About me

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Self Reliance, Emerson, R. W.

Hello!!

I’m Henrick Oprea, the author of this blog. I’ve been teaching English since 1997 and even though I’d decided I wanted to be a teacher in high school, it wasn’t until I really started joining the teaching community – not only walking into classrooms – that I found out how passionate I am about teaching and learning. My initial idea was to teach History, and I even started my university course in History, but I wound up in a language classroom as some of my teachers had told me that it’d be nice to get the hang of teaching and experience it first-hand by teaching whatever I could before I graduated. It turns out I fell in love with teaching English and, after a couple of changes in life, I ended up getting my B.A. in English and literature from the University of Brasília (Brazil) and, later on, my post-graduate degree in TEFL/TESL (Teaching English as a foreign language / Teaching English as a second language) from the University of Birmingham.

I’m currently the Director of Studies at Atlantic Idiomas, a language institute in Brasília I co-founded in November 2005. This has given me the chance to try my hand at a wide array of techniques which I’d been reading and discussing about online – fortunately, these have worked more often than not. I’m keen on technology and its benefits for education, but I think of myself as a teachers who enjoys working with teaching in many different ways, and I also believe in the dialogic, co-constructed, and reactive nature of teaching if we are to succeed in helping our students learn.

Doing Some Thinking is the title of this blog as I use to, well, do some thinking on matters related to ELT and education in general – and I’ve grown more and more interested in education as a whole as time goes by. Needless to say, I also consider teaching English as education, and not simple the mere learning of grammar and vocabulary. Feel free to browse through my thoughts and comment on the posts. After all, learning is co-constructed, and the more we engage in discussions, the better our understanding of the topics will be.

 

  1. Djane
    November 27, 2009 at 3:48 pm | #1

    you, shy??? c’mom
    thanks God, he gave up being a History teacher, because today we have an awesome English teacher…
    the best ever!!!
    cheers

    • December 13, 2009 at 8:16 pm | #2

      That’s very kind of you, Djane! :)
      Thanks for the compliments!

  2. Amandalanguage
    December 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm | #3

    Well it’s nice to meet you here in Cyberspace!!!

    • December 13, 2009 at 8:17 pm | #4

      Thanks!! It’s always nice to meet new people who share at least one of our interests! :)

  3. Uyhara
    December 17, 2009 at 9:07 pm | #5

    I’m proud to be your friend! When is your book being published??? I want an autograph! :-) See ya!

    • December 17, 2009 at 9:13 pm | #6

      LOL… book?!?! I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. But maybe it can come after you publish yours!! :)

  4. Ruby
    February 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm | #7

    hello Henrick,its really a b’ful idea to b in touch with so many ppl with different cultures, i appriciate it. I am Ruby from India, teaching english in a private college. I wud suggest that we should make this a platform whr all the english teachers exchange the modules which they apply to teach english as second language n moreover we can invite some teachers to each other’s country n host them to exchange the cultures n try to make this world a better place.

  5. March 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm | #9

    How nice that you’ve become a blogger!
    You and Shaun Dowling were my teachers when I was preparing to sit a Cambridge test on 2005. I wouldn’t have passed it without your guidance!
    Best of luck with your MA!

    • March 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm | #10

      Hi Ana,

      Really nice of you to drop by. I’m glad to hear I played a small part in your passing the exam. It’s always good to know I could help. :)
      Feel free to come back to the blog and write comments!

      Cheers!

  6. Monik
    March 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm | #11

    Shy? LOL…

    • March 23, 2010 at 10:03 am | #12

      Yes, shy! :)
      Of all people, you should know this, sis!!

  7. March 28, 2010 at 6:21 am | #13

    From your posts, I’d suggest you pay a visit to Brasilia’s two Waldorf/Steiner schools – you may have more in common than you realise!

  8. Fernanda
    May 24, 2010 at 12:48 pm | #15

    Sorry, but I really think you’ve written something wrong here… On what planet are you shy?????

  9. June 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm | #17

    Hi

    My name is Brian Asselin and I am a recent graduate from the teachers college program at the University of Ottawa. Towards the end of school we, the students, are reminded how fortunate we are to have principles, administration, and teachers who help inspire students everyday. While in teachers college I realized how fortunate I have been to have had such great teachers in my life that have helped shape the person I am today. I wanted to say thank you to all those who go beyond the daily job requirements so I co-wrote a song entitled “You Have Made A Difference”. I would really appreciate it if you would take a couple minutes to listen to the song and if you felt so, share it with your staff.

    Thanks so much in advance
    Brian Asselin
    jazzcat251@gmail.com

    Here is the link on youtube

    • July 3, 2010 at 11:56 am | #18

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you very much for sharing the song! Teachers do need some appreciation from time to time, just like anyone else. I’ll certainly share it with my staff.

      Hope you enjoy the blog and keep visiting it. :)

  10. sparkyteaching
    July 12, 2010 at 4:52 am | #19

    Hello there. I run the Sparky Teaching blog (part of the iLearn Technology Blogger Alliance #2 and I’m just leaving this message as I can’t think of any other way of doing things… In the original subscription, my website feed wasn’t correct and so, even though I’m posting away, none of my posts are coming up on the list. I’ve contacted Kelly and she has altered the feed address, but the only way for the changes to be made is for users to unsubscribe and then subscribe again. If you feel like doing this, here was the original link that Kelly sent out: http://www.google.com/reader/bundle/user%2F13561210701575762120%2Fbundle%2FiLearn%20Technology%20Blogger%20Alliance%202

    My e-mail address is pw77-account(at)fsmail.net in case you need to contact me. Sorry to have contacted you this way, but as I say I’m at a loss as to how to sort it out any other way!

    Best wishes,
    PW

    • July 14, 2010 at 8:05 pm | #20

      Hi there,

      Thank you so much for this message! I was actually a bit of lost regarding the Blogger Alliance. I can’t wait to start participating actively in it! :)

  11. August 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm | #21

    Hello Henrick,

    Very interesting and well-written article. Thank you for including my image, I’m honored.

    Sincerely,

    Ian Sane

    • August 22, 2010 at 7:04 pm | #22

      Hello Ian,

      Thank you for your kind words! Your image was just perfect for the post! :)

      Best,

      Henrick

  12. September 16, 2010 at 6:13 pm | #23

    Hey Henrick! Remember me? Do you still play chess? I haven’t forgot our last moves ;-)

    I’m writing because I’m also into education – my wife and I run a democratic school in São Paulo, and we’ve also taken part in founding an institute to promote democratic education ideas in Brazil. I enjoy you blog and am glad to see you’ve also taken this path. We should find some time to chat sooner or later.

    I always see you online at gtalk, but since you’re busy now I decided to post here. Drop a message some time.

    cheers
    Luis

    • September 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm | #24

      Hi Luis,

      Really nice of you to leave me this comment! I’ve just emailed you and I hope we can keep in touch from now on!

      Cheers!

  13. October 18, 2010 at 8:49 am | #25

    Hi Henrick, are you still in Birmingham? Me too. I know the university well (although I went to Manchester) as I live nearby. I think your blog is great, and love the title. Thinking, well day-dreaming, is a personal hobby of mine!
    David

    • October 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm | #26

      Hi David! I so wish I were there. I’ve had to take the distance course, unfortunately. I’ve been thinking about going to Birmingham for the graduation ceremony, but that’s still uncertain.
      Many thanks for the kind words on the blog. The idea is exactly that – day-dreaming, musing, reflecting a bit, and learning.
      If I ever go to Birmingham (fingers crossed), I’ll look you up! :)

  14. Jennifer
    October 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm | #27

    Hi Rick!
    I was doing a little research on teaching English in Brasil, and I stumbled upon your information. It’s great to have information on teaching English in a foreign context all in one place! Nice work with the blog!

    A little info on me: I have a BS in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and am currently teaching in an Elementary school here in the United States (I am from the US and currently live here). Unfortunately, my boyfriend (um brasileiro) has to return to Brasil, and I am planning to join him there to marry and all that good stuff. His family lives in Goias state, 3-4 hours from you there in DF. Ok, sorry about the long story but here come my actual questions (thank goodness, right?)

    With my BS in TESL and teaching experience, what do you think is out there for me as far as teaching English? Is it difficult to get started in Brasil, and make a decent wage? Am I being ridiculous thinking that I could actually find a good job there? Is a language school best, or are there international schools? Do you know if there are language schools in Goiania? Too many questions I know! But I am very interested in what you have done and I have to start somewhere!

    Keep up the good work with the blog, I will be visiting regularly! Thanks again!

    • October 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm | #28

      Hi Jennifer,

      I’m glad to hear it’s been useful. :)

      I guess all teachers enjoy a good story, especially one that ends so well. I really wish you two all the best!

      I believe there are good chances for you to find a job here. I can see two options for you: working in an international school (in Brasília I can think of four different schools off the top of my head: The American School of Brasília, The School of the Nations, Maple Bear, and the International School), or at a language institute. I believe that in any situation you’ll need your VISA and all the paper work, which might not be a problem since you’re going to get married and all that happy stuff. There are many language schools in Goiânia, but as I’m not from Goiânia I can’t really give you much more information than this. It won’t be difficult for you to find information on that, though. I guess you can find that online if you google “language schools Goiânia”, or “English schools Goiânia”. My sister is currently living in Goiânia – she doesn’t know much, but I can ask her.

      Making a decent wage… hmm, I’m really unsure about how much they pay in Goiânia. This varies from school to school, so the best option is also for you to look for many different options. You’re probably going to work in a private language institute, so they can pay as much as they want. Just so you have an idea, teachers payement in Brasília may vary from R$ 10,00 to R$ 50,00 per hour – and there’s always the possibility of private classes, and then you say how much you want to charge.

      I hope this is useful. If need be, feel free to email me at henrick.oprea@gmail.com

      Cheers,

      Henrick

  15. Lois Ann Mendonça Pearo
    April 30, 2011 at 7:40 am | #29

    Olá, bom dia Henrick. I read your article about teaching English in Brasília. I too was born in Brasília, but moved to the States when I was only 5-years-old. Now, I am a master’s level Counselor and Certified EFL Teacher. I have traveled to 6 countries and taught English in Erie, PA, Spain, Manhattan, New York, and now in Hanam City, South Korea. My dream is to return to the city of my birth, teach English to Brasilians, counsel American students, and learn my native language and culture again before it’s too late. My birth family actually lives in Brasília, but I have yet to meet them. I am writing to inquire if you are in need of a Certified EFL Teacher at your language institute, “Atlantic Idiomas.” I too believe in finding innovative ways to engage learners, utilizing creativity & willpower. I may pursue another MA in TEFL/TESL as well. How do you like the program at the University of Birmingham? Thank you very much for your time. I do hope to hear from you soon. I admire all that you are doing there. Atenciosamente, Lois Ann Pearo, MA, TEFL Certified

  16. July 2, 2011 at 10:47 am | #30

    Recently discovered your site.
    Great posts!! Wonderful insights!!

    It’s now part of my must reads.

    • July 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm | #31

      Many thanks for the kind words! I hope you enjoy the upcoming posts as well, and you’re more than welcome to leave comments! :)

  17. August 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm | #32

    Hi! I saw a post on the English Raven Facebook page that mentioned your name and that you were from brazil, so I came right over to your blog to take a look. I live in Mãncio Lima, Acre, Brazil and am looking for EFL teachers in Brazil to connect with, especially EFL teachers who teach in public schools. I am hoping to share new ideas, and insights into how to improve my teaching in the Brazilian context, especially since I was not raised in Brazil and was not trained to teach English (my degree is in Mathematics).
    Thanks for your wonderful blog. I will be visiting often.

    • August 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm | #33

      Hi Josefa,

      We’re all like a big family in the blogosphere looking for other teachers who are also willing to share and contribute to our professional development. Feel free to comment on the posts whenever you want to, and you’ll also find other ELT bloggers from Brazil on my blogroll. They’re all amazing! You may want to start by checking Valéria Benévolo, Cecília Coelho, and Willy Cardoso. Thanks for the kind words! :)

      • August 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm | #34

        Thank you for you quick reply and the blog suggestions.
        God bless you!

  18. September 26, 2011 at 5:26 am | #35

    I have read your interesting online article and blog about teaching English in Brazil and the challenges of getting students to buy-in to why they should learn English. I have a teaching credential and Master’s Degree in teaching in California but am currently employed as a partner in a small contracting company selling and installing solar electric systems. I only speak English and have an English speaking family, wife and daughters 8 years old and 9 years old. Assuming I am open to trying to learn Portuguese over time and open to acculturating myself and family in Brazil, can you advise me whether I could reasonably get employment where I could be functional in Brazil without Portuguese or Spanish capability? Is this possible? Are there any English speaking communities in Brazil?

    • September 27, 2011 at 10:14 am | #36

      Hello Michael,

      I do believe you can find employment in Brazil without knowing Portuguese. If you’re a qualified teacher, then, you could even try to look for openings and checking what might be necessary to get a job at one of the many American Schools in Brazil, for example. English language teaching institutes might also be a possibility, as well as companies in other fields – can’t really say much in that regard, though. I cannot think of any English speaking community in Brazil off the top of my head, but there are many English speakers living in Brazil these days – I really don’t think not speaking Portuguese would be a hindrance.

      Feel free to email me or contact me on Facebook so we can carry on the conversation there.

      Cheers! :)

  19. September 27, 2011 at 2:10 am | #37

    Any chance at all?

  20. September 27, 2011 at 10:39 am | #38

    Great! Thank you for the encouraging response!

  21. February 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm | #39

    Hi

    An interesting blog with many good ideas, thank you for this. It was promoted on our TESOL facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/239446842741291/

    Regards,
    Ibrar
    http://holisticeducator.blogspot.com/

  22. Gerson Penha
    May 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm | #40

    Prezado Henrick Oprea,

    a respeito da campanha publicitária da Open English, encaminho para seu conhecimento link com o posicionamento da empresa em relação à questão.

    http://www.talktoandres.com/

    Atenciosamente,

  23. Marie Stevens
    September 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm | #41

    Hi, Rick I was doing some research about teaching in Brazil. What’s the best city in Brazil where I can make decent money and perhaps save some to take back home?

  24. Iris Ben David
    January 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm | #42

    Hi Rick, I’ll be more than happy to connect my students with yours and share information.
    Iris.

  25. Lorena Palma
    June 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm | #43

    Hello Henrick!
    My name is Lorena Palma, I’m 29 years old and I have a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. When surfing the Internet, I came across one of your articles talking about the adventures of an English Teacher in Brazil. I found it very interesting and reading your other posts and verifying you have an extensive experience in the area here in Brasília, I would like to ask you for some help. I graduated in English here in Brasilia and lived abroad for two years. One year in Ireland and another year in Dubai. I love the English language and I have an advanced level, but do not consider myself safe enough to take a classroom and teach! I am spontaneous and communicative and now that I believe that my return to Brazil is to be for an extended period, I would love to do a course that is going to allow me to be an English Teacher. I want to be a good one, educated and competent, like the one´s I had!! I would love to teach! Do you know a good course here in Brasilia? I found one in Thomas Jefferson, but it has duration of two and half years and I am looking for a shorter course!!
    Well, that’s it!
    Grateful for your attention!
    Lorena Palma

    • June 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm | #44

      Hi Lorena,

      It’s good to hear that you’re interested in doing a good job and not simply relying on your experience abroad and the fact that you can speak the language to start teaching. This is the kind of people we need more of. As far as teacher training courses go, you won’t find many that are of a short duration in Brasília, and I believe the only one that’s been around for quite a while, up to now, is the one at Casa Thomas Jefferson. If you’re looking for something more intensive, but that will give you the initial foundation to start teaching, you could consider the CELTA, from Cambridge ESOL (http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/celta/) or you could consider taking a very basic course as the Cambridge TKT (http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/tkt/). If possible, I highly advise you take the CELTA. The TKT will give you some information on the basics of teaching and it is, honestly, just a very introductory qualification. On the bright side, both CELTA and TKT are recognised worldwide.

      Alternatively, you could also start working on some informal professional development by reading loads of blogs written by English teachers from Brazil and abroad. You can find some on my blogroll and, from those, you’ll find others). There’s also Braz-TESOL, a teachers’ association that organises seminars and conferences (http://www.braztesol.org.br/site/view.asp) and there are a couple of webinars that you can attend free of charge that will give you some insight. You can also join two Facebook groups for English teachers – BRELT (https://www.facebook.com/groups/brelt/) and Braz-TESOL Brasília (https://www.facebook.com/groups/braztesolregional/) to begin with.

      Finally, if you’re looking for some self-study, I recommend you buy your copy of Jeremy Harmer’s The Practice of English Language Teaching (http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Language-Teaching-Handbooks-Teachers/dp/1405853115/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370985605&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Practice+of+English+Language+Teaching). You can find it in – or order it from – local bookstores, such as SBS, Disal and Livraria Cultura (most likely). This book will most likely be one of your main guides in terms of preparing you to enter a classroom. If you’re interested in something a bit simpler, you can check How to Teach English, or Essential Teacher Knowledge, both by Jeremy Harmer.

      And feel free to drop me a line any time. If there’s anything I can help you with, I’ll be glad to do so.

      Cheers!

  26. Lorena Palma
    June 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm | #45

    Wow Henrick! Thank you very much for your quick and efficient response. Undoubtedly I will check every statement you pointed out. Again thank you! It’s hard to find people who are available to simply help without having any interest. Cheers!
    Lorena

  27. September 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm | #46

    I know this site presents quality depending content and additional stuff,
    is there any other site which presents these kinds of stuff in quality?

    • September 9, 2013 at 10:04 am | #47

      Hi there,

      There are a couple of blogs on my blogroll (right-side menu) and these blogs also contain a list of other blogs to follow. It’s a very interesting network of blogs written mainly by educators.

  28. October 14, 2013 at 12:58 am | #48

    This is such a great blog. I’m sure your students are quite proud to have you as their English teacher. I’m currently teaching in South Korea, and it’s been a rewarding experience. Continue the wonderful work.

  29. January 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm | #49

    I am writing a paper on blogging as a form of professional development in the ELT context and want lots of insights and ideas especially case studies where people have used blogging to gain professional visibility.I am interested in Brazil. Russia, China,Japan as well my own country, india
    Also I started my own blog vinitadhondiyal.wordpress.com
    Any chance of any post there being useful for teaching ELT in any classroom. That would help my paper!

  30. Mariana
    February 10, 2014 at 7:34 pm | #50

    Hi, Henrick! Nice blog! Btw, do you have roots from Romania/Moldova or is “Oprea” a common family name in Brasil? :) I am curious because this is also my family name.

    • February 10, 2014 at 9:54 pm | #51

      Hi Mariana,

      My grandfather was from Romania, and this is where the family name comes from. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to pay it a visit even though I don’t know any of my Romanian relatives… Oh, and it’s definitely not a common family name in Brazil.

      Thanks for paying a visit to the blog! I hope you come back!

  31. Caitlin
    February 28, 2014 at 4:14 am | #52

    Hi Henrick!

    Really enjoying your blog! I found an article by you on Teaching VIllage and it led me here. I am relocating to Brasilia after completing my Master’s of Social Work in the U.S. in June. I would like to explore teaching English and social work in Brasilia. Any tips on where to start? I am visiting Brasilia in a few short weeks and I’m eager to speak with potential employers or places that I can volunteer my time. Would Atlantic Idiomas be looking for new and eager English teachers? :)

    Thank you so much!

    Caitlin

    • March 2, 2014 at 11:25 pm | #53

      Hi Caitlin,

      Feel free to email me with your questions so we can chat better. Unfortunately, Atlantic Idiomas has closed, but I can still provide you with some information if you think that’d be helpful. My email is henrick.oprea@gmail.com

      Cheers,

      Henrick

  1. May 27, 2011 at 11:25 am | #1
  2. February 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm | #2

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