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Teaching in Vietnam in 2017- How to get ready?
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gdhillard



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Roanoke, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:41 pm    Post subject: Teaching in Vietnam in 2017- How to get ready? Reply with quote

Hi. I'm new to the group here. I plan on a year or more in Vietnam when my youngest has finished her first year in college. That gives me until 2017 to prepare for the trip.
I have an M.Ed from Antioch University, and taught for 11 years in grades K-8. Part of this time included starting and running an independent K-8 in Vermont for 5 years. I am HQ in science, and have taught high school psychology as well. I have also been a child and family therapist for 20 years or so, and am currently employed in that work. I have been a school social worker, and have done community mental health also. I have an M.S.W., and am a licensed social worker as well as a teacher.
I speak a little Spanish, but no Vietnamese. I am a healthy guy who will be 60 at the time of my departure. I have no debt, and will only need to make enough to pay for my needs there. I'm comfortable driving and maintaining motorcycles, and am a vegetarian who loves Vietnamese food.
I would like to teach in a village in the South, and learn as much about the local people and culture as possible.
How should I proceed? Who should I contact? Should I work to learn the language before I go?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

Gary Hillard
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edit advice deleted

Last edited by montblanc20 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edit advice deleted.

Last edited by montblanc20 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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gdhillard



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Roanoke, Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Montbalnc. Learning the language will be a great way to prepare for the trip. I did a tour of Craigslist yesterday, and was delighted to find some great little Honda scooters for a reasonable price. Now I need to study the country and try to focus on an area. I'll check out the places you mentioned.
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. You could look for Honda Passport C70 on Craigslist. That's the old one. A newer version is the Sym Symba. A small motorcycle could be Honda Grom. Maybe I will PM about cities. Good like.
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TRH



Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Posts: 162
Location: HCMC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only red flag that I see in your profile is your age. I think there is fairly serious age discrimination in this industry and that the breaking point is near 60. I am over 60 and have a BEd but don't get a second look from most employers here. I am happy with my current employment, but I can't even get a second look from the major schools. The private language schools are businesses before they are educational establishments, with probably more than 50% of their clientele below 18. There are several posts on this forum discussing the fact that Vietnamese hire for image more than for qualifications. As impressive as your resume may be in the west, the better paying schools will hire a 30 year old before you. Here, the best teachers that I know are retired from careers in the US and AU and in their late 50's but they are working in public schools for less than top wages.

I strongly recommend taking the CELTA course and not some other certification. You could take it in D.C. or save money and take it here when you first arrive. I think the main thing that distinguishes this course from the others is hands on practicum. This should be totally unnecessary with your experience, but again it is a matter of what pleases those who do the hiring. There are several threads on this topic here.

I suspect that as noble as your prior employment has been, you may not have a huge nest egg. If you have access to pension funds at age 60 that would be a big plus, in case you don't find the employment you like right away.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree - being 60+ will be a huge handicap and the OP should be ready for it. It's not insurmountable but it is real and paradoxically the 'better' places are the worst perhaps because they can get away with it.

Also - the OP should be prepared for how futile the job can be. Again it is up to the teacher to make it worthwhile but you get no help and often will be criticized for being 'too serious' if actually try to make a difference. Plenty of threads on this topic too.
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gdhillard



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Roanoke, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you! I'm planning on starting the language and looking for an affordable course. Not too much I can do about my age. WHat happened to that revering the elderly thing?
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 746

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am all for planning, but have to say, most everything about this place is about the here and now. Legions of teachers will come and go before 2017. Laws and enforcement will change, and change again. I suspect that most expat teachers that are here now cannot predict that they will be here by then, though most can predict they will not. Even the few who have great jobs and lives may be seeking a way out of the teaching game, even if we want to stay in the country. Has OP even spent time in VN? I cannot imagine making such serious long term plans without having spent some real time over here.

I usually see when folks speculate about coming over (those who have never been), their stated goals are unrealistic. Only having to make enough money to support yourself? Teaching outside the big population centers? Absolutely no guarantee on all that. Even less guarantee on that in 2017 for someone over 60. The money for us is mostly in the big dirty cities.

This can be a great place for folks who have enough money to support themselves, and use teaching as an extra source of income. If I was 60 plus AND needing to count on these guys for my income, I would be very worried. If I was not here, I would not come over in those circumstances. If I had a couple of grand coming in every month from over there and was debt free, then yeah, that sounds realistic. Great place to be if you are flush, but you do not want to need them more than they need you.
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gdhillard



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Roanoke, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thank you for your concerns. I imagine that people are happy with different levels of planning. I have always liked to look ahead and prepare, and a year in Vietnam will take some prep to be as positive as possible. I am fortunate to not need my experience in Vietnam to provide me with much money. I do want to work in the next three years to be as prepared as I can be to be helpful to my students. I am not particularly interested in much else.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 746

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
to be helpful to my students. I am not particularly interested in much else.


I just wonder if you have ever been to VN? It is not a bad thing to want to help the students, but in VN, the people focus on getting any advantage they can from anyone else, without regard for courtesy, normal standards of behavior or laws. It is my opinion that we have to understand and accept this mentality, then shape our lives with that in mind.

Some foreigner was writing in Than Nien not long ago, she has been here for a very long time, working in poor remote areas. Then the newer visa regs come down with no one caring about the free work she has been doing, if she can cough up more money like everyone else, she can stay. She went on to decry how the system cares so little about our contributions, they just care about themselves and the money. She wrote about how it used to have some purity, now, well, we all know what it is.

Again, this can be a great place for folks who have money and who have realistic goals. If I just wanted to help students, not sure this is the place I would come. 20 years ago? Maybe. Now? I don't think so. Yeah, we can hope for that to be a secondary goal. If it is our primary goal, I think we set ourselves up for big disappointment.

I think this can be a great life, it is for me, I have never been happier. But I think the key to that is understanding the reality of what it is, knowing we are not going to change it, and working within the parameters of what is available to us based on the way they operate.
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Tigerstyleone



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread is weird. You seriously don't need 3 years of research and forum discussions to move here and teach EFL.
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gdhillard



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Roanoke, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I learned a long time ago to not get invested in other folks saying thank you. I enjoy my work, and enjoy every day I am blessed with. If I can be a help to some public school kids while I'm there, I'll have a good time doing that, and enjoy my time in a very new and different place. Being of service works for me, makes me happy, and keeps me eager to wake up each morning. I expect that Vietnam, where I have never been, will be a fine place for me to be.

Taking three years to learn the language, the customs and the lay of the land seems reasonable. So far I have enjoyed the time invested, and I expect I will enjoy the time to come. I like learning, and enjoy having some organized things to do in my spare time, with a goal in mind.

Sorry if this seems weird to you. I suspect I am coming from a different place, both in terms of age and expectations. I very much appreciate the feed back, and am always eager to learn from folks who know more than me. Thank you.
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Tigerstyleone



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting article in the Rutland Herald regarding the OP and his business practices.

http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060703/NEWS/607030371/1003/NEWS02

Ascutney parents sue school over tuition
By JOHANNA SORRENTINO Southern Vermont Bureau | July 03,2006
Email Article Print Article

BROWNSVILLE — Disagreement over tuition policy at the Mount Ascutney School sparked six parents to file a lawsuit in February against headmaster and owner of the private school Gary Hillard.

Brad and Deborah Gurney, Andrew Stewart and Robyn Fairclough and Angelo and Susan Jardina are charging Hillard with breach of contract and fraud.

They are demanding the return of all prepaid tuition for the 2005-06 school year and subsequent years, as well as attorney's fees.

Hillard of Reading said in an interview Friday that the school only refunds unused tuition for future academic years. "They wanted tuition paid for the upcoming school year, and we can't do that, and I would guess that's the stickler," he said. "We need staffing plans, months and months of preparation and financial commitment."

Hillard described the lawsuit as a spurious claim. "The handbook clearly says that once you pay tuition it's not refundable. If you're trying to get your money back, you would need to make up something," he said.

None of the parents could be reached for comment and their attorney, Thomas Hayes, declined to comment on the case.

Hillard opened the K-8 grade school in 2002 after resigning from his teaching position at the Reading Elementary School. Hillard confirmed the new school was experiencing financial difficulties in fall 2003 and offered a limited number of reduced tuition certificates for $5,000.

Tuition at the school is $8,500 a year per student.

Andrew Stewart and Robin Fairclough claim in their affidavit that they purchased six tuition certificates for their three children at a cost of $30,000 and agreed to apply $20,000 of pre-paid funds to tuition for the 2005-06 school year.

The Gurneys said in their affidavit they purchased five tuition certificates at a cost of $25,000 and pre-paid the discounted tuition of $5,000 for the 2005-06 school year.

The Jardinas claim in their affidavit they paid $6,500 in the spring 2005 toward the 2005-06 school year.

The parents said they pulled their children out of the school at or before the start of the 2005-06 school year after Hillard informed them of a drop in staffing.

They said Hillard has since "failed and refused to return the prepaid and unearned tuition."

In the legal response, Hillard denies the tuition certificates were given or that the parents withdrew their children.

Hillard said a meeting did take place shortly before the first day of school in September 2005 and he informed parents that staff members would absorb the chef's responsibilities and that there would be a change in English teachers.

The full-time English teacher position was split up into two half-time positions to accommodate a teacher coming back from family leave. The English teacher did not want to work part-time and subsequently left the school. Hillard said the two half-time positions were immediately filled.

The complaint filed in Windsor County Court states that Hillard engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices by soliciting advanced payment "at a time when he knew, or reasonably should have know, that he could not deliver the services promised."

Hillard said the school still is able to provide the promised curriculum.

In early March the court granted the parents a writ of attachment against his non-exempt goods or estate to the value of $61,500 to satisfy any judgment.

Hillard said this is a common practice during lawsuits and will not hold him back from running the school, which has 43 students enrolled for next year, plus 10 pre-school students.

It costs about $24,000 a month or $260,000 a year to run the school, including the $380,000 mortgage, insurance, taxes, school supplies and faculty wages, according to Hillard.

"A school, like any business, can count on losing money for the first few years. Our school expenses are stable now," he said.
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gdhillard



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 7
Location: Roanoke, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to be remembered. Running MAS was a delight, and i am proud and grateful for my time there. Almost all of it was lovely, with a good community and happy kids. I have never been much of a business person, and we did run out of money after five years. No regrets on my part, and the folks who sued were multi million dollar folks, so I don't worry too much about them.

Not too sure about how this forum runs. Posting old MAS news seems a little hostile, and not the sort of thing I am used to. Hope you get the things in your life that make you happier.

My continued thanks to the other folks who are being helpful.
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