Going down to Rio for a few months and teach English sounds “cool”, but you face many hurdles.
Working on a tourist visa is illegal. The major ESL language schools will not hire you, which means you will have to give private classes and if you don’t speak Portuguese then it is almost impossible to find clients, discuss schedules, fees etc, unless the student is already at an advanced level.
I don’t know what the going rate per hour is for private English classes in Rio these days. I would guess around R$30-35 for conversation classes. If the English is more specialized (English for the Oil Industry, Aviation, etc) you can charge more.
There are lots of young, native speakers of English in Rio, who are also trying to find students. Thus, if you have ESL credentials and experience you will be able to charge more and hopefully find more and better quality students.
You have to get your money up front. Students should pay in advance for X number of classes per month. You will need a minimum of three hours of classes per day to make enough to get by and getting by is about all you can hope for. You will find the your classes will be very early in the morning, late at night and on Saturdays. You will spend considerable time going from one part of the city to another, which is non-income earning time.
The above is mostly true for São Paulo, except it has a larger ESL market and less young, native speaking gringos.
There are many more opportunities in the hinterland where native speakers are rare. In these cities the cost of living is lower and the lifestyle more laid back…..but they ain’t Rio.
Go to Gringoes.com’s Forum, sign up, then do a search for “teaching English”. There have been many discussions in the past.
UPDATE: 24 Oct 08
Young woman from California who is teaching English in Brazil. Click on the link below to get the straight scoop on the ESL life in Brazil.
LINKS: (major chain ESL language schools)