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Working for my recruiter or working for my school?

 
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:50 pm    Post subject: Working for my recruiter or working for my school? Reply with quote

I am in central VN, not in HN or HCMC. Sometimes I wonder if I should move to these places to save more. But maybe the lifestyle I have here is good. In my city, I went to a school who also are recruiters. They put me into a government after school job. I am actually working for the recruiter and they pay me in cash once a month.

The government school wants to hire me and will give me a work permit if I work for a year. They'll let me have two months off in the summer. They would give me a small raise. It seems like they don't want the recruiter to know. The recruiter presented me with a contract for three months, but my school doesn't want me to sign it. It is confusing or me. With the raise I would be making a little over ten dollars an hour.

What should I do? My school probably wants to save money by not using the recruiter, but they want me to keep it a secret or something so the recruiter doesn't know or so they don't damage the relationship with them. They probably want to keep my rate low, too. I also wonder if my rate is ok. I was told that 10-12 usd/hr is normal here. VN teachers make between 2 and 3/hr. My recruiter also kept my criminal background check saying they can show the police if they ask. But I think they did it to prevent me from switching employers without them knowing. I will ask for it back.

For me the work is ok. I'm working everyday. Two and a half hours on weekdays. All day on weekends. If I want time off, they seem flexible. I am more of assistant and I don't do much lesson planning and no grading. I like where I live. By the beach. I've got friends and a motorbike. It's been five weeks. I like things here more than in Korea. I am not going to save a lot, it seems. It is hard to know who to trust sometimes. Part of me feels like I should go back to the USA though.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Working for my recruiter or working for my school? Reply with quote

montblanc20 wrote:
I am in central VN, not in HN or HCMC. Sometimes I wonder if I should move to these places to save more. But maybe the lifestyle I have here is good. In my city, I went to a school who also are recruiters. They put me into a government after school job. I am actually working for the recruiter and they pay me in cash once a month.

The government school wants to hire me and will give me a work permit if I work for a year. They'll let me have two months off in the summer. They would give me a small raise. It seems like they don't want the recruiter to know. The recruiter presented me with a contract for three months, but my school doesn't want me to sign it. It is confusing or me. With the raise I would be making a little over ten dollars an hour.

What should I do? My school probably wants to save money by not using the recruiter, but they want me to keep it a secret or something so the recruiter doesn't know or so they don't damage the relationship with them. They probably want to keep my rate low, too. I also wonder if my rate is ok. I was told that 10-12 usd/hr is normal here. VN teachers make between 2 and 3/hr. My recruiter also kept my criminal background check saying they can show the police if they ask. But I think they did it to prevent me from switching employers without them knowing. I will ask for it back.

For me the work is ok. I'm working everyday. Two and a half hours on weekdays. All day on weekends. If I want time off, they seem flexible. I am more of assistant and I don't do much lesson planning and no grading. I like where I live. By the beach. I've got friends and a motorbike. It's been five weeks. I like things here more than in Korea. I am not going to save a lot, it seems. It is hard to know who to trust sometimes. Part of me feels like I should go back to the USA though.


The recruiter and the school both know each other and you are the pawn. - The decision rests with you and you alone, make it, and cut the tie, if you decide to, first before moving on. That way, at least you have no moral obligation to anybody.
- Get that document back because it is expensive and it belongs to you.

It sounds like you are happy, I am envious. I hope you manage to get to the other side without being compromised in any way.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm inferring Danang is your location.

I'd say if you're happy and enjoying it all then sign up for a year. You could try asking the recruiter for a year contract plus WP and if they refuse sign on with the school directly. You could be caught in the middle of a nasty spat but if the worst comes to the worst you can move on.

10-12USD is low pay for a fully qualified and experienced teacher but if they give you reasonable hours then it's not a bad weekly/monthly rate. If you can make 1000 a month every month including the summer break then it's livable.

Depends on your goals to save and if you can cope with just being the assistant teacher for 12 months.

It takes a while for some people to get over the system of bonded servitude that a Korean Hogwan or public school program imposes. Not so here. If you don't like one job you can change employer without any worries.

If you enjoy it, are managing to make ends meet and don't need to save anything why over think it?

I wouldn't like a 7 day week even if the hours are moderate and would push for one day free a week - Sundays by preference.
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. It does feel like I am the pawn. It is too bad because both places seem nice. I'm just getting paid for every hour I work. The summer off would be unpaid. I'm thinking of going back home to study something for the summer, prerequisites for a master's that isn't teaching-related. Then after that I would come back.

Should just tell both places that I don't want to sign anything and that I need some more time?

I would like one day off every week. The school seems pretty accommodating for my future requests of unpaid time off, so maybe I'm ok with working everyday for now and I can ask occasionally. I'm not making 1,000 a month right now. I'll probably go around to other schools or do private lessons eventually to pick up hours. Right now, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days.

Sometimes I think that Vietnam would be a good place to start a business if I don't want to do teaching. Also, if you want to comment on my living arrangements, I'm paying $180 for a room in a minihotel where the residents are permanent. There's also another English teacher. Having a cleaner and reception is ok. Sometimes I feel like I should try a house. I've been told that I could get a house with more privacy for less money, but maybe it wouldn't be as secure. Sometimes it feels strange to pay for rent what my VN friends make in a month.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't go for a house in such and unstable situation. It's usual to pay 3 months rent up front (often they ask for six) or you have to pay way over the odds to pay monthly. Many landlords try to get a deposit which is rarely returned.

During the summer you could probably pick up extra work locally since that is when the schools are off and demand is higher in the language schools.

However I doubt you will be able to find much lucrative work during the daytime because all the big schools have teachers under contract who are idle at those times.

Remember few Vietnamese pay rent. They own houses or live with their parents even after marriage. They also often live in cramped squalid accommodation that we would never consider.

Your situation is odd to say the least. You have to ask yourself what it is you want and make a judgement accordingly.

If you need to save money or if you need a few months to relax after Korea (I know I did!).

You are not going to enhance your CV in this job but few of us do in Vietnam.

The hotel seems the best option for now and is quite reasonable.
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will stay in my hotel for now. The school says that i could live in a hotel for less than 100 if I go a mile and a half farther out.

I don't think that I will be able to teach during the daytime. All schools have the same hours. Unless I find some kind of English language daycare. I'm not sure if there are any. I just visited a school and they told me to try for a reception job at a foreign hotel. Maybe I will check out the hotels and see if they have jobs like this. Sometimes I think that I should create a job for myself. My friends and I could give people tours during the day.

I am unwinding from Korea. I like the food more and the people are ok. I've been told that the life in my city is good and safe compared to HN and HCMC. The streets are so empty at night and I can just cruise on the bike. But, I was saving the most that I had ever saved in Korea and I want to save. Maybe I need to push for them to give me a little more money. Closer to 12 than 10 an hour.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

montblanc20 wrote:
I will stay in my hotel for now. The school says that i could live in a hotel for less than 100 if I go a mile and a half farther out.

I don't think that I will be able to teach during the daytime. All schools have the same hours. Unless I find some kind of English language daycare. I'm not sure if there are any. I just visited a school and they told me to try for a reception job at a foreign hotel. Maybe I will check out the hotels and see if they have jobs like this. Sometimes I think that I should create a job for myself. My friends and I could give people tours during the day.

I am unwinding from Korea. I like the food more and the people are ok. I've been told that the life in my city is good and safe compared to HN and HCMC. The streets are so empty at night and I can just cruise on the bike. But, I was saving the most that I had ever saved in Korea and I want to save. Maybe I need to push for them to give me a little more money. Closer to 12 than 10 an hour.


Would you consider opting for a third option? You could start asking around other places and leave these two to stew in their own makings. This would also give you another advantage...you could start asking for 15 dollars, or more an hour.
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8balldeluxe



Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Location: vietnam

PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People should not work for recruiters at all if they can avoid it. But it is getting harder and harder to avoid them. The trend these days is to give recruiter licenses to anyone who can fill out the forms and qualify, and these people get a large portion of the proceeds. But they do not do hardly anything do earn this money. They don't pay rent on the schools where they place you, and they usually don't help by giving you any materials. This trend has hurt the language institutes by talking their students , because parents are told that in their day schools they have a native speaker teacher. Unfortunately given the size of the class and lack of facilities to really study in pairwork or group it is really difficult to conduct lessons as written in the books for foreign teachers. The agents who run these schemes are very new to the business, and they have huge amounts of teachers working for them. Unless they split the classes, but usually a recruiter wouldn't want to do that. I have had them call me out of the blue, some who have little experience with curriculum or education. It is sad to see things going this way. It doesn't make much sense why this trend is getting so widespread, because it only benefits the recruiter, and the principal if they are in on it. There are some things about it that make it seem like it was designed to take the business from the institutes and make it harder for them. For example foreign teachers are usually scheduled to start as early as possible in the morning at "public schools" . This would discourage foreign teachers from teaching effectively in the evenings. It won't last, because eventually parents and schools are going to figure out that language institutes teach better and more effectively, and at less cost.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it's a disturbing trend taking English teaching in the wrong direction.

IMO money spent on getting foreign teachers to work in public schools would be better spent improving the English skills and teaching ability of the Vietnamese teachers. A small improvement would reap huge benefits.

Countries that have gone heavily into sending foreign teachers into public schools (Japan and Korea are the two examples I can think of) seem to have worse levels of English than Vietnam!

It seems odd unless you follow the money.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 342

PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are plenty of people with good enough English to teach it in this country, but very few of them do so because they can earn so much more elsewhere. Who's to say that if you spent a fortune on getting the English teachers up to standard, they wouldn't just go somewhere where their skills are worth more money? So obviously the solution would be to pay them more. Economically, that would make a lot of sense. You could attract the best English speakers in the country by offering them a fraction of the money you're willing to pay foreigners to do the job and save a fortune. Hell, you could double the number of teachers and half the class sizes for the same price. But the you have the delicate situation of English teachers getting far more money than maths teachers, for example. And of course the main goal of any government official is to be in charge of a project with a bigger budget so that more and more money can disappear between the cracks and into their bank account.

I wouldn't say that putting natives in public classrooms in necessarily a bad thing. Japan and Korea put untrained natives into classrooms, which is the real issue. The other issue in those countries is the simple fact of motivation. In Sweden, the English education is the best in the world, yet in teaching French or Spanish, they're not much better than the UK or US. The teaching is presumably similar, but the motivation isn't the same. A kid growing up in Japan or Korea can achieve anything he wants without ever needing to learn English. Obviously it might be a useful skill, but you can become the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world without ever learning English. Add that to the fact that English is particularly difficult for them, and you don't see much progress. Compare that to developing countries in the region, and learning English genuinely opens up massive opportunities for you.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good points there IWS.

I wasn't thinking of getting the English teachers up to high standard but just spending a bit of money to make them less hopeless. Recently they started teaching English to much younger kids in the state system, yet the class teacher does not necessarily know enough about English (or teaching for that matter!).

Teachers have numerous advantages in employment here so are unlikely to jump ship just to be a waitress or hotel receptionist.

But I agree everything comes back to a program only being as good as the people running it. If they have another agenda then it will never succeed.

Trained EFL teachers do not want to work in public schools as a general rule. They are not allowed to teach using their training and have to put up with all the BS without getting the benefits of security and so on. Untrained kids and older wasters in HUGE numbers do want to do that kind of work because it is a chance to make OK money for very little work while living somewhere exotic, often with the ability to indulge their vices at a low cost.

I agree the lack of English in Korea/Japan has many causes but it is clear that English TAs are not helping much despite a huge program with a lot of money spent.
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