Whether you’re seeking gorgeous, sandy beaches to soak up the sun and waves to ride, or you’re keen on getting to know beautiful, ancient villages steeped in history - or, if it’s the Douro valley and its delicious ports and wines you’re after… Portugal is the country to be in. There is good reason why Portugal is rated as one of the top 20 countries in the world in terms of quality of life. A country of contrasting landscapes – from its magnificent coastline to its mountains, to its fabulous river valleys, to its rolling plains as you head south towards Alentejo and the Algarve, this is a country whose ancient and fascinating history and culture, great food, wine, weather and people make it wonderfully hospitable and a pleasure to live in.
The TEFL market is well-entrenched but it is still a destination worth going to for those looking for work. Many schools are willing to take on recently CELTA-qualified teachers whose ability to be flexible in terms of teaching students who tend to range from young learners between the ages of 7 and 16 to adults and business classes is greatly valued. It is very likely that a new teacher’s workload, consist mostly of younger learners but obviously this is not necessarily always the case.
Portuguese students are keen to learn English and are willing and enthusiastic learners. Teaching them will provide a further insight into the warm, hospitable nature of the Portuguese.
Salary and hours
A full-time teaching contract, which is not easy to come by initially, can vary between 18 and 24 contact hours per week. Very often, teachers start out freelancing for more than one school and then possibly build up a reputation and get offered a contract. Split shifts are very common as is working on Saturdays and having split weekends.
Salaries tend to be around 900-1100 euros a month before tax.
Type of teaching
Teachers can expect to teach a variety of age-groups and class-types with younger learners being the most common. Many language schools have contracts with local primary schools and you may find yourself teaching larger numbers of students off-site.
Schools sometimes offer assistance in finding accommodation or may even have lists of available accommodation. In the bigger cities it can be expensive and you need to be aware of hidden costs, such as, deposits and costs to connect the electricity, gas and water.
Start of school year/ best time to look for work
Most contracts with private language schools will begin in October and run through till the end of June. The majority of schools will require teachers to have a CELTA/TESOL or equivalent qualification. Knowledge of Portuguese is an advantage but certainly not a must.
Any EU resident who takes up a post in Portugal will be required to register with the local tax authorities, usually schools are helpful in advising you. Even for EU residents it is advisable to apply for a residence permit especially if you intend staying in the country long term. This is done through the local immigration authorities and does require a fair amount of patience with bureaucracy. Non-EU residents are increasingly finding it difficult to work legally in this country.