For my vocational visit I had the opportunity to visit 3 schools in Terresina. The first was a private school for students in grades 10 to 12. My guide for the day was Wildermeir, the GSE team leader for the Brazilian team that will visit Canada next month. He is a teacher at this school and was able to take me into several classrooms, the library and staff room. I was very surprised to see class sizes in private schools, there were anywhere from 50 to 200 students in each class, the average was about 70 students. Their classroom management skills are very good because you would never known that there were that many adolescents in the room based on how calm and quiet it was. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the students and fielded some questions about Canada and our education system.....and of course some questions about Justin Beeber too. Apparently young Brazilian girls love him and they think I may know him because I am Canadian.
The next school was also a private school, but was only for grade 12 students. Its focus is specifically to train the students to prepare for the entry exam for the state universities. University here in Brazil is public, but entrance is based on the test and is limited in numbers. The intent of the school, which just opened this year, is to have a high volume of students pass the exam and gain entry into the publicly funded University in the hopes of expanding next year from 3 classes to as many as 10 classes. I also had the opportunity to speak with some teachers and staff here and get an idea how the staffing and 'business' side of the schools operates, it's very different than in Canada.
The last school that we visited was another school that Wildermeir teaches at, this one is a public school. The differences in the public vs private were immediately apparent. As you can imagine the private schools were a step up in every aspect, including air conditioning and audiovisual equipment that was non existent in the public schools.
After touring the schools we met for lunch and then I headed home to study for my exam.