- Teacher Supply
Lucas Virgili, St Paul's School, Brazil
Read the results of our Teacher Supply research here
Lucas is a Brazilian national, teaching Mathematics, TOK, and Computer Science at St Paul’s British School in Brazil. He trained in applied mathematics and advanced computing before completing a Brazilian teaching qualification. While based at St Paul’s, he has completed an online PGCEi with University of Nottingham.
MOVING TO AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Lucas originally thought he would pursue a career teaching in the university sector. He did an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics, followed by a Masters in the UK in advanced computing before returning to Brazil to start a PhD.
During his doctoral studies, he had some opportunity to work with young people, and decided that school teaching might be the right choice for him, so he completed a Brazilian teacher training qualification. After teaching in Brazilian schools, Lucas started teaching at St Paul’s British School in Sao Paulo via a third party, providing lessons in computer science for the IB programme. Then, four years ago, there was an opening at the school for a maths teacher.
INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING IN A BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Although Lucas had completed local teacher training, he did not feel that it provided all the training he needed.
It wasn’t great in terms of learning to teach, planning lessons, etc. I had to access other training. I used Future Learn and did a bunch of courses that helped.
In his second year at St Paul’s, the school encouraged him to start an online PCGEi with University of Nottingham. Lucas found much of the content to be useful – providing him with a theoretical basis to back up his practical training and experience.
Most of the modules were useful in supporting me. I got to know theories that I didn’t know, and there were useful references on assessment for learning, behaviour management, cognitive theory, etc.
Lucas’ school has supported other teachers through an international PGCE as well. Asked if he would recommend the PGCEi, Lucas’ response is positive.
Definitely. It was the only course I did that was fun and useful – including the PhD.
MOVING TO THE UK?
Lucas is complimentary about the British system, and prefers it to his experience of teaching in the local school system.
I like the British system better. The assessments are less focused on a single exam. The Brazilian system is very focused on the university admissions exam.
He also prefers the class sizes in the British system – most classes in Brazil will have 40 to 50 pupils.
Lucas and his wife have talked about the possibility of moving to the UK, but for the time being they are planning to stay where they are.
My sister lives in the UK, so it wouldn’t be that problematic. But I don’t like the cold.
He also thinks that the fact that he would need to obtain QTS, despite his existing qualifications and experience, would be a deterrent to moving to the UK.
If he were to move, he would bring with him a range of experience. In part, his English skills have improved since working in an international school, but he also highlights experience of dealing with different cultures and different priorities.
ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGE OF TEACHER SUPPLY
Thinking about recruitment to international sector, Lucas suggests that more could be done to motivate and attract more experienced teachers to apply. He also notes that current global uncertainties and anxieties (Brexit, Covid-19, etc.) are likely to have an impact on teachers leaving the UK.
For both the UK and international sectors, he also comments that making salaries more commensurate with the workload could help teacher supply.
For our workload, we don’t get much money. It’s a lot more work than a normal 9-5 job. But we want the best for the kids, so we work more.
Find out more about our Teacher Supply research findings here