Paulo Flores is a half-Peruvian, half-American teacher currently fulfilling his dream of living in Brazil. Seven years ago, he decided to make a career switch from working as a hotel clerk to an English teacher in Rio de Janeiro, after obtaining his online TEFL certification from Bridge. He tells us more about his life teaching English in Brazil, one of South America’s most culturally diverse countries.
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and how did you choose the 120-Hour BridgeTEFL Master Certificate course?
A lot of the higher-end schools require an international teaching certificate, so I decided to get TEFL certified. I chose Bridge because a friend of mine recommended it. That’s why I decided to complete the TEFL course here.
How did you decide on your teaching location and how did you get your TEFL job?
It was based on my personal dream to live in Rio de Janeiro. Also, while I was here, I decided that I needed a career change. I found my job through a fundraiser I attended. The people there were looking to expand to a new favela and were seeking a local teacher, so we kind of clicked.
Can you tell us about your current teaching job in Rio?
I work for an NGO called Kids Learning with Love. Its focus is to teach English in Rio’s favelas. I’m teaching a mix of 7 to 65-year-old students with different educational backgrounds as well as different levels of English. I usually teach seven classes per day, which are divided into age groups. The methodology used is customized, focusing on the students’ strengths and needs.
Please tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had teaching abroad in Brazil.
The most memorable experience I had was mentoring a student so he could get a sports scholarship abroad. In the beginning, he was shy and scared of speaking out loud. But after lots of time and dedication, he was able to pass his PET exam (the Cambridge Preliminary English Test) and he is now living happily in Australia.
What recommendation do you have for someone who wants to teach English in Brazil?
Be patient, network with everyone with the same interests, and don’t give up.
What are your career goals?
My career goal is to have my own English course for people working in the hospitality field.