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‘I thought I’d try teaching for six months and maybe be a lawyer again, but I got really involved with the teaching profession and have never looked back.’
César teaches English in a school in São Paulo, but his career journey started in a very different place. He originally followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and trained to be a lawyer, but he decided on a major career change. He says the transition from lawyer to English teacher was very smooth, thanks to his lifelong passion for learning English.
I live in São Caetano do Sul which is a city really close to São Paulo. My first contact with English was at school. In Brazil, we think it's important for people to speak English. We believe it doesn't matter what job you have, you must speak English.
I started learning English early on with classes and books, and I also used to watch superhero movies, television programmes, and listen to songs in English.
I'm not entirely sure what's going to happen in the future, but I know I’ll be working with education.
I was fortunate because both my parents spoke English. My father lives in the USA and I used to visit him in the school holidays, so I’d been going to an English-speaking country regularly since I was a kid. Later I got the chance to live with a New Zealand family as part of an exchange programme and it was amazing. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and another opportunity to speak English.
The English spoken In New Zealand was a little different, but for me one of the biggest challenges was the time difference, because it's 12 hours apart! When I got back from New Zealand, I first got a taste of what it’s like to be a teacher. I was around 19 years old, and a friend told me, ‘You have good English, why don't you try to be a teacher?’ So I was a teacher for six months and really enjoyed it.
However, my long-term dream was to become a lawyer because my grandfather was a lawyer. He used to talk about his career and friends told me, ‘You are going to be a good lawyer.’ I studied hard and graduated from law school and worked in a law firm for a while, but I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. Although it’s a beautiful career, it just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t identify myself as a lawyer.
At this point I decided on a big career change in my life. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I wanted to follow my passion and become an English teacher full-time. I thought I’d try teaching for six months and maybe try to be a lawyer again, but I got really involved with the teaching profession and have never looked back.
Luckily, I had two Cambridge exam certificates and if I hadn’t had these, I don't know if the transition from lawyer to English teacher would have been so smooth.
For the last six years I’ve been teaching English full-time in a school in São Paulo. I’m also a Pedagogical Co-ordinator in the school, so English is very much part of my daily life. In my school we teach general English to kids, teens, and adults. It’s very rewarding but sometimes I find teenagers challenging to teach because they reach an age where they don’t want to go to school or do homework!
To grab their attention I try to connect with them and bring in activities using songs, the superhero movies I used to watch, and focus on subjects they like. I recently took the teaching qualification CELTA, and my experience was amazing. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, and I got the chance through my school.
I wasn't expecting to take the course in the middle of the pandemic, so it was all online, but I still met some great people from across Brazil. It’s really hard work because it's only four months and, of course, it’s intense. I had to do all my work and assignments and continue my job as a co-ordinator in the school. This was a challenge, but I was so proud when I got my certificate and it’s really helped me!
I'm not entirely sure what's going to happen in the future, but I know I’ll be working with education. I think I found my passion and I like to teach English.
About César Silva
César works as an English teacher and Pedagogical Co-ordinator at an English school in São Paulo and has taken Cambridge English Qualifications B2 First, C1 Advanced and teaching qualification CELTA.
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