If we jump back in time we might hear Sir Mick Jagger singing: ‘Time is on my side’. Mr. Keith Richards would promptly reply: ‘Yes, it is!’. The fact of the matter is that they are pushing 70ish and still keep rocking, which gives us the impression that time is really on their side. Had they chosen the teaching career, I am not that sure they would be singing that enigmatic phrase, let alone the ‘yes, it is’. It all sounds very easy when it comes to teachers managing...

My name is Stephen Greene.  I am a teacher.  I live in Curitiba.* I am not a public sector teacher.  Compared to them, I have a pretty cushy life.  I teach private students and so keep all of the income for myself.  I teach in people's houses, at their place of work, at my house or online.  I also do teacher training, and give workshops to teachers.  I provide cultural and communication workshops that have very little to do with English.  I write materials for publishers and a blog...

I think I must have seen this question a million times: “What does it take to be an English language teacher?” “Courage” springs to mind. At least that’s what I needed when I broke the news to my dear father that I wouldn’t be a lawyer like him (“Quem não faz Direito faz errado,” he must have replied). Joke aside, we can interpret that question in several ways. What I would like to explore here is perhaps the easiest of them: the minimum qualifications that will land you a...

I have already been to quite a few conferences and I have been going to  IATEFL conferences for the past three years and it's high time I wrote a post about my experiences both as a delegate and as a speaker. IATEFL stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and it aims at bringing teachers from all corners of the world together by providing professional development through publications, talks, conferences, and workshops. IATEFL also supports teachers worldwide by helping them set up local...

Working in recruiting and teacher training, I came to notice that Knowledge and Skills (which we dealt with last month) may get your CV noticed, but what determines your success in your career in the end, are the two As in Donald Freeman’s KASA framework: Attitude and Awareness. A long time ago, during one of those fiery staff meetings before lesson started, the other teachers and I were trying to standardise how we would deal with a recurrent situation when someone suggested we simply used common sense. I promptly...

Last week’s cover of The Economist was “Brazil’s Quagmire” in which our economy is believed to be in its worst mess since the early 1990s with far bigger problems than the government will admit or investors seem to register.  Our currency has fallen 30% against the dollar since 2013 and inflation is rising. So it is with Brazil’s economy: the harder you stare, the worse it looks. However, the impact of this scenario goes far beyond currency exchange rates or the cover of international magazines. It reaches the...

One may often hear how expensive it can be to invest time and money in learning a foreign language. However, it is widely known that an institution is usually judged by its teachers and how qualified they are in the teaching community. Consequently, a LOS (Lesson Observation Scheme) is instrumental in providing the academic department with important evidence on a teacher’s performance in class. Further down is an outline of what we usually use at Cultura Inglesa São João del Rei.   Why Lesson Observation Amongst various reasons, one advantage of...

I'm a teacher and a mentor,  which means I'm in charge of in-service training at  branch level at a large language institute with around seventy branches spread in my hometown and other capitals in Brazil. In practical terms, I welcome new teachers and conduct ongoing training with our teaching staff when I'm not busy teaching and grading students' work. Fitting all of these duties into our busy teaching schedule is not easy, so mentoring calls for a lot of creativity. My colleagues also teach at other schools and...

February is a great opportunity for us to finally get down to implementing our New Year resolutions, isn’t it? It is only natural that we take this time to revisit our professional life and make important decisions to develop professionally and avoid the tantalising stagnation of our comfort zone. Yet, many teachers I talk to tell me they don’t know exactly how to start. I find Donald Freeman’s KASA framework very useful, since we don’t necessarily depend on our employers (if we have them) to set our own targets...

Myths and stereotypes are inherent to a number of professions: the ignorant model, the cunning lawyer, the rude military officer, the sexy nurse, just to name a few. Intertwined with prejudice and/or limited, erroneous views, these myths and stereotypes very often cause discomfort and raise discussion. Teaching is no exception to that. Which stereotypes are usually associated with teachers? Very recently, a statement by the current Minister of Education has come back to the centre of debate. In 2011, during a strike in which teachers demanded a raise, and...