So You Think You Want to Student Teach in Rio de Janeiro_

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So You Think You Want to Student Teach in Rio de Janeiro?:

So You Think You Want to Student Teach in Rio de Janeiro? By Kelly Schreiber, Spring 2013 Photo credit: http:// wallpaperhires.com /

Top 10 reasons to go for it:

Top 10 reasons to go for it You Won’t R egret I t! Photo credit: http://static8.depositphotos.com/

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10. Rio’s weather is much better than Chicago’s, especially during the winter! 9. There are so many cool things to see here, including adorable little monkeys all over the city. 8. The food is amazing! 7. Portuguese is a beautiful language. 6. Brazilians are incredibly welcoming. Photo credit: http:// www.wallpapersdb.org /

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5. It’s very affordable compared to other study abroad programs! 4. It will challenge you to expand your worldview and your teaching. 3. You’ll learn so much about Brazilian culture. 2. You’ll learn so much about yourself, as an educator and as a person. 1. It’s an absolutely amazing, once in a lifetime experience! Photo credit: http:// www.wallpapersdb.org /

But What About…?:

But What About…? Frequently Asked Questions Photo credit: http://static8.depositphotos.com/

What is Brazilian culture like?:

What is Brazilian culture like? Like any culture, uniquely amazing and beautiful! Brazilians speak Portuguese, are warm and welcoming people, and are passionate about futebol (soccer). Brazil is about the size of the USA, so each region has its own culture as well. Cariocas (people from Rio) are known for being easy-going and fun-loving. Photo credit: http:// intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com /

I don’t speak any other languages. Will that be a problem?:

I don’t speak any other languages. Will that be a problem? At school, no. The point of the school having you there is so that the students can learn from native English speakers. Students begin learning English early on, and the majority of the staff speaks English as well. In the community, yes. Expect to need to know basic Portuguese to do almost anything. If you’ve studied any Spanish, that will make picking up Portuguese a little bit easier, although the languages are more different than you would think by just looking at them. The sooner you start working on your Portuguese, the more confident you’ll feel out and about the city. Photo credit: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/

What’s the city like? Is it safe?:

What’s the city like? Is it safe? The school is in the Botofogo neighborhood, just south of Centro (downtown) and just north of the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Botofogo is a quieter, more residential part of the city. The city itself is huge, and divided into three zones, described by their relationship to downtown. You’ll spend most of your time in Zona Sul (South Zone), where the school, the beaches, and plenty of other interesting attractions are. There are so many awesome places to explore—you definitely won’t get bored! Like any city, there are places that aren’t safe. The neighborhood that the school is in is great, as are most of the other neighborhoods that you’ll be interested in. Stay away from favelas (hillside slums) in general, and any other places that the school tells you are unsafe. Stay aware, be smart, and trust your instincts.

What is the school like?:

What is the school like? Our Lady of Mercy is a small, close-knit school that balances an American curriculum, a Brazilian curriculum, and a religious curriculum. The school offers 2-year-old preschool through high school. The majority of the student body is Brazilian, but a good number of students are from other countries as well. There are two classes per grade, each with about 20 students. The school offers great ESL and PSL (Portuguese as a Second Language) programs, although IEPs and Special Education are significantly more informal than we expect in the States. Like all schools in the States, OLM has just transitioned to using the Common Core State Standards. Photo credit: Maria Nar, BGSU Student Teacher

What is the staff like?:

What is the staff like? The staff is a mix of Brazilian and American teachers. They are used to having student teachers and are very welcoming, interested, and accommodating. The school is organized in four departments—Preschool (2-year-old preschool through senior kindergarten), Elementary (1 st through 5 th grades), Middle School (6 th through 8 th grades), and High School (9 th through 12 th grades)—each of which has its own supervisor. In Middle and High, departments are also organized by subject area. Photo credit: OLM Yearbook Department

What do I do while I’m not teaching?:

What do I do while I’m not teaching? What are you interested in? Soak up some sun at any of the beaches, explore the museums, learn to samba, try your hand at making some Brazilian cuisine (or just enjoy eating it!), hike in Tijuca National Forest, try as many flavors of fresh juice as you can find, look for opportunities to practice your Portuguese, see the Carnival parade, shop for souvenirs, check out the night life and sip a caipirinha , or visit the iconic Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain. There’s plenty to do in and around Rio, and the OLM staff is more than willing to show you around or invite you along! Photo credit: http:// streetsmartbrazil.com /

What if I get homesick?:

What if I get homesick? Chances are, it’ll probably happen at one point or another. Student teaching is challenging, and doing it in an unfamiliar culture is scary sometimes. The good news is, technology makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends back home. E veryone at the school is fantastic too; they’ll help you through. Plus, it’s hard to be sad for long in this gorgeous city!

Ok, I’m Going to Go for It!:

Ok, I’m Going to Go for It! A Bit of Advice for a Successful Experience Photo credit: http://static8.depositphotos.com/

What else do I need to know?:

What else do I need to know? Do your research. Simple Google searches about Brazil, living in Rio, etc. can teach you a lot, and you’ll be a lot less lost when you get here. Be open to the experience and make the most of it. Try as many things as possible. Seriously, even foods you know that you don’t like at home have a knack for tasting better here. And, go outside your comfort zone. That’s where the most growth will happen.  Boa sorte ! (Good luck! )

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