellations, as business obligations do take precedence over English classes. The teacher must realize this and tread lightly, where the student is concerned, to avoid a direct confrontation with the frequent offender. A well-placed suggestion, or “word-to-the-wise” talk, can usually overcome most stumbling blocks. But be prepared for those inevitable missed sessions; just try not to take them too personally, as they are nothing more than ossos do ofcio (part of the job).

How long should a teacher give a student no-show? I usually waited about half the lesson, say approximately 45 minutes of a 90-minute class. There are no hard and fast rules regarding this, by the way, but a goodly amount of patience – and reasonably sound judgment – are warranted on the teacher’s part before getting up and going on to something else.

One possible solution to this problem may be for teachers to space out their classes more evenly to allow for a variety of unforeseen circumstances. Making gaps, or janelinhas (windows), in your daily itinerary may help to alleviate the stress of those annoying times when you find yourself falling behind schedule. They are also of immeasurable aid in having to replace a canceled class.

Speaking of which, teachers should try to keep those Saturday-morning sessions and early-afternoon weekend hours open for this and other purposes. It may mean postponing a planned family outing at the beach, or that longed-for excursion to the countryside, but it can prove most profitable to you in the long run. You never know when you’ll get a call for that extra teaching assignment, or that last minute translation task, which will necessitate putting in some serious overtime hours.

I frequently found myself working many a Saturday – and all day Sunday, too – just to complete the transcription for one of those “wonderful” HBO cable-TV programs (ah, the good old days!).

Again, you will learn by experience and decide what is best for your own particular situation.

Part 19 next week…

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 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?

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s part 17 of Joe’s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

Put It in Writing
The history of the teaching profession is littered with tales of pupils who were either the class pet or on permanent detention. Indeed, not every student you accept will turn out to be a Hermione Granger, or even a Harry Potter, for that matter. Some of them can even be downright ornery at times – and behave more like a Draco Malfoy – while others help make the session pass ever so slowly with their bad manners and disruptive antics (see Lesson 2″ for the gory details).

Since your primary aim will be to teach adult learners, you will need to protect your rights with regard to giving classes. Having a written contract between you and your student is one of the best ways to do this.

My wife helped me put together a version of a contract in Portuguese on the reverse side of the main document, but the basic content of your agreement should spell out the class rules and regulations in a clear, concise, and easy-to-read manner.

You do not need to be an expert in Contract Law or write like a Supreme Court justice to be able to create something functional, but your agreement should certainly cover the following points:

  • Hourly rates and fees;
  • Days and times you are available to teach;
  • When payment is due, and how much;
  • What to do in case of insufficient funds checks;
  • Late-payment charges and bad-check penalties;
  • Days off, including federal, state and municipal holidays;
  • Vacation time, the duration of it, and when;
  • Cancellations and emergency situations;
  • Policy regarding makeup classes;
  • Rate adjustments or increases due to inflation;
  • Anything else of importance.

There were only a few times in my teaching career where I had to haggle with students over late payment for classes, reluctance to pay for my vacation and holiday time, or the passing of bad checks. Somehow, when students are forced to put their signature to a piece of parchment, they tend to take their classes a little more seriously.

Make sure you go over the details of your agreement before the student signs on the dotted line. It’s usually a good idea to spend the first session of class in an informal, relaxed discussion about this topic-all the better to iron out potential problems prior to facing future misunderstandings later on.

As a sidebar to this issue, the Brazilian notion of what is a legally binding agreement between individuals versus the American (or foreign) notions of what it is are altogether different, and much maligned to boot. Some business people I used to teach were under the rather mistaken impression that the written contract was only the beginning of our negotiations – and, ergo, wide-open to interpretation at that; whereas, in the Anglo-Saxon Common Law tradition the contract is ultimately the final result of them.

But whether your agreement has the force of law behind it or not is irrelevant, for the very act of putting it all down on paper – and making the student recognize the seriousness of the business relationship you are trying to establish – is more than enough to lend it credence.

Still, expect some of the brainier bunch in your groups to deliberately question, argue over, deny, nullify, misconstrue, waive away, or even distort the finer points of your accord should you ever have the need to chastise them over some abuse of its terms.

Hopefully, this will not happen too often, but it’s good to know that you’ve “got it in writing” whenever the time does come to properly defend yourself.

Part 18 next week…

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 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?

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s part 16 of Joe’s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

In this final set of articles I conclude my discussion regarding the practical side of the profession, and move on to some of the language and cultural problems foreign teachers face, as well as talk about the tools of the teaching trade.

Sessão da Tarde (Afternoon Session)
To make certain that there will be an afternoon lunchtime class, I call my student’s secretary, Snia, to confirm the session.

Hello, Snia?”

“Oi, J,” (Hi, Joe) she answers. It’s funny how after only a few weeks of teaching in-company the informality of Brazilians quickly becomes apparent. I can still remember when it used to be “Bom dia, Seu Josmar” (Good morning, Josmar, sir), before I became a regular visitor.

“Oi, Snia, tudo bem? (Hi Snia, how are you?) Is Mrcio there? I called to confirm our class.”

“Mrcio is not here. He went to see a client, but he’ll return by noontime, so I think there will be a class.”

“OK, thanks a lot. I’ll see you later. Tchau (Bye).”

I grab my case with all my teaching accoutrements and head off once more for the trip to downtown. This will be my second tour today of the Centro, with this class being a bit of a minor setback for me, but I still have enough time to work on my friend Flora’s HBO video after I return home. Besides, I need to go downtown anyway to pick it up, and could certainly use the exercise: all that bread, butter and cheese in the mornings are starting to deposit themselves along my expanding waistline.

After about an hour’s ride, I arrive in downtown at precisely noon, sign in at the front desk, and ask the receptionist to call Mrcio to let him know I’m here. The receptionist gets the secretary on the line, talks to her for a few seconds, then hangs up to tell me that Mrcio hasn’t arrived yet-but if I would like to wait for him in the lobby, I’m most welcome to do so.

Uh-oh, I’ve heard this one before. Nine times out of ten, if my students haven’t shown up by the usual lunch-hour starting time they’re not likely to appear at all.

Just then, Flora’s husband comes busting through the doors. He’s a boisterous, bespectacled fellow of about 70, with a wavy head of salt-and-pepper hair, and the rapid-fire mannerisms of a first-generation Italian descendant. He’s full of anecdotes about his time in Rio de Janeiro, and his younger days as a mechanical engineer in the wilds of West Africa.

We exchange greetings as he slips the HBO video into my waiting palms. He’s in a terrible rush, as always, and can’t really stay. No, not even for a quick cafzinho. He suggests we go out for a cup the next time he stops by. It’ll be his treat. Promise. Then in a flash, he’s gone, just as suddenly as he arrived.

I wait around for a half-hour or so, all the while conversing with the receptionist, whose English is simply appalling. Much to my general bereavement, she keeps threatening to have classes with me.

“I thought all receptionists were supposed to speak English,” I comment to her.

“Yayz, we speekee, but I needee taykee cless. You teechee?” she inquires.

“Umm… I’m kind of booked up at the moment,” I cringe, “but here’s my card. Call me in a month or two, and I’ll see what’s available.”

Against my better judgment, I once took on a receptionist as a student, but she could only have class during her lunch break. We couldn’t have any sessions on the premises as she wasn’t really a company employee (security and reception personnel are often contracted out to third-party firms) and, therefore, not allowed access to the upstairs offices. We didn’t have anywhere else to go-except to the local restaurant.

We wound up having a very one-sided conversation at a diner somewhere along Rua General Jardim, as waiters scurried about our table tending to the lunchtime crowds. I felt as if we were in the eye of a storm.

As you can imagine, it was an absolutely dreadful class. Besides, the receptionist only wanted to gossip about the other employees of the firm, which I adamantly declined to do. Thankfully, she stopped having lessons soon after that class, to my great relief.

Part 17 next week…

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 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?

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s part 15 of Joe’s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

One Last Call
I get ready for my noontime class. Before leaving, I make myself a light snack just to have something solid in my stomach. As I munch on my sandwich, the telephone rings. My wife answers and it’s Vera, a lawyer friend of mine, who dabbles as an English language teacher on the side.

Lately, because of the turnaround in the economy, Vera’s law practice has been sliding a bit, so she’s been doing more translation and teaching work as financial stopgaps. I take the call, knowing that my friend will keep on calling me until I respond to her query.

She says she needs my help with a translation of some phrases” for a legal document she’s preparing. I spend about twenty minutes on the line with her, trying to waylay her “doubts” about the text. She wants me to review her work and make any changes to it before she prints it out for her client. I tell her to send it to me via email and I will get to it later today. She thanks me for my help, as I hand the receiver back to my wife.

I met Vera while I was attending a gathering of teaching colleagues at a mutual friend’s house. She earned her Master’s degree in Linguistics, taught English as a Foreign Language at União Cultural, and was currently working on her post-graduate thesis in Comparative Law.

As a non-native speaker, though, there were moments when she was simply unable to grasp the innate subtleties of the English language. At those times, she required the assistance of a competent legal advisor.

Since I happened to have a paralegal degree from an accredited American university, I was more than willing to help Vera with her ingls jurdico (legal English), which is used in all forms of Contract Law, Criminal Law, Procedural and Substantive Law, Civil and Matrimonial Law, as well as Bankruptcy and Immigration Law.

For Vera’s law studies group, I was even able to teach several courses of my own design, which were taught in English (with a smattering of Portuguese), and tailored to the tastes of lawyers, law students, secretaries and other legal professionals.

As I mentioned before in Lesson 1, prospective teachers need to look carefully at their own business backgrounds or past specialties, and try to turn their previous work experience into potentially lucrative fields that may involve the use of English.

Other areas that may be applicable here are the airline industry, journalism, travel and tourism, hotel and hospitality, manufacturing, metallurgy, agriculture, crop science, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, engineering, Internet, computer technology, and sales, marketing and research.

Take a Card, Any Card
Your business card can be your entry ticket to many potential teaching opportunities, both of a temporary or permanent nature.

Be sure to have your pertinent contact information (including name, home address, home telephone number, cell phone number, pager, email address, and Internet website) all professionally printed on good quality stock. You can either do this yourself, if you have the requisite software and high-speed printer, or have one of the many specialty print shops around town do it for you.

While you are at it, try to think up a clever phrase, slogan, or jingle describing exactly what you do. It makes it easier for your potential pupils to remember you by. And have it printed on your business card, too. It can be anything within reason that tells students you’re in the “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” business.

Have a recognizable foreign symbol or logo printed onto the card that will connect you to your place of origin. For example, I used to have the American flag and a bald eagle – quite apropos, in my case – placed on all my business cards, followed by my title (Mr. Joe Lopes, but not Josmar, which sounds too Brazilian), my profession (English Teacher), and a brief description of my services (translations, subtitling, dubbing of videos, English for Business Purposes, Legal English, whatever).

Hand them out to as many people as you come into contact with on a regular basis. You never know where they will end up, or in whose hands.

Before you know it, your telephone will be ringing off the hook, especially after Carnival, when most companies and their employees seem ready and willing to get down to the serious business of learning English.

Part 16 next week…

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 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?