A few days ago, the Rio de Janeiro Secretary of Education criticized the actress Tais Araujo for her TED Talk in which she shares some of the challenges she will soon encounter as a mother of black children. The Secretary described it as ‘racial stupidity’. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear that. It made me think a lot about my privileges and the industry we work at. I’ve been working in ELT for 15 years, the last 4 working independently. For 11 years, I was part of...

A question that is posed time and time again is whether teachers should take a BA in languages, known here in Brazil as Letras, or take the CELTA. I wish there was a simple answer to this question, but truth is: it’s complicated. Some would say that taking a Letras course is the way to be or become a teacher. After all, you wouldn’t expect a doctor to take a four-month course and then hold a license, or for someone to take an intensive, one-month course and then be...

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Braz-Tesol BH Chapter, “The 5 Cs in the 21st Century”. Flawlessly organized by Bia Hedegaard and her amazing team, this was the first event I went to after being involved in the organization of “BrELT on The Road”. One of the plenaries featured the Assessment Diva, Natália Guerreiro. She talked about what’s holding us back in terms of teacher development, and it resonated a lot with experiences I have had lately. Among other things, Natália mentioned how attending...

Much is discussed about students with special needs and how to deal with them. Very little is said about teachers who have some kind of special need. I am going to tell you all a quick story. My story. During most my school life, I was not a bad student, but I was not good either. I was, well, average.  I was excellent once, in elementary school to be precise. I have fond recollections of having after-school classes with undergrad students in the afternoon, twice or three times a...

The other day a very interesting discussion took place at the BrELT Facebook group about English teachers on Youtube. The discussion prompted me to write this article mainly for two reasons. First, I use Youtube a lot. I have subscribed to countless channels and follow many Youtubers from all kinds: my interests go from education to vlogs in foreign countries.  The second reason that made me write this article is the fact that I have produced content myself and shared it on Youtube. I know how terrifying it...

A fellow teacher told me about a well-known language institute that started selling a new, faster course. He asked me how I thought he could compete with them. I told them he shouldn’t, they are not his competition. What many teachers do not understand is that when they decide to work as freelance language teachers, they should be offering something different. Perhaps as an independent teacher you do not have access to many resources that schools do. What you have, however, is yourself and believe me, that is your greatest...

  Today’s post is going to be a bit different. One of my greatest frustrations in life is that I don’t get to work with children anymore. That’s why I’m going to tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a teacher called Mary. She had a very good job at one of the most prestigious schools in town, but something was missing. Yes, money was missing and Mary found another school to work for. Who said working at one school was enough to make ends meet? Mary polished...

If you are reading this, you are a teacher that seeks professional development. This text is an example of free, professional development; so are websites like this one, twitter and Facebook groups such as BrELT. There is also another type of professional development we all know well: the industry of language and teaching certifications. Going back to the title of this text, I will say that I don't know. I unapologetically admit that I cannot answer the question I asked. What I can and will try to start here...

The year was 2011. I was moving to my new apartment. My first apartment ever, the first time on my own without roommates. The first place to ever call mine, and I wanted to furnish the place all at once. I had about 12 groups and countless private students. I was living in Laranjeiras and working in Laranjeiras and Barra da Tijuca. If you are not familiar with the geography of Rio de Janeiro, Google will give you a pretty good idea of what my life was like. I...

When I was a teenager, one of my favorite TV series was Felicity. This show was about a young girl discovering college and herself. Though I was not in college at the time, I could relate to the main character on many levels. Perhaps that is the recipe for good shows: drama, laughter, questionable hairstyle choices and someone on a quest to find themselves. Growth is painful. Change is hard and there are days you wish it would just stop. Wouldn’t it be great to be sure? To feel...