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What are contracts worth?
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aqm22



Joined: 09 Oct 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:53 pm    Post subject: What are contracts worth? Reply with quote

Here's something I'm confused about. Are contracts worth anything? I've been lurking and perusing this forum and other places for awhile to learn and understand at least a little of how things work over there. I've read that contracts aren't worth anything in Vietnam, but people insist on getting and signing contracts. Why?

I'm taking the plunge and moving to VN in April. People here say that you'll have a better time getting a job on foot and in person there, but I still want to try to get a job before I go. I've been talking to two schools consistently since August. One has classes during the day, and the other has classes at night. Anyway, things seemed to be going well, and we were talking about finalizing things and contracts and such. Then, they stopped responding. It's been almost a month since last contact. One school said that they're busy training teachers and opening a new school, but the other one, I really don't know what happened. Could it be because of the holidays? Should I just sit pretty and wait and then contact them again? I feel like they are trying to avoid giving me a contract, or am I just being paranoid. Please advise.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: lower wage and stability vs. higher wage and instability Reply with quote

A few, insist on contracts as a contract will normally see the firm providing all legal requirements on your behalf for a year. In ESL this will see teachers getting a lower rate than without a contract and, possibly tied to that one firm for that year. It serves to provide stability in a country where forward thinking goes as far as 5 minutes.

Working without a contract will give some teachers, and firms, a lot more flexibility and quite often, a higher hourly rate, but the teacher must take care of all of the visa hurdles of leaving the country on a regular basis. This is what the majority of teachers are doing here working at language centres.

As for the blank - No need to worry, many things can happen between now and when you come over, but one constant remains: there will always be work for anyone coming over to teach English. Centres here are forever crying out for teachers (a loose term over here) constantly to teach. The only slow time will be from January to the end of February as it is a national holiday.

If you do decide to come over on speck and without a job, try to get the longest visa stay possible as renewing a 1 month visa to a 6 month or 12 month visa in country is impossible without a lot of paperwork and money.
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bobpen



Joined: 04 Mar 2011
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've been talking to two schools consistently since August.


Quote:
Then, they stopped responding. It's been almost a month since last contact. One school said that they're busy ...


You've gotten a real education with this experience here, and I'm being honest. This goes to show you what kind of people many in Vietnam are like.
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bobpen



Joined: 04 Mar 2011
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

vabeckele wrote:
there will always be work for anyone coming over to teach English. Centres here are forever crying out for teachers


Unfortunately, I could not disagree more on this one. I've been looking around hard for a job over the last couple of months. Have PM'ed a few users on here asking for any leads. I've been in and out of nearly every building that even resembles ESL all around HCMC. I started a thread on it a while back about even considering and/or going to the dodgy ones. Even the ones with a reputation for hiring looked right through me. One school that gave me a few interviews and even subbed a couple classes then no longer called me again -- chatted with another teacher and he said "they just hired like 6 new guys, they're all filled up." Really have to disagree with "schools are hurting" mentality -- yah, maybe back in 2006. I dunno, hopefully I'm wrong though. The only thing one can do is keep trying and waiting, but I wouldn't say "there's lots of work" in this era.
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aqm22



Joined: 09 Oct 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vabeckele: Thanks for the explanation.

bobpen: Thanks for the response. I'm sorry that you're having a hard time. I understand that things can get dodgy in VN. That's why I want to try to get something going before getting here. Have you try outside of HCMC? It's one of the major city in VN so I imagine everyone and their mother wants to be there. I don't mind living/teaching in a smaller town or even a rural area (though I'm trying to avoid squat toilets. The concept scares me to death.)

For the record, this is why I'm confused as hell. There are two people telling me something completely opposite. Is it or is it not full of job prospects? I'm going in April regardless, but I like to know what I'm getting myself into. Also, I'm still not really sure of what's going on with the two schools. Is it a busy time over there? I've only try to contact one of the school, but it does feel like they're dodging me. Again, maybe I'm just being paranoid. I really don't know.[/b]
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:40 am    Post subject: It isn't paranoia when it is real Reply with quote

Aqm22, this feeling you are having will become common place over here; it is not paranoia, it is quite normal to be left 'out of the loop' here on issues that would seem inconceivable not to be shared or told. There is much uncertainty here and we all have to get used to scratching our heads.

We are living in a country to does not believe in individual property and economic rights: all belongs to the state - It took me a good long while to understand that there is gain to be made by making people suffer and it scares me. If one can remain oblivious to this or, understand it, embrace it, Vietnam is quite an experience.
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spycatcher reincarnated



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 231

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At present, contracts do give you some legal security under the labour law, because if you have a contract you automatically have the rights of someone with a work permit. However, my understanding is that this is changing in May 2013. My understanding is that under the new law it says that if you don't have a work permit then your contract is unenforcible and a company will be able to get rid of you whenever they want, without compensation.

Think the above change in the law is to encourage foreigners to try and get work permits. Also one issue the the DOLISA had was that they sometimes asked companies to get rid of their staff without work permits, but the companies quite rightly said that as their staff without work permits had the same rights as staff with work permits they were not allowed to sack them.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1007

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Think the above change in the law is to encourage foreigners to try and get work permits. Also one issue the the DOLISA had was that they sometimes asked companies to get rid of their staff without work permits, but the companies quite rightly said that as their staff without work permits had the same rights as staff with work permits they were not allowed to sack them.


If the authorities made the procedure for getting a work permit clear, transparent, easy and affordable, everyone would have one.

Very simple...


Last edited by sigmoid on Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1007

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
For the record, this is why I'm confused as hell. There are two people telling me something completely opposite. Is it or is it not full of job prospects?


I would venture a guess that the number of teaching positions is shrinking as the economy continues to contract, but turnover is at an all-time high as VN becomes less and less competitive as a TEFL destination, so it's a bit of both.

Most schools prefer young naive types with no experience who are compliant and gullible. If you're having trouble finding work, maybe take all your experience off your resume and don't ask any intelliigent questions.
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TRH



Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Posts: 207
Location: HCMC

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: What are contracts worth? Reply with quote

bobpen wrote:
...I've been looking around hard for a job over the last couple of months..... Even the ones with a reputation for hiring looked right through me...... The only thing one can do is keep trying and waiting, but I wouldn't say "there's lots of work" in this era.
bobpen: your experience matches my own although you are probably trying harder. Like you, I went over two months sending out resumes, had a few interviews and one demo class but no job. With a BEd I think I am well qualified at least on paper, Rolling Eyes but like you I was ignored by schools that I really didn't even want to work for. Then I was suddenly hired and the school has as much work for me as I want, a little over 20 hours a week. I think most schools do not keep a backlog of applications but simply hire the best qualified recent applicants when they have vacancies. For the Universities and International Schools it may be resumes that count, but remember most of their hiring will still be on a semester basis. For most of the commercial schools I think it's mostly a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

aqm22 wrote:
I'm taking the plunge and moving to VN in April. ......I've been talking to two schools consistently since August. One has classes during the day, and the other has classes at night. Anyway, things seemed to be going well, and we were talking about finalizing things and contracts and such. Then, they stopped responding.

agm22: I think your situation may be the mirror image of bobpen's. My guess is that these schools were ready to hire you but someone else equally qualified walked in the door. You have to strike when the iron is hot. "Since August" is a long time ago in this business. Put yourself in their shoes and think why should they spend more than six months negotiating with someone who might come to work and leave six moths later. The following quote is from another recent thread on hiring from overseas: http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=99507 It is good advice from someone who has been around a lot longer than I.
skarper wrote:
I would strongly advise anyone coming in on any kind of contract/offer not to rely on it but to have 3 months living expenses in hand just in case something doesn't work as you'd hoped.

I think 3 months living expences is about $3000 US plus maybe a plane ticket if it really isn't your thing.
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aqm22



Joined: 09 Oct 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for your input. So, I guess I should just sit pretty until I get there?

I know that even if I have something lined up it could easily change last minute. Having a contract in hand doesn't really guarantee much. All of this I understand completely, and I have no problem with hitting the pavement with a CV in hand. I am mentally expecting the worst when I get to VN. However, I'm still hoping for the best and trying the odds of having something before I land. As I've said, I have no problem with working outside of HCMC or Hanoi. Small towns fits me just fine.

So, contracts do give me some legal leverage? Like demanding unpaid salary? That's really good to hear if it's true.
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toiyeuthitmeo



Joined: 21 May 2010
Posts: 211

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Regarding the ease of finding ESL work in HCMC or Vietnam in general, one must keep in mind the "ideal profile" desired by most schools. It is quite possible that the posters in this thread do not fit the one or more of the more important points of the "ideal" and that is the reason for their difficulties. The ideal is, with some variance of course, depending on the school

*White-skinned
*Attractive / Well-dressed
*Under 40, preferably 20s, 30s
*Any university degree
*CELTA or in-person TEFL course certificate a MUST at several schools
*North American or British
*Willing and able to edutain kids
*In possession of all pertinent, authenticated documents needed for WP

Can people who don't fit this ideal find work? Of course. Many do. But the fact is that the more those points above describe you, the easier it's going to be to find work. Some of them, particularly the white skin, the CELTA, and the age thing, are more powerful determiners than others. I would venture to predict that if you can answer "Yes" to 4 or more of the points above, you can feel pretty confident you'd find a good gig in rather short time.

Regarding rural jobs, they pay will match what the customers can afford; which is not much. There are very few teachers working in rural schools. It's basically not an option if any kind of living comfort and possibility of saving is in your sights.

The cities of Ha Noi and Saigon have the most jobs and the best pay, even if they also attract the most teachers. You've still got a better shot in those cities at finding the lesser-of-evils than you do elsewhere.

The southern province of Binh Duong is on the up-and-up, attracting boat loads of investment, which when properly grafted, skimmed, and misappropriated, has been creating loads of wealthy locals, who in turn can send their kids to expensive English schools. Good news for teachers. Check it out. Expect more and more schools to open in the coming years.
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spycatcher reincarnated



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 231

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sigmoid wrote:

I would venture a guess that the number of teaching positions is shrinking as the economy continues to contract, but turnover is at an all-time high as VN becomes less and less competitive as a TEFL destination, so it's a bit of both.


I believe:
The learning of English is ever increasing in Vietnam, but with ever more exposure to English in their everyday lives it is becoming less necessary for that learning to take place in a formal setting, such as English Centres.
The economy is continuing to expand, especially in the major cities.
Teacher turnover is at an all time low, at least in HCMC, as teachers are increasingly having nothing to return to in their native countries- this is the main reason for the lack of positions for newbies, along with the current seasonality difficulties
It is not as easy to save money here as it used to be, but I am not sure if it is becoming less competitive against EFL jobs in other countries
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TRH



Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Posts: 207
Location: HCMC

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spycatcher reincarnated wrote:
The learning of English is ever increasing in Vietnam, but with ever more exposure to English in their everyday lives it is becoming less necessary for that learning to take place in a formal setting, such as English Centres.

One of my aides in the public schools is an English major in college. She surprised me when she told me that before college she never took any English courses in school, either public or language center, but was entirely self taught. Her English is not perfect but acceptable. I think most University programs require an IELTS 6.5 or similar to enter. I have to give her credit but it is certainly (and fortunately for us) not for everyone. I know I could never do the same myself.

On the other hand, it is not always the case, but the public school students carrying the ILA, VUS, etc backpacks seem to be a little ahead of their classmates.
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VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 326

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't recommend coming here. There's no money. Most of the populace is living on a couple hundred dollars a month. That's the source of the confusion. Everyone wants to imply while carefully avoiding promises.

Because there is no money. You'll get your $15 an hour job. Just go to Cleverlearn or Premier. They are one of a clutch that hire anybody. Perhaps you prefer to spend a thousand or so first while foregoing pay for a couple months. Then ILA or Apollo is the route for you. You'll get $20 an hour less tax which is approximately $15 an hour.

There is no money here. It's just a shell game. A lesson in exploitation. If you really, honestly want to experience VN then come on down by all means, but bring some money and a return ticket. The EFL money train derailed a decade ago. There is no money here.

You'll work 12 hours or more a day, 5 or 7 days a week just to earn about $400 a week. That's probably three employers. And you will make that much only a month or two a year. There are so many holidays and off-days, not to mention the summers. You'll be lucky to average $1000 to $1200 a month over the year. There is no money here.
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