TEACHING EXCHANGE PROGRAM
Next openings: February 2022.
Permanent possibility of short notice openings
Dear Prospective Participant,
Thank you for your inquiry and for your interest in our school.
Our program has been designed for native speakers of English that want to exchange ESL teaching for the opportunity of living in Brazil and learning its language and culture.
The school semesters in Brazil go from around March 1st to July 20th, and from around August 1st to December 20th. Besides the regular semesters, we also run intensive programs in July and January & February.
In November and December we usually select the candidates for the first semester beginning in January (including the summer session) or March, and in May for the second semester beginning in August. There are also short-notice openings very often as a result of unexpected increase in the number of students.
Here is a full description of our teaching exchange program.
LANGUAGE & CULTURE AT S&K IN BRAZIL:
S&K started with Ricardo & Takako. Ricardo was a native speaker of Portuguese (which is very similar to Spanish, as you probably know) while Takako is a native speaker of Japanese and speaks English and Portuguese as well. Her Brazilian Portuguese is almost perfect since she has lived more than 30 years in Brazil. Thogether they lived in the U.S. and Japan for several years and since 1987 they have been working in Brazil as English and Japanese teachers and language consultants. Ricardo graduated from Arizona State University (MATESL) and Takako has certification in JAFL (Japanese as a Foreign Language) and is a psychologist.
They have two daughters. The eldest (Alice) is 42 and lives in the USA and the youngest (Elsa) is 36 years old. Elsa is also a psychologist, postgraduate in Neuropsychology. Since 2014 Elsa is part of the S&K team as a recruiter and school coordinator.
In 2021, after almost two years fighting cancer, Ricardo is no longer with us. Since then Takako and Elsa live on a old 2-story German style mansion built in 1922 by Ricardo's grandfather and surrounded by a 1.85-acre garden with fruit trees. This is where the school is.
From 1987 to 1995 Ricardo worked in Santa Cruz as a private tutor and language consultant for multinational companies. In 1995, Ricardo and Takako started aiming the school at a larger public. They made space available in their home for classrooms and started teaching small groups (4 to 7 people) and tutoring private classes. We have now about 180 students and 7 classrooms.
Since 1999 we have been further developing our Portuguese as a Second Language department, which now periodically receives foreigners for the sole purpose of Portuguese immersion studies.
December, January and February are normally months of low activity for schools. The semesters go from March 1st to July 20th, and from August 1st to December 20th. Besides the regular semesters, we organize intensive programs in July and in January & February.
The school is maintained with the tuition from local ESL students, foreign PSL students, referral fees from ESL schools abroad, translations, and rent from real estate.
From 1998 to 2004, the permanent staff of the school included the Canadian Linda Rayner as a teacher and coordinator. With more than 25 years of experience as an ESL teacher in Canada, Linda helped to organize the school developing orientation and support materials to the new teachers. Unfortunately, due to the extremely difficult bureaucracy of the Brazilian Ministry of Labor, we were not able to convert Linda's temporary work permit into a permanent one. As a result Linda had to leave Brazil, but she is still conducting job interviews for new teachers and helping with translations.
Joice, Karolina, and Lisane, all with college degrees in languages are our teachers of Portuguese as a Second Language. Elis, 24 years old, and Daniela, 38 years old, are our secretaries.
Santa Cruz do Sul is located about a thousand kilometers south of São Paulo. It is a city of about 120,000 inhabitants with over 140,000 in the municipality. Santa Cruz started as a German immigration center in the 1800s, having become an interesting blend of cultures today.
Santa Cruz is rather prosperous and safe compared to other Brazilian cities. We are 100 miles (160 km.) from Porto Alegre, the largest city, the state capital and the nearest commercial airport. The main economic activity of Santa Cruz is leaf tobacco production, processing and exporting. Other industries are clothing, corn seed production, machinery, and rubber. There is also a university. See more about Santa Cruz at <http://www.sk.com.br/sk-scs.html>, read some cultural tips about Brazil at <http://www.sk.com.br/guests/sk-tips.html> and watch a couple of videos one of our teachers did in 2014: <Santa Cruz by Mica Prazak> and <Guilherme by Mica Prazak>.
Although we are not against audiolingual exercises with beginners, the emphasis in our school today is on communicative work, using learner-centered activities. We are not confined to any method, plan or course of lessons, but promote language and culture exchange through human interaction instead. We emphasize language acquisition rather than language learning, as defined by Stephen Krashen in his Natural Approach. As language is a result of human interaction, our school becomes a bilingual living and learning center with groups led by a native in the target culture. We respect each instructor's style, and rely on their ability to build relationships within the group and create a natural desire for communication. Our most important recommendation to our instructors is to build a close relationship with each student if possible.
We believe in the need of beginners for formal instruction and provide it, but always search for the cooperative atmosphere of a learner-centered classroom. Our instructors must be versatile: acting like a businessman when teaching businessmen; becoming a teenager when teaching teenagers; and becoming a child when teaching children. It is important to keep in mind that adapting classroom activities to students' needs and interests demands much more time on class preparation than it would if you just followed a course of lessons and books.
In the last few years we have been noticing an increase in the number of teenage students as compared to adults. We can also notice an improvement in the average proficiency level of those young students who nowadays have more contact with English through the Internet and satellite TV. Therefore, in line with Krashen's theory of language acquisition, we are now planning to teach various subjects using the target language (English) as a medium of instruction with intermediate and advanced level students rather than making English the subject of the study itself. So, rather than teaching ESL, we would teach perhaps History, Geography, Earth & Space Science, Biology, Life Science, American Society, or even Math, Physics or Chemistry, etc. The students would be allowed to drive the learning somewhat, all in a light and flexible manner, without the strain of achievement standards and evaluations.
You can read more about our teaching preferences on <http://www.sk.com.br/sk-mthen.html> and <http://www.sk.com.br/sk-gdins.html>.
There are about 8 other small language schools in the city. They teach English almost exclusively since the demand for other foreign languages is very low. As chain schools they need to make regular payments to the head franchiser and their teachers and students have to stick to a course of lessons and books, while we are independent and can be much more creative in exploring the instructor's personal ability and adjusting the activities to the students' interests, needs and learning pace. This gives us a good competitive edge. Besides this, they normally operate with poorly paid and poorly qualified Brazilian teachers, while we have had only native speakers besides me. We are without any question more qualified, but for a number of years we didn't invest in advertising to the general public. Although we have a good reputation, most of the important clients, and a significant number of students, we can grow further.
One of the participant's most important credentials is to have affinity to children, be communicative, considerate and interested in making friends. Previous ESL teaching experience is also praised. Additional qualifications would be academic background in TESOL or related fields and interest in learning Portuguese and Brazilian culture. We also know from experience that longer stays make for a better teaching and learning experience and for this reason prefer candidates interested in two semesters.
The school maintains one 2-bedroom / 2-bathroom apartment and three single apartments. They are fully furnished and located three blocks from the school and a 10 to 15-minute walk to downtown. We also have a little 1-bedroom cottage in the backyard of the school. At the same time that we try to provide comfortable accommodations, we do expect our guests to be careful with the furniture and conscious about energy saving, not forgetting lights or electric heaters on when leaving the accommodations. See pictures of the two apartment buildings at <https://abnb.me/BB8YwbKFUkb> and <https://abnb.me/e3Y0bGGeKjb>.
Because the school has substantial fixed costs to maintain the apartments, we count on occupancy and expect the teachers to live there.
The cost of living in Brazil is very low at the moment, when compared to the cost of living in the U.S., Canada or England. Santa Cruz is even cheaper than big cities and it might also be a better place to make friends and learn the culture.
Wages in general are also low when converted to foreign currencies. For this reason, our program should not be regarded as money-making work, but rather as a unique cultural experience and learning opportunity.
We commit ourselves to offering the guest teacher an opportunity to learn the Brazilian language and culture in the atmosphere of a small town. During the school semesters we guarantee the minimal work for your full maintenance plus a reasonable income depending on your working schedule and lifestyle.
One hour a day of teaching (Monday through Friday only) pays for the whole week's accommodations, including basic utilities. Payment will be R$30 per hour for group (up to 8 students) lessons and R$25 per hour for private and small group (up to 3 students) lessons (minimum wage in Brazil, in 2018, is R$5.56 per hour). Payments are biweekly and all the income is 100% tax-free. As of the fourth week after the beginning of each semester (April 1 for the first semester and September 1 for the second), we guarantee a minimum of 20 hours over a 2-week period. This means that if the school is not able to provide 20 hours of work in a period of two weeks, the teacher will still be paid the equivalent to 20 hours. This minimum guarantee of hours does not apply during the winter break (July 10 - August 1) and the summer break (December 10 - March 1).
Bonus: Also, the school will pay a bonus at the end of the program of US$1000 for the ones staying two semesters. The US$1000 bonus is paid only in full, at the end of the second semester. Teachers coming with a trainee visa, which is good for 2 semesters but for any reason staying only one, will receive a US$250 bonus. However, if the discontinuation is decided by the school, the teacher will receive a US$400 bonus.
Additional obligations of the school are:
1. To meet the participant at the nearest commercial airport upon arrival and provide transportation to his/her accommodations.
2. To provide telephone access and make available to the participant computers with Internet access and e-mail.
3. To provide four Portuguese group lessons or two private lessons a week for free during the semester period.
4. To provide orientation and support while the participant acts as language instructor, always respecting his/her individual style.
5. To provide letters of recommendation and references at the end of the term or any time thereafter for the teachers that request them.
6. To maintain contact with the former participant, if he/she so wishes, in order to mutually consult on language matters.
The participant's obligations are:
1. To be available Monday through Saturday for teaching up to 26 hours per week if necessary. The teacher's free time must be available for teaching new groups or private lessons according to the school's needs. The normal time for classes ranges from 8 AM to 9 PM, although they can occasionally start as early as 7:30 AM. Saturday hours are only in the morning, between 8 and 12.
2. To spend the necessary time to prepare classes, to cooperate in the general running of the school (attending meetings, filling out reports and evaluation forms for each student at the end of each semester, helping the secretaries with school procedures) and especially in maintaining student enthusiasm, understanding their needs and helping them improve. With beginner classes we also expect the teacher to cover a basic syllabus (which the school provides), although he/she is free to choose the activities.
Although medical services are very much more affordable than in the U.S., and for most occurrences the free public health care can be used, if you are the kind of person who likes to be on the safe side, we suggest you arrange for medical insurance for the duration of your stay.
Summer and winter breaks:
Teachers coming for 2 semesters may have a break between semesters of 2 or 3 weeks in July (winter) and 2 months from Christmas to the end of February (summer). However, this is only a possibility, which needs to be negotiated with the school and the other teachers because the school needs at least one teacher to cover the summer and winter intensive sessions and the ongoing private classes.
The school will provide 2 private lessons or 4 Portuguese group lessons (depending on levels) a week for free during the semester period. We also suggest going around and making friends in the community to acquire the culture and the language (very much in line with our teaching philosophy, in fact). Those seriously interested in improving their Portuguese can hire our Portuguese teachers at cost price to get additional help with conversation, grammar, pronunciation, Brazilian literature and cinema. Capoeira lessons are also available in the community at certain times.
Another part of our program is the cultural weekend excursions. These TURISMO CULTURAL items are occasional weekend trips to places of interest. For this purpose the school has a 9-passenger van. The school covers the cost of gas, and each person pays for his/her personal expenses. The idea is to show a larger area of Brazil and integrate cultures bringing together guest teachers and students in an informal atmosphere so that everybody learns English and Portuguese having fun together.
More detailed information about the Portuguese program is available at <http://www.sk.com.br/sk-psl.html>.
In addition, the secretaries and our staff are always available to answer your questions and to discuss language. You will have plenty of opportunities to exchane linguistic knowledge at the school.
All participants are invited to take part in a voluteer program. Menino Deus (Child God) is a poor neighborhood located on the periphery of Santa Cruz do Sul and is home to around 600 low-income families. The Menino Deus Speaks English project commenced in 2005 as a social initiative undertaken by the Schütz & Kanomata Language Institute in conjunction with the residents’ association. The initiative currently involves 30 kids who have the opportunity of learning English and American culture. It provides not only a great benefit for the community, but also for the volunteer instructors, who get a chance to learn about the Brazilian reality in all its nuances and depth. For the foreigners who come to learn the Brazilian language and culture, learning about this enormous portion of the country represented by urban communities like Menino Deus, makes a more complete cultural experience. Often we might not have material wealth, but our riches lie in interpersonal relationships. It is always interesting to experience the strength of the family ties and solidarity so characteristic of our culture. By volunteering once a week, the foreign instructors will also receive a special letter of recommendation from ASBI, an accredited Brazilian cultural exchange organization that we work with.
Work visas are very difficult and expensive to get, feasible only for executives of large corporations. For this reason we sponsor study-training visas, which are cheaper and easier to get. Accepted applicants receive a Letter of Acceptance to our program. There is always a possibility to apply for a work visa after a successful and rewarding experience for both parties.
If you are accepted to our program, you will receive the documents for the visa including a letter of invitation from ASBI, an exchange organization that provides bureaucratic support to our program. Such a letter adds credibility and minimizes the chances of the visa being denied. The visa is good for two semesters and you have to apply in your home country unless you have lived elsewhere for more than two years. We prefer teachers that intend to stay for two semesters at least.
Teachers coming for two semesters but for any reason deciding to stay only one must inform the school one month and a half in advance. In case of early terminations, the study-training visa technically expires and the Immigration Department expects the foreigner to leave the country.
If you are not in your home country, you can still apply for the visa, if you have lived there for more than 2 years.
The Brazilian Consulate will charge a fee for the study visa. Different nationals will be charged different fees, which are equivalent to the ones charged from Brazilians by their countries' consulates in Brazil for similar visas. In addition, there will be a registration fee to be paid to the immigration in Brazil of approximately US$100. This mandatory registration entitles the foreigner to have free health care. We expect the trainee to pay for the consular fees in his country and 50% of the immigration fee in Brazil, while the company (S&K) pays the other 50% in addition to ASBI's fees.
If you are interested in our program, let us know. The application process is quite simple. You send us a resume and a photo as an e-mail attachment. We will then refer you to Linda Rayner (our former ESL coordinator) or somebody else from our staff for a phone interview, who will also be able to answer many of your questions.
If the guest teacher arrives by air, we provide airport pickup from the nearest commercial airport (Porto Alegre), which is 100 miles from Santa Cruz do Sul, where we are. If the teacher travels by bus, he/she is expected to arrive at the bus terminal of Santa Cruz. There are daily buses from São Paulo to Santa Cruz (a 19-hour journey!) and from Buenos Aires to Porto Alegre (a 20-hour journey). There are also comfortable buses running almost every hour between Porto Alegre and Santa Cruz (a 2-hour trip).
So far we have had more than 160 teachers from the U.S., Canada, and England. Most of them have learned a lot of Portuguese and done a good job. Many of them are available to provide references.
We're looking forward to answering all your questions. Thank you again for your interest in our school and keep in touch. The best means of communication is by e-mail.
Elsa K. Schütz - Psychologist & School coordinator
Schütz & Kanomata, ESL & PSL
Rua Galvao Costa, 85
96810-012 Santa Cruz do Sul - RS
Phone: 55 (51) 3715-3366
WEB SITE: http://www.sk.com.br/