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Portugal > Education


The Pros And Cons Of Teaching English In Portugal

Published Saturday April 11, 2015 (19:06:28)


Portugal has a booming tourism industry and learning English has become an important skill for many of the locals. This means that there is a growing demand for English teachers. Those who are considering English teaching jobs in Portugal will be happy to know that it is one of the best countries to live and work in because of the low cost of living and high quality of life. Portugal is also a scenic country with spectacular beaches, grand national parks, rich architecture and a vibrant culture.

There are many opportunities in Portugal for experienced and qualified teachers who are interested in teaching in private international schools. Most schools prefer teachers with a minimum of two years of relevant teaching experience. Native English speaking teachers will also be able to find suitable opportunities in public schools.

However these positions tend to be competitive and schools expect teachers to have a TEFL certificate along with at least 100 classroom hours of experience. Here are some of the pros and cons of teaching English in Portugal.

Training and qualifications
A big pro about being an English teacher in Portugal is that you don’t need any advanced degrees or diplomas. A TEFL certificate is recommended, but not always necessary. But this doesn’t mean that teaching English is always easy! There are challenges to being a non-native speaker and you will need to be creative in the way you handle things. Your students will not be able to understand you if you speak the way you usually do, using colloquial phrases and terms. There are differences in the number of vowel and consonant sounds in Portuguese and English, which could take a while to understand. You will also need to remove irrelevant words and communicate in a simple way to get your point across. When teaching beginner students in particular, a good amount of preparation is required. It is important to plan lessons in advance and it helps if you genuinely enjoy your work.

English teaching jobs are available in schools or language institutes. But there are many expats who may teach classes at different institutes or conduct their own private classes. Here the advantage is that you can make your own schedule. If you prefer evening classes to morning ones, that’s exactly what you can do! But the drawback is that students tend to exercise flexibility too and may cancel frequently or even stop classes in a short period of time. This kind of instability and unpredictability may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

If you’re going to be teaching at a school, then most teaching positions in Portugal adhere to the standard school year and openings usually occur during August and September. The listings go out in March or April and some positions are also listed for summer courses.

It’s true that an English teaching job offers a decent income. English being the language of business in so many countries, there is a great demand for the skill. In fact, in some countries where English fluency is uncommon, institutions are even willing to offer comfortable accommodation and other perks. This may be a rarity, but decent salary is one of the reasons why teaching English is such a popular job among expats. However, don’t expect a cushy life right away. In Portugal, salaries tend to vary but most teachers are able to live comfortable lives. Private schools may offer higher salaries and may also include boarding options.

Job satisfaction
Seeing how much progress your students are making can result in a significant amount of fulfillment. It is deeply rewarding to know that you have positively impacted someone’s life and as such being an English teacher is ideal for those who enjoy genuinely helping others. However, not all of your students will be equally motivated. It may also be the case that not all of them are present by their own choice. Many schools and organizations make English classes mandatory. So those who are doing it because of their curriculum or job may display wavering enthusiasm. This may be disheartening, but it can also be seen as a challenge and it would be up to you to get them enthusiastic about learning the language.

Read more Portugal education articles or view our latest Portugal articles

Discuss this article in our Portugal forum or Facebook group



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