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British council in Hanoi

 
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nguyen bich thuy



Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 1
Location: nwme,

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:56 am    Post subject: British council in Hanoi Reply with quote

Hi everyone Razz
I'm a newbie and really want to know the application progress in BC. Have you ever taken part in the test for application in BC. I'm so confused and wanna know.
Thanks so much!!!
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BenE



Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 275

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Thuy

The process is long and painful and I think you just missed a recruitment drive so might not be so easy.

It also depends on your qualifications. If you have US/UK education and teaching certs they should not discriminate against you for being Vietnamese like some other schools would though.
You need at least a CELTA + 2 years teaching experience and probably also need a DELTA and a good range of experience teaching young learners as well to get in here in Hanoi. I'm not directly teaching there but work there weekly in another role so I might not be the best source of info.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 294

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started the process for BC in Seoul and found it utterly futile BS. I think the system is standard so expect heaps of stupid questions that are really beneath contempt. Just something you have to go thru to get the benefits of a BC job.

In my case the salary in Seoul was about 40% lower than the market rate so I terminated the interview part way thru - after the idiot asked me how I would "introduce the present perfect without any materials" - what - the BC doesn't have any materials or even an internet connection?!??!

The BC ain't what it was as far as I can make out anyway so I have no regrets about not jumping thru all their hoops.

If you are serious then steel yourself to make a real effort to dot every i and cross every t when filling in the lengthy forms and then don't flinch when they ask you something really silly in the interview.
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sushikurva



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 54
Location: out n' about

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

,,,

Last edited by sushikurva on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 294

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fairness this was 11 years ago.

At that time Korean jobs were paying about 2.0-2.2mKRW plus free housing OR if a job not teaching kids you would have to meet your own housing costs. In the end I got 2.2m a month and I paid 300k a month for not a great place. They supplied the key money of maybe 5m. 10-11 years ago so not 100% sure.

BC were offering about 1.4-1.6m [I have a TESOL DIPLOMA so was at the top end of the potential starting salaries] with a modest housing allowance and some relocation stuff. I can't remember any sterling component. They paid you a 1000 quid relocation allowance - as far as my failing memory goes.

It was also a lot of work for the money - a proper teaching job with lesson plans, reports and admin. The job I got in the end took me about 1-2 hours planning a month and I did no paperwork besides keeping a register of attendance. So the BC job was marginal to say the least.

It seems to have improved a bit since then and might justify the rigmarole if you are the right kind of temperament. I was NOT in the mood for that at the time so the interview process did a good job. I have had and enjoyed demanding EFL jobs but I like my focus to be planning, materials and perhaps extra curricular activities BUT I hate admin and paperwork with a vengeance - so the BC is not for me - nor I for them in fairness.

You DO have to allow for the loss in value of the won since 2003. This wiped about 10% of salaries/savings in the space of about 9 months in 2007-8 - just after I left as it happens! Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I wonder what the pay is in Hanoi/HCMC now. No need to tell us all if it's private.
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sushikurva



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 54
Location: out n' about

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

,,,

Last edited by sushikurva on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 294

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's certainly commensurate with the workload and some recompense for the futile admin - I suspect it is almost 100% futile.

I struggle with even the minimum paperwork as I just don't have the patience if I can't see the point. Like writing a detailed description of what you did in a lesson when you KNOW if someone does have to cover for you they won't have time to read it and wouldn't understand it anyway. I just scribble the page number I am on or would be on if I used their cruddy textbook.

I suppose one of the things is we get spoiled teaching without any real supervision and when someone does start trying to manage us (usually by establishing paper trails because that is the easiest way for them) we resent it - I do anyway.

I really couldn't be bothered with the BC's stupid methodology questions and 'tell us about a time you coped with xyz imaginary situation'. I felt methodology was covered by my qualifications and the other stuff was just ludicrous.

The two BC Seoul staffers interviewing me over the phone - Skype was but a dream back in 2003 - were non-plussed when I told them half way thru their interview that I didn't want to proceed. One even sent me a feedback email telling how I could have made a better impression! I didn't reply.

EDIT - to be fair to the BC in Seoul I think there was quite generous paid holiday of 3-4 weeks included which is all but impossible to find in other jobs in Korea. I wasn't fully aware just how difficult a job with paid holiday was to find in Korea at the time so it didn't register as a major plus. It basically means you can add 10-15% on to the basic pay which then brings it more into line with the other places.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 366

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skarper wrote:
In my case the salary in Seoul was about 40% lower than the market rate so I terminated the interview part way thru - after the idiot asked me how I would "introduce the present perfect without any materials" - what - the BC doesn't have any materials or even an internet connection?!??!

How is that an unreasonable question? I've taught plenty of lessons where a piece of language comes out of nowhere and you have to teach it on the spot (or the student is struggling to express themselves and you can offer a new piece of language for the purpose they're intending). You can hardly say, "hang on, I'll go and get some flashcards and then I'll tell you."

I've gotta say, I don't agree with people saying that it's this incredibly long-winded application process. Seemed pretty standard for any professional company to me. The only bit that's slightly long-winded is when you have to try and remember roughly how many hours you've taught each age group. The rest of the application form was just standard stuff you'd put on any CV, without the headache of having to decide how to format it and what information to include. And the interview is the same as any interview I've ever had. They ask you a question and you're expected to reply with an example. Isn't that pretty standard?

But yeah, most schools have started their summer schools now, so they probably did most of their recruitment beforehand, and will probably have enough new recruits from that to keep them going immediately afterwards too.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 294

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would I think be a reasonable question for a beginner teacher - but not for someone with my background which was already known to the interviewer (or should have been.) He was a pretty young guy from how he sounded so maybe that is part of the problem. It was like he hadn't read my CV/application form at all.

TEFL is not - as we are all aware by now - generally very professional. Interviews tend to be cursory at best. But I think the BC system is overkill - just hoop jumping.

If I had been motivated by the salary/conditions in Seoul I would I'm sure have been more willing to go along with their procedure but as I was losing patience with them and the job looked to be seriously underpaid [though I think it was only marginally underpaid given the holiday] I just thought better not to waste our time and their phone bill. I was polite about it. I said I don't think this is going well and I'm going to stop the interview now. They were a bit non-plussed but I think that is part of the stuck up BC culture. They think they are the canine's gonads when IMO they are just an overpriced mill. They couldn't survive commercially without the subsidy from the UK Gov anyway.

I've asked several people who were working there or had done if it was worth the price and they all said "not really". While you could get lucky and have a great teacher there is no guarantee of high standards despite the lengthy recruitment process. I think there is also an excessive emphasis on IWBs and such like - again just what I have gleaned here and there.

All this said - if hoop jumping, silly admin and look busy form filling is going to be a big part of the job then the application process will weed out any who cannot/will not put up with it. So it seems fit for purpose.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 366

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skarper wrote:
TEFL is not - as we are all aware by now - generally very professional.

Surely that's exactly the issue. It's entirely possible to build up large amounts of experience without actually doing anything to improve your teaching in that time. Fair enough if you had a DELTA or masters and vast amounts of teaching experience, it would be a bit of a pointless question. But you've got to remember this bloke is in Korea, where the standards of English schools are pretty shoddy to say the least, and actual teaching qualifications are something of a luxury. Even people with the necessary qualifications and experience might've had no meaningful professional development in their teaching career. And he certainly wouldn't know about the reputations of particular overseas schools. But from your first response, it seemed like you couldn't actually answer the question, and seemed to suggest that teaching without resources wouldn't be a realistic prospect.

skarper wrote:
They think they are the canine's gonads when IMO they are just an overpriced mill. They couldn't survive commercially without the subsidy from the UK Gov anyway.

You say that like it's a bad thing. And yet the biggest complaint I hear from teachers is how their schools are only interested in the bottom line and will put profit ahead of educations standards every time. Surely working for an employer where educational standards are the number one concern is what any serious teacher wants?

skarper wrote:
I've asked several people who were working there or had done if it was worth the price and they all said "not really". While you could get lucky and have a great teacher there is no guarantee of high standards despite the lengthy recruitment process. I think there is also an excessive emphasis on IWBs and such like - again just what I have gleaned here and there.

Obviously there are good and bad teachers anywhere, but if I was to ask you where you had the greater chance of getting a good teacher, the British Council or an average Korean mill, where would you think?

In HCMC, they don't even have IWBs, so I don't know where you're getting that from.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 294

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IWS - They have IWBs in Seoul and make a big thing of them - they do in many BC schools.

Anyway - I think we're getting off topic and in danger of running off into a private argument. Pointless at best.

I think your points are very valid - but they don't completely invalidate mine. People can read both sides and make up their own mind which is always the best way to proceed.

I think I've explained enough of the background to the situation for people to judge who was right/wrong if that actually matters. I can well imagine the guy on the other end of the phone may have had his reasons for asking such a question - which I did in fact take the time and trouble to answer to his apparent satisfaction. It did sow the seeds for my later loss of patience as they heaped on more and more silly questions.

As I stressed above - I wasn't rude to the interviewers I just stopped the process in order to save their time, their money for an international call and my own frayed temper.

The OP - who we are supposed to be trying to help - should be ready for a long drawn out process with some irritating steps. But the rewards appear to be there for those who get thru it all and are offered a job. Forewarned and forearmed and all that.

The BC is a prestigious organization for sure but not without its critics. There is a whole website full of this someplace - shan't post the link - made by a guy who is making a bit of a vendetta out of it all. He's a serious ELT professional and his posts are well reasoned and supported by evidence so it's not just some loony with an axe to grind.

Of course you don't have to approve of the BC entirely to work there, benefit from the experience and do something positive for the students.

I would consider applying for the BC again if I was interested in that kind of job. For now I'm not.
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 393
Location: off the radar

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sushikurva wrote:
I see, that makes sense. Yeah, it can be annoying that's for sure. I haven't got a Dip, so for me it's quite a good deal, but I certainly wouldn't fault someone for criticising the place as I often do the same myself.

No, it's not private. Happy to provide any info- there are two contract types in Vietnam, a twenty teaching hour contract as well as a twenty four teaching hour contract. You generally have to work both weekend days teaching kiddies.

20 hour: 10 point scale from USD 2441-3099 gross/ month
24 hour: 10 point scale from USD 2906-3689 gross/ month

Plus the usual BC stuff you get everywhere, like health insurance/flights at beginning and end of contract- both for employee and spouse and/or dependents, two weeks hotel plus 2-3 weeks salary as a settling in allowance, 35 days paid leave plus local holidays, baggage allowance, plus generous daily, weekly and monthly allowances of foolish admin and irritating bureaucracy Smile


The bolded parts spells out mill to me. That is what your run of the mill, mill does; make money by getting punters to do the clown act with kids on the weekend. As the burnt-out character in many a crappy B grade action movie will state, "I'm too old for this sh@t!"

Pay is decent, conditions are good, but no way Jose.
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sushikurva



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 54
Location: out n' about

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

.

Last edited by sushikurva on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 294

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"
Quote:
...people spend valuable lesson planning time doing foolish things which are at best only obliquely related to their jobs.


This would really be difficult for me to cope with long term - and would have been impossible for me in 2003-4. I'd had 2-3 of years of really intense jobs that had not paid off as I'd hoped and just wanted to go in to work, get the job done and go home with the minimum of management interference.

What I ended up doing was demanding physically - wide split shifts - but the 'hands off' management style just left me alone to do things my way and that worked out very well for a while at least.
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