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sole western parents teaching in vietnam
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smiller1968



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:23 pm    Post subject: sole western parents teaching in vietnam Reply with quote

Hello, I'm just beginning to research tesol as a new venture. I'm 45 yrs old with an 8 yr old that will be with me. Are there any single parents teaching with just the tesol qualification? I would love to here any feedback about your experiences and the reality of the situation. We are Australian and only speak English. Thanks Sue.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 767

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of info on this topic if you search the archives. Hard to be quite realistic without sounding harsh, or even rude. Personally, I would NEVER bring someone over here to tag along with me, even if that person wanted to. If the person was a child, whatever his decision was would be meaningless to me anyway, he has no way of making a judgment on what his life will be like here (most likely you do not either). Maybe 10% of the people who come over here do well, stick around, have a better life and find that it was a good long term decision. Maybe another 15 to 20% stick around despite not doing so well with it, some of them are from countries like the Philippines or Godonlyknowswhereia (list is pretty endless), but their English is good enough to keep them partially employed and incomes back home are poverty level. This overhang of economic refugees keeps wages down for teachers with average skills. Adding a child to the profile decreases your likelihood of a good situation from about 10% to 1% or lower, in my opinion.

You did not say what "just the tesol" means, but looking at your use of the word "here", my guess is your skills would not put you in the higher level jobs, which take some time to work into even if you do have the qualifications for them.

Having said all that, I deeply apologize for the seemingly harsh assessment. I have friends from Oz, and usually hit it off with the Aussies. I am sure you can find lots of sympathetic folks to try to help. Unfortunately, the best help for you (just in my opinion) is the advice to not come with a child, to not come unless you have incomes to support you, and if romantic relationships mean anything to you, realize you are shifting the equation from being in your favor there to being against you here.

I do know a single woman from Oz (who did not bring a kid) who ended up robbed, screwed over, broke and finally got a way back home. I may be able to hook you up with her email address if you are interested. PM me if you would like to hear her story directly from her, I'll see if she wants to share it with her fellow Aussie. Nice lady.
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deadlift



Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 257

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a couple of single parent teachers, but they're all in very good jobs which require above average experience and qualifications.

I'm guessing you'd want your kid to be in school, because you sure won't be homeschooling if you intend to work. The cheapest international schools here are around $1,000 per month, and they are often not 100% English speaking. For someone new to ELT you'd be lucky to earn $1,500 per month.

Also consider that you'll most likely be required to work evenings and weekends, meaning you'll either have to leave your kid to their own devices in a very challenging and dangerous environment or pay for a babysitter (a Filipina if you want them to speak English, and thus more expensive).
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smiller1968



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks mark_in_saigon and deadlift, Your replies weren't what I wanted to hear however I appreciate your time and opinion. TESOL is a course learning the basics to teach overseas. Most OS schools accept TESOL or TEFL as a minimum requirement it however some schools and countries require a uni degree.
What I would like is to just take my 8 yr old daughter overseas for a year to give her an experience, I would have to be earning some money and thought teaching could work for us.
International schools I know are expensive however I was told that one in Can Tho costs $400 a month which is significantly cheaper to what I expected, I haven't been able to find it yet on google yet so who knows lol. Are you both teaching in Vietnam and if so have you been to other countries teaching and if so are the same challenges there for single parents.
Thanks Sue
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 767

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sue,

we are all aware of what the TESOL is, what we are not clear on is if you have a university degree. If you do not, that means a lot. There are people who are teaching here without one (or without the TESOL for that matter), so there is no commandment from God on what you can get away with, but one has to consider this from an overall perspective. What you have stated about your profile (which is not really enough for the professionals here to give you their best advice), along with the inferences we can draw by reading your messages leads me (for one) to suggest you would struggle here, and would be far better off not coming. Now, if you have a couple of grand a month coming in automatically forever from some western source, that changes everything, you will do fine.

Trying to narrow yourself down to Can Tho (or anywhere) is unrealistic, you have to go where opportunity takes you, and you cannot really force it. The big majority of jobs are in HCMC and HN, so discussions about other locations are interesting but incidental. You always have to be prepared to end up in one of the big cities, even if you get a job somewhere else, you never know if it will work out (any of them), so the big cities are the fallback option, and where most of us work most of the time.

I cannot speak with authority on other countries, but from what I do know (and infer from your posts), Vietnam is likely one of your best options, and it does not seem like a good one. I have been here quite a while (but nowhere else with my teaching), so my expertise is VN, and have worked in the north and south, and a bit in the smaller areas outside of the big 2 (HN and HCMC).

One bright note, schools often tend to prefer women for younger students, as we have so few women teaching here, and of course women often relate to young children better than men. Appearance matters a lot. But we have not even touched the surface of all the negatives and challenges, which you should have read about. I just think that without some backup income you can count on, you would be making a big mistake. I also think bringing a child is very questionable. I would be reluctant in the extreme to force this on a kid. If you are flat out rich, then you can overcome most of it.

Spend a couple of hours looking this site over, it is pretty easy to figure out what the reality is.
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smiller1968



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mark I do not have a uni degree and just used Can Ton for an example as that is what this woman told me. If it means a lot to have a uni degree why are they employing to people with out one and even with out tesol, are those the ones that pay very low. I planned to save hard this year as I am not rich and would not only be relying solely on teacher income. I will have a look around the archives I'm just new to this site so still attempting to locate them.
Sue
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 399

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've met several teacher with kids here, but I've yet to meet a single parent with a school aged child. A lot of the couples I've met choose to homeschool their kids in a sort of study group with 2 or 3 other expat kids of the same age. This might be an option if you go to one of the bigger cities.

I found it interesting that you mentioned you want to teach here for year for your daughter's sake. I don't know your situation or where you're coming from, so i won't presume to judge, but i can't imagine any situation where living in Vietnam could serve as a good experience for an 8 year old. There are other places in the world that are more kid friendly. They would serve your purpose of giving her an experience.
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Tigerstyleone



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

smiller1968 wrote:
If it means a lot to have a uni degree why are they employing to people with out one and even with out tesol, are those the ones that pay very low.


huh?

Quote:
I planned to save hard this year as I am not rich and would not only be relying solely on teacher income.
Sue


You have to know basic grammar to teach English, even in Vietnam.

Can't help but wonder why would a single mother want to take her 8 year old child to a foreign country "to give her a new experience?" Sounds like someone is running away. Its not like an 8 year old needs a stability. We all know how kids that move around a lot turn out.


Last edited by Tigerstyleone on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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smiller1968



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Luke, thanks for that, I guess it is possible yet I need a lot more research due to y situation, and as I've said I've just started. The experience is for us both of us, what I have read Vietnam is a family and kid friendly place and that Vietnam and China are where most likely id get work with a tesol qualification. What other countries would you suggest? From what I've looked at Asia is about all the choices I have, which is ok with me. I realise I have to actually now speak to people who live there like yourself to get the reality. Are you teaching your self Luke? I'm open to other employment options, I was just thinking teaching may fit best.
Sue
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smiller1968



Joined: 02 Feb 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tigerstyleone
I didn't realised my general enquiry would be graded by you, and if you like to call our adventure running away, that's your assumption.
I'm sorry I didn't get any value from your comments.
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Tigerstyleone



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without a university degree you cannot get a work permit.
Furthermore without a work permit, you can only get a tourist visa.

You do not qualify to teach English in Vietnam because you don't have a university degree. If you do come here to teach English, you will be doing it illegally without a permit.

Having said that you can talk to cb400 because he doesn't have a degree either and hell, he was a manager at a famous language school.
So come on over.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've got to be very careful with the phrase "international school" too. There are lots of schools that call themselves an international school. It doesn't necessarily mean that they have the standards of education you would expect. And don't forget health insurance, because very few employers in this city will extend their health insurance to children of employees as well.

Even with 5 years experience, a DELTA and a job offer from British Council, I'd think very carefully about it. Without a degree or experience (meaning you're going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel of the jobs market, at least for a while) I think you'd have to be insane. Unless of course you have enough money saved up for a year's tuition at a proper international school (e.g. Saigon South, British International School), which is around $20,000US.

I'd suggest somewhere like Singapore instead, where things like schooling and healthcare are good (and in English), but then they tend to be rather more demanding about qualifications so you probably wouldn't get in there without a degree, CELTA and some experience.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 399

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think South Korea would be a more stable place to teach than Vietnam. Anywhere in SE Asia, with the exception of Singapore, is probably going to be shaky. Most of the people who come to countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, and Cambodia to teach are not family people. They're usually young singles or old, divorced men chasing younger girls.

Yes, I'm teaching here. I did a teaching internship here about 3 or 4 years ago as part of my degree requirements, and I just kind of clicked with the country and culture. I came in with no commitments and a lot of support from back home, but even then, my first year was spent figuring out how to balance living here and working here. There were times when I'd come to the end of the month and wonder where all my money went. Adding a dependent on top of all that would have been extreme.

Korea is probably the best place to teach in all of East and South East Asia right now. They pay for flights, sometimes pay for accommodation, and you'd have access to modern hospitals and facilities. From what I've heard of my friends who teach there, you can easily save $20,000 a year if you budget a little. I was planning on going there myself before Vietnam hooked me. Life might not be as exciting there, but its definitely more stable and kid friendly.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't the schooling in Korea going to be even more expensive though? Presumably she couldn't attend a state school because of the language issues.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 399

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure to be honest. If she's going to put her kid in an international school, it's probably going to be the same price, no matter what country you're living it. There's a lot more families of expats living in Korea than in Vietnam, so I was assuming there'd be more options for the kiddos.

As a side note, when I was in first grade my parents were expats living in Mexico. They put me in the state schools, and I was speaking the language fluently within a few months. I'm told I ended up being one of the top students in the class even though I was studying in a second language. At that age I just assumed it was normal. So language differences wouldn't be the end of the world, but Asian school are probably about 1000x more difficult than Mexican schools.
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