Opportunities to teach English in BH?

Hello, I just recently joined and I have a question regarding possible jobs teaching English in Belo Horizonte. I will be moving there after I graduate in May and I would love the chance to teach English. Any advice on how I can make this happen would be much appreciated! Thank you all :)

Hello Carey.

Welcome to Expat.com! :)

Hope you'll get some informations soon.

Thank you,

Hi CareyB,

There are very many private language schools in Belo Horizonte, as in any other Brazilian city. Traditionally language schools do most of their new hires in June and December. Many hire year-round, but not the kind of mass hiring that goes on during those two months.

Don't expect to get rich teaching at a school, pay for teachers is generally quite low and most schools only pay for actual class time; prep, correcting homework, etc., are not usually paid activities.

The best way to make a living as a teacher is to start out teaching at one or more schools (to fill your schedule) and start building a client base of private students by advertising, creating a website, flyers, whatever works. As you recruit private students start to wean yourself off of dependence on schools. Private students pay considerably more, but you must be willing to travel to them and recruiting takes some time to accomplish.

William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hey Carey,

Finding teaching work is sooo easy esp here in bh as there is a shortage of native speakers here. I've been here 8 months now and I work at a school 16 hours and the rest of my time is spent teaching privately. I have had to stop taking on anymore as I literally don't have any time left.

When you get here we could meet up and I can give you some pointers on how to get started. People told me I would find it hard to get students but that's not been the case for me so don't worry!


Thank you sooo much Paula and William. This helps immensely. I am planning on arriving in June so that would be perfect. As far as certifications go, is it an advantage to have a certification? Of course I want to be the best teacher possible but I also don't have the money to get certified. I would absolutely love some pointers when I get there, thank you Paula!!

Your welcome!

I have never done a specific course, but when I got a job at a school they gave me a 3 day course and ive also heard of some schools giving a 2 week course. I couldn't afford it either, they are really expensive right! But I would like to do one in the near future.

Just send me a msg when you arrive and we can arrange something, it's always nice to meet new native speakers :)

Hi Carey,

Actually most of the schools seem to prefer people without certifications of any kind or, for that matter, much previous teaching experience. They operate on the philosophy that they can train them exactly they way they want that way. Also they can pay them less.

William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hi William, Carey, and Paula

I came across your posts as I was researching opportunities to teach English in Belo Horizonte. I've just arrived here from Berlin and I'm looking around at various options. It was very helpful to see that you were both able to find work here relatively smoothly and successfully. I'm wondering if you might have any particular places to start looking? Also, what is the best method to attract private students. In other places that I have lived and taught (such as Tokyo and Berlin) it is relatively common to use forums such as craigslist to advertise services, but here that seems to be underused.

Any help would be so very much appreciated!

Loving BH life so far!

All the best, Justin.

http://infinityperformingarts.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/welcome.gifHi Justin,

On behalf of the entire Expat-blog Team, welcome on board.

Regarding teaching English in Belo Horizonte, a few personal observations from someone who also lived there for a number of years:

1. Unless you have special teaching qualifications such as a Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Education in English, etc., that would qualify you to work in an international school, UFMG, or the state or municipal education system you are going to be stuck working for extremely low pay in a private language school. You will likely get paid only for actual classroom teaching time and not for class prep. Also, Brazilian students love to cancel classes with short notice or no notice at all. In many schools you don't get paid unless the class actually is given so while you've cooled your heels waiting for the duration of the class time, you end up with nothing to show for it, so watch out for this practice.

2.  Unlike most state capitals in Brazil, the population of Belo Horizonte doesn't place a lot of value on learning English. They don't have a clear vision of the commercial value of the language and culturally they are a bunch of cheapskates, want classes as cheaply as possible and even then cry about the cost. I can tell you from personal experience, when you can easily charge R$60 or more per hour for a private class in São Paulo or Rio, if you ask for R$30 in Belo Horizonte the tears start flowing and you'd better have brought a raincoat or umbrella with you.

Most private schools will pay R$25 per hour of class time if you're lucky, so don't expect to get rich - you'll be lucky to just get by.

William James Woodward - Brazil & Canada Expert, Expat-blog Team

Hey Justin, have you tried climb up Idiomas? That's the school I work for and Carey worked for when she arrived ( she's just recently gone back to the US ) and they pay a little more than the other schools around here. You could also apply at cultura inglesa they pay more than the average schools. Careful when going to an interview at other schools, they don't mention how much they will pay you until after the training which just happens to a friend of mine who used to work with me. She left her current job to do the 2 week training course only to find out at the end she was going to be paid a much lower amount than she was getting at the previous school.

This city is doesn't have websites or forums for advertising lessons unfortunately, they look to do things the long and difficult way. The way I do it is just print out business cards and I hand them out in areas I'm willing to teach in and my own, I also leave them in restaurants, universities and shops, the more the better. Once you get one student then you'll get a thousand people work on a word of basis here so get your students to advertise you that's usually how I get the majority of mine anyways. If you need anymore help just give us a shout.

Hello, everybody! :)

I went trough some posts regarding teaching English in BH. I've been working online (via Skype) with a few students for a couple of years, it's been great experience! I'd like to expand my business, have more BH students. Do you have any info where to apply/post an ad? Thanks!


Hi Kosa,

Please feel free to place a (free) ad in our CLASSIFIEDS section which you can access by clicking on that in the menu at the top of the page.

I would also recommend that you build your own website if you don't already have one, that will then show up on Google, IE, or Firefox web searches. That is always a good way to recruit students. If you're also looking for local students in BH then perhaps one of the local neighborhood (bairro) newspapers, pamphlets handed out on the streets by kids (you can hire inexpensively), etc. If you want to go all out, you might even want to stop one of those rather annoying "sound cars" that cruise the streets in BH and other Brazilian cities advertising everything under the sun and ask about a professional produced ad too.

Sardinhas, sardinhas, o carro de sardinhas passando na sua rua! Sardinhas, frescinhas!!!  :lol:

William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Hi, William!
Thanks a lot for your reply. I'd post some ads asap.
Could you, please, send me some links for the local newspapers? Thank you :)

Hi Paulalee,
I have just made the move from New Zealand to BH Brazil. I am in the final stages of creating a  website to teach English in BH. Could you please give me some information on getting started. If your in BH we could meet?


Hi Dwayne,

As an English teacher with a career of over 28 years (over 14 in Canada and 13 here in Brazil) I will give you a few tips regarding teaching and setting up a website here in Brazil.

First and probably most important is the more fluent in Portuguese you are, the better off and more successful you will be for a number of reasons.  Your website will need to be in impecable Portuguese or it's going to fall flat. Nobody is going to take it seriously if you can't get the Portuguese right, and if you put up a site that's in English then it's going to miss your target market completely. Also you're going to need to be almost a walking bilingual dictionary, a great actor or exceptional artist, because when a student asks you what is a JACKHAMMER and rather than immediately saying it's a "britadeira", acting it out or drawing it, you say... "Oh, I'll have to look that up and tell you next class" you lose the student's confidence completely. Also an advanced level of fluency in Portuguese gives you an added source of income, by doing unsworn translations. They can be a lifesaver because teaching doesn't pay a lot and students come and go. You can translate texts, CV/Resumes, dissertations, just to mention a few.

Next the more teaching qualifications you have, the better your chances of attracting high-end, influential students. I can tell you from personal experience that this is true. I hold a B.A (English) and B.Ed (English) and in São Paulo was teaching mostly in the financial sector, bank presidents and VPs, Insurance company presidents, etc. You also have to be really up to scratch on English grammar and all of its subtleties. Make the smallest mistake and the student is more likely to say, "But isn't it supposed to be ......." Brazilians are grammar freaks and many of them can quote the grammar rules by heart.

Decide what your target market is going to be and try to specialize. English teachers can be found on any street corner, but someone who can teach advanced Business English, or Financial, Medical or Legal English is going to be in great demand and can command a much higher fee.

Be prepared to support yourself for at least 6 months to a year, recruiting private students takes a great deal of time and lots of hard work. You're not going to build up a student roster that's going to give you a good income overnight. Here in Brazil it's hard to get your foot in the door in most big companies unless you already know somebody on the inside. Once in, remember that everyone there is going to judge you by how you present yourself. If you come across as being highly professional, outgoing, and respect the work environment that you're coming into then you'll do very well and probably get lots of students from that workplace. If you come in dressed in jeans and T-shirt looking like someone who just got lost and wandered in to seek directions you're going to have a difficult job recruiting. Always remember you're going to be dealing with influential people in management positions in most cases, you must show them the respect they're due, and that comes right down to what you wear.

Students, especially influential ones, may often miss class without notice or be late for a class because of their work responsibilities. You have to be extremely flexible with this, but at the same time let them know right up front that except in cases of EMERGENCIES you require advanced notice of cancellations or a class will be billed as if given. I'd suggest 4 hours minimum, especially if you travel for an hour to get to a class. Also if a class starts late, it finishes at the normally scheduled time, unless you by prior agreement. If you don't set clear ground rules there are many who will take advantage of your good nature. For yourself, ALWAYS be punctual. If you're going to miss a class because of an emergency or if you're delayed for some reason ALWAYS notify your student at the very first opportunity.

Get a Brazilian friend to check around (pretending to be looking for classes) and find out exactly what the other teachers in your area charge. Set your fees on the same level, no lower and no higher. Brazilians are funny, while they all like to get bargains on most other things, they don't see undercutting the price of your competing teachers as a means of recruiting. They think you must be a poor teacher if you're not charging the going rate.

Students are your best advertisement and they're free. A satisfied student can make you rich, an unhappy one can destroy you. Especially in the workplace students talk to all the other employees. If you're good at what you do, friendly and reliable, then they're all going to know about it. Work this to your advantage!

If you're going to discount a particular student's fees, then do so in a way that others can't complain about and demand you discount theirs. As I said, they talk amongst themselves and this can work against you in terms of fee setting. What I've always done is offer a fee for "divulgação", when one of my students refers someone to me for classes, then that student gets a 10% discount on his/her monthly fee for each one while the referral is actively taking classes. If the referral drops out, the referring student's fee goes back to normal. That ends the problem of complaints, since you just tell the person if they want discounts, they simply need to arrange students for you too.

Computerized classes are a big winner in the workplace. All of my teaching material (mostly found by searching the internet) is in PDF format and has audio tracks for all of the lessons. If you can find the material, and download it all for free, then pass that along to your students included in your fee, they love that!!! Set up a Dropbox, One Drive or other file sharing account and upload your material to it, so you can just e-mail your students a link to the teaching material. Taking your notebook or netbook along for classes is a lot less wear and tear on your back than lugging around a briefcase full of textbooks. I could NEVER go back to traditional textbooks for teaching after having gone paperless.

Skype classes are also a great source of income if you live somewhere where the internet service is reliable. You can offer that as an option for your regular students when they travel or if they have to miss a regular class. You can also run all Skype classes, which frees you from restricting yourself to any geographic area in Brazil. The trick here is you must have a Brazilian bank account that they can deposit to, or at least have access to the account of someone you can completely trust.

Anyway, that's a lot of food for though for one session.... good luck.

James     Expat-blog Experts Team


I'm thinking about coming to BH for a few months to teach English, I've been before and have many friends there. I'm from London and a native English speaker. Please could you help me get started?! I feel really stuck and don't really know how to begin!

Thank you

Hi happy to try and help out. Send me your email please.xxx


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Hi! I am looking for a teacher for the Santa Ines area of B.H.
Saturdays 830am-1030am
msg me for more info

@twinpeakslanugage School > could you please post your job offer in the job section in Belo Horizonte? : https://www.expat.com/en/jobs/south-ame … horizonte/ Thank you very much,
Christine - Expat.com

Hi, I've just come to BH! I'm not native, Im from Poland and I have a BA in linguistics, English and Russian, with 3-year private teaching experience


would there be a chance of teaching english as voluntary? To a non-profit organization?

Thank you

Hello! My name is Americo. Im in uniao so if you still need feel free to contact me. Thank you!

Good luck!

Hey you.

I’ve seen your reply, I know, four years ago about the English teaching job in Belo Horizonte.

My girlfriend and I are going to Brazil for a year and she’s looking for a job as English teacher.

She doesn’t speak any Portuguese though.

Would you have any schools that we could contact that you know that would accept English native speakers to work with even that she doesn’t speak Portuguese?

Thank you

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