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  • The pros and cons of working as an English teacher

    Posted on March 3rd, 2009 Mairo Vergara 9 comments

    teacher_appleI have been working as an English teacher for about 2 months now. I really like my job. It’s amazing to see how the students are pleased with their progress. Students start with no knowledge whatsoever and in just one month they can follow the English-only classes without many problems. Working with a group, teaching them how to understand and using this strange language is just awesome. I really like the classes and my students. I am working like crazy, learning a lot and doing what I have always wanted to do.

    But of course there are some problems. We are really, REALLY poorly paid. I get paid 6,44 reais (“reais” is the Brazilian currency) per hour (“class hour”, which is 50 minutes). It means I get 12 reais for each class (the classes have duration of an hour and a half). Working 21 hours inside the classroom (plus 10 or more hours preparing classes, correcting tests, and so on) I end up with a salary of 680 reais (around 280 dolars). Just to let you know, a cheap rent here in Brazil is about 550 reais…

    Besides being absolutely poorly paid, another thing bugs me a lot. The school treats the teachers like robots that areinto the students head. It’s all about the money! If there are fewer students in a class, they just move the students to a different class, hindering both the students’ progress and the teachers’ work. It’s funny how the classes/students’ organization is made by non-teachers, who absolutely don’t understand what happens inside a classroom.

    I dream about a school made by teachers for teachers, a place where they care first about the students, second about the teachers and after that about the money. Finally, I understood what people mean by “transforming education in marketing” able to magically insert the English language