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Al Morley

Joined: 30 May 2017
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:17 am    Post subject: consistency Reply with quote

I did three years in saigon, went back to korea, and now thinking about going back to saigon. the only problem is that jobs seem to be so inconsistent in vietnam. they just love to do the hire/fire, and treat workers like dogs, whereas in korea its easy to keep a good uni job for 20 years without much hassle.

does anyone have recommendations for schools that like to keep their teachers? some people have told me the university gigs, though less pay, tend to treat you better. is this true?
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Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 834

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would look at VN more from a cultural perspective, instead of trying to identify the few decent employers. The country is changing rapidly, and businesses (and the people who control the businesses) are much more interested in profits than in quality. Perhaps someday this will settle out, and a more thoughtful way of doing business will develop. But at this time, it seems to me that the trajectory is still on a downward path.

You may find a uni that you like, but you may also find that they too will disappoint you in time. I have seen almost nothing that really impressed me about the education system wherever I have been in VN. Even the very best places are not immune to the negative effects of what is happening. The business culture is not geared towards quality. Falling wages, poor working conditions, filling classes for profit without regard to levels, incompetent co workers, government meddling, general degradation of the culture of the young people (and all people), one could go on and on.

I have always felt that if you love this country, then perhaps you can accept the difficulties and enjoy teaching here, it might work out, depending on your goals. A job may work for a while, then you see the reality of the deal and are disappointed. I would never recommend moving to VN just for the purpose of teaching English in a serious way for a fair wage (or for a westerner, anyway). Maybe it is worth it for someone from an impoverished country who can pull it off as a nominal speaker of English. If you have incomes to support you and teaching is just a lark, perfect. Have fun as long as it works out, then move on to your next adventure. VN is a great place to be if you have money and do not need the job. Costs continue to be low, and you can have a fine old time. But expecting to really support yourself here, and feel good about the educational system, pretty dicey. They do not even want you taking your earnings out of the country. Fine for backpackers, but not for serious educators.

Great place to retire, not so good for a westerner to secure his future. A few have gotten lucky, but I also think the best chances for that have passed. Guys who bought housing in Thailand (where you COULD buy housing) 10 or 20 years ago did fine, but now, prices are quite high. Wealth is becoming more and more concentrated, and chances for the average westerner in Asia (and elsewhere) are dwindling. Investments made a couple of decades ago may have done quite well, but the markets are very pricey now. If you already have your fortune, it can be quite heavenly.

If I wanted to teach for a decent wage in a serious environment, I would go to the middle east.
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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great analysis and advice from MIS above.

People tend to live in VN as a lifestyle choice rather than a career move.

You may be able to find a good employer offering long-term employment, but that's definitely the exception, not the rule.

As I posted on another thread:

"IMO, looking for a good language school in VN and the neighboring [ASEAN] countries is like a search for the holy grail, or the philosopher's stone.

If you feel like living in VN, look for the least bad ones instead. Most folks play the field and work at several schools and drop one when it becomes too much trouble. Meanwhile, they look for other opportunities like Korean and Japanese private students, etc."

So, yeah, instead of the normal strategy of trying to find a good job and keep it, in VN a more common approach is to just get some classes somewhere and then use that as a base income while you look for other better opportunities, which does not necessarily mean more money, but could be a better location, more reasonable management, more relaxed schedule/less kids classes, etc.

So, in general, you need to turn the apparent disadvantage (inconsistency, instability) into an advantage (freedom, flexibility) by changing your perspective. In other words, you do the hiring/firing, and treat the schools as they treat you (without loyalty) instead of signing up to be someone's serf.
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