Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Brazilian Way

Tuesday I finally met Amanda, a girl who, via Facebook, has been helping me prepare for my job here in Goiania. She picked me up at Bruna's apartment to go visit Cenarte (where I'm going to work). It was just sort of an introductory visit, so I could talk to a few people and see where I'll be teaching.

Things ended up changing a lot. Amanda talked with my boss Adriana and it was decided that I would teach an adult group instead of children. This decision wasn't made based on my experience or anything of the kind: just their needs. Normally I'd be a bit peeved that my job description was abruptly changed. After all, I did put a lot of work into organizing and preparing materials geared more towards children! However, I think this adult group will be pretty cool and actually quite relevant to my expertise. I'll explain.

The adult group is part of the "Projeto Atitude." They travel pretty frequently to arts conferences to perform and give workshops on dance and theater. So, this group is scheduled to travel to Italy in July and then to London in August to help with some cultural aspect of the Olympics. Sorry if the details are a bit sketchy. I was being translated to and was skimming the top off a conversation completely given in Portuguese. Anyway, they want me to give a sort of crash course in "survival English," which is actually exactly what I helped teach at the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta. I also need to incorporate English related to travel and the arts so they can communicate in London. I think it's pretty ironic because anyone who knows me well is probably saying, "Wow, Lauren, you're made for that job!" Especially considering I've been to London and several cities in Italy, I think I'll be able to help them out a lot. 

If I can only figure out how to make a lesson plan! Amanda took me to her university's library, and we checked out several English teaching guides. They seem pretty old or just well used. One is even by the Australian government!

There are still many unknown variables in the mix: how many students do I have? what is their level of English? what are my hours? All of this, this craziness and spontaneity and how you respond to it, I'm told, is called "the Brazilian Way." The first time I heard this referenced was when I was told that I needed to by a sim card. However, there aren't any sim cards to fit my iPhone 4S, so it's common here to physically cut the chip to fit the phone. My teaching situation is just another example of making due and figuring things out on the fly. This is an excellent life skill that I really need to practice. I am, as you probably know, a perpetual worrier and surefire daughter of pilots.

Culture shock, I will beat you and come out on the other side better for it! If only I could learn how to deal with cockroaches better... That's the next step, I suppose.


  1. Lauren, you are a born planner! :}
    Way to roll with the "Brazilian Waaaay".
    But please don't put a makeshift card in your phone, we just got it all figured out with
    the phone company! Love you, Mom

  2. Wow, what an interesting first 5 days in Brazil. You definitely are doing a good job of going with the flow....The Brazilian Way! Hang in there. Hope it all works out and you enjoy it! Love you, Rick

  3. Your adult students sound like an interesting group and their language needs right up your alley. The change may be unexpected but maybe more fun in the end. Perhaps they will each you some new dance moves after you teach them English. Love you, Beckie

  4. Darlin', I love the photos! Great wall-art! I'm so excited about hearing your stories of teaching! You're going to LOVE it!
    Besos, Cariño.