Karin Heuert Galvão - EFL Teacher, Teacher Trainer, ELT Consultant and School Director

Karin Heuert Galvão is the ultimate multi-tasker - mother, EFL teacher, teacher trainer, ELT consultant and school director.  Read Karin's advice about wearing one's "teacher hat” and “businesswoman hat”. 

Can you start off by telling us where you teach?

I currently teach at i-Study Interactive Learning, a language school based in São Paulo, Brazil.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 16 years.

Can you describe a typical teaching day?

I start very early in the morning, because my first lesson is at 7 a.m., however I don’t need to worry about being stuck in traffic for hours, because all my morning lessons are online. God bless the Internet!

I teach online from 7 to 11 a.m., and then I get ready, pack my things and go to a company close to my house, where I teach General English, Business English and work as a consultant. I stay there until 2 p.m., then I come home, have a quick lunch and I am back online by 3 p.m.. I teach online until 6 or 7 p.m. and then I am on mommy and wife mode. I have a 5-year-old boy and this is our time together.

On Fridays, I usually organize my week, my lessons, work on contracts, invoices and talk to the other teachers that work with me. Sometimes, I attend ELT events, or give workshops and lecturers to teachers in other language schools; other times I teach my students who couldn’t have classes during the week. It really depends, but I try to have my Fridays available, because everything ELT related happens on Fridays or Saturdays in Brazil and online.

On Saturdays, I follow almost the same routine as I do on Fridays, with the exception that I work only until midday. The rest of the day is family time.

During the months of October, November and December, I am usually busy all day Fridays and Saturdays working as a Speaking Examiner.

What do you do in your spare time to relax?  

I spend time with my family, watch TV or shows on Netflix. I enjoy reading, but I find quite difficult to find the time to sit down and read something other than ELT materials.  I have been going to the gym for the past two months now, but I intend to maximize my exercise routine in 2017. I have noticed that now that almost 90% of my work in online, my body is in deep need of exercising. Gotta keep moving!

You took on the tremendous task of starting a company called i-Study Interactive Learning.  Can you tell us about it?

Sure. i-Study Interactive Learning is a language school based in São Paulo, Brazil. We teach face-to-face and online courses – EFL and teacher training courses. Our goal is to offer our clients the best service they can find, focusing on what they really need. We started in 2007, and I have to confess, it was by accident. I never planned for this to happen, I just found myself “becoming a company”, which back then was fine, but now I know for a fact that if I had started with a business plan and all that, there were going to be less bumps in the road.

Our most successful online course for teachers is our “Online Phonology & Pronunciation Course”. I developed this course alongside Thelma Marques, who is the main tutor. Thelma is a Brazilian teacher based in Australia and she is our Pronunciation Specialist.

How long did it take you to set up your company?

About 6 months, which is completely insane if you really consider all that a company needs. In the following 3 years, the company changed dramatically and started gaining shape and more structure. Now, after 9 years, we are in our best shape ever. We have developed a successful and innovative way of teaching online, where students and teachers can work together collaboratively. We are constantly trying to find new ways to help learners to reach their goals effectively and within their reach. Our focus now is to work with students and teachers from other parts of Brazil, not only São Paulo. 

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

Yes, and I am very excited about it. It’s a project with fabulous ELT professionals and we’ll focus on Business English. Can’t say much right now, but stay tuned!

That's sound great.  Let me know when you can talk about it and I can interview again!

Unfortunately in our field, there has been discrimination against "non-native" speakers of English. What advice would you give to non-native speakers of English who would like to use their skills to become teacherpreneurs?

First of all, research. Find out about local laws and how to set your own business. Talk to an account and ask away, ask anything and everything related to costs. After that, write a business plan. This is really more about you becoming your own business than you as a teacher. Believe in what you do! It doesn't matter if you're native or non-native speaker, what matters is that you believe in yourself and believe that what you do can actually make a difference in someone else's life. Taking risks (business-wise) is not up our alley, as teachers, but working in a place or project that you have absolutely no passion about can be ever worse. It's hard work, but it's doable. Believe in yourself.

How do you market or promote your school?

I promote my school mostly on social media, but I find that my clients help me promote my school and courses even more. Good work speaks for itself and if you believe in what you do, it shows and people will believe it too. Being passionate about what you do is fundamental.

What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?

I have been working with Business English for quite some time now, and one must think that it is only teaching, but I have learned a lot from preparing classes and especially, from my students. This helped me consolidate my business and have a more entrepreneurial point of view, rather than a teacher’s one. It is very complicated to find the balance, but you must understand when you are wearing your ‘teacher hat” and your “businesswoman hat”. There is a saying in Portuguese: “É o olho do dono que engorda o gado” – It’s the eye of the master that fattens the cattle (something like that, but you get my point.)

What advice would you give to teachers who are considering having a company?

Plan. Planning is fundamental for your business to grow solidly, and for you to know exactly what to do and, when to do it without harming your finances. Talk to specialists, lawyers and accounts, for example – I come from a background in Law, but I found it more useful having someone assisting me, to make sure I am doing the right thing. Make sure you ask questions about how much everything is going to cost - we, as teachers, forget about these details because we are too focused in the classroom, but at the end of the day, it’s a business and you earn your living like this. Be bold, but cautious, if you have a plan, innovating is possible.

How can people get in touch with you?

Karin Heuert Galvão, Director, EFL Teacher, Teacher Trainer & ELT Consultant, i-Study Interactive Learning

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.istudy.com.br

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karin-heuert-galv%C3%A3o-5686953/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karinheuert

Instagram: @teacherkarinheuert

Is there anything that you would like to add?  

Keep learning. Learning is essential for a business owner. You must learn about finances, law, business management, marketing, etc. You will notice that everything that you learn for the business will reflect in the classroom and you will have a more powerful and interesting lesson to deliver. Your students will thank you.  Thank you so much for inviting me Patrice. It's an honor!

Thanks so much Karin.  I hope we can meet in person in the future.


Interested in learning more about transitioning from a teacher to teacherpreneur but don’t know how to get started?  Here are some ways:

1. Read more teacherpreneur interviews at www.teacherpreneur.ca/blog

2. Check out my Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit at http://www.teacherpreneur.ca

3. Sign up for my 4 week online course with iTDi.pro - Teacher to Teacherpreneur http://itdi.pro/itdihome/teacherpreneur.php 

4. Download 10 Tips to Transition from Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/p/10-tips-to-transition-from-teacher-to-teachepreneur

5. Join my LinkedIn group for teacherpreneurs. Connect with other teacherpreneurs https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7060976

6. Set up a private coaching call with me  https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/pages/book-a-coaching-session-with-me

Connect with me on social media. Teacherpreneurs must be on social media!

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/teacherpreneur2/
Twitter     https://twitter.com/teacherpreneur2
LinkedIn   https://ca.linkedin.com/in/patricepalmer1

Who am I?

My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., TESL and I reside in Canada. I have 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer including 7 amazing years in Hong Kong. I have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs such as ESP, EAP, Business English, and language programs for new immigrants in Canada.  I'm now a teacherpreneur doing the things that I love such as writing courses, blogging, sharing teaching materials, instructional coaching for new teachers and coaching teacherpreneurs. Having a flexible schedule allows me to conduct short-term training around the world at any time of the year.  


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