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Where to start in Vietnam?
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 765

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is an interesting topic we have not worked over enough. Someone needs to do a study on it, but very hard to be certain. My thumbnail ideas:

Very low level jobs - 20%. Not requiring native speaker of English, some or a lot of fudging on qualifications. Lower skill required. Often for young children, No Nose McGurk language centers. Pay probably less than $15, all the way down to a system of indentured servitude for folks from countries you would never dream of as supplying English teachers.

Low level jobs - 50%. Prefer not to name names, but this would include a lot of these primary school jobs. 15 bucks an hour, maybe a few of the old timers getting a bit more, get in and get out. However, the grind of going from place to place makes it tough, plus not really enough hours considering all the hopping between schools.

My ideas on the upper levels are even shakier, as hard to say what an upper level job truly is. A lot of schools give lip service to their quality and you may think they are a better school, and they may be better in one place and not as good in another. So looking at the math, my guess is this is maybe 30% of the pie, and one should further slice it as truly first rate, mostly good, better than most, and however else you want to place them. I remember one school that charged a lot, looked great, and I had always had the plan to go by and see if maybe they would be an upgrade for me when shazaam, they were shut down by the govt and the guys skipped town with the money, leaving the students totally screwed, as well as everyone else. Working in these places, we often get this queasy feeling. Pay no attention to the man behind the screen, you know? Anyway, I am guessing that of these so called better places, maybe half of them are really a positive experience for the teacher long term, though the students may be happy enough and do well enough (compared to everything else that is available to them).

On pay, certainly these jobs should be over 20 bucks, but the numbers the OP mention seem pretty unrealistic for any new guy coming over to expect. I am sure some have gotten that, but my guess is a lot more have been disappointed if that was the expectation.

Where it really gets interesting then is comparing the demand for teachers with the supply. One could do quite a study on this, and it is changing all the time. And who or what is a teacher, ya know? Go down to the backpacker area, see the hordes, are they teachers? God only knows how many of them try, or work, or come and go. Same with the nominal speakers of English, lots of them just look like VN to our foreign eyes, or east European tourists, very hard to get a fix on their numbers. Still, seems to me that there is no shortage of people for the lowest level jobs, and maybe an oversupply of those who are trying to also work in the next level up (low, not lowest). Those employers hope to get workers from the next level up in skill, with some success.

Guys who are serious about this work and well qualified are not a huge number, but is the number bigger or smaller than the need? Being on the inside, one can work with these guys, see they are capable, but also see lots of them are not that serious. So, the ones who are the most desirable are really a small number. Is the number smaller than the jobs available? Can the hiring managers tell who is serious and who is not? (I think often they cannot).

It is my opinion that someone who is really good can spend a lot of time getting chewed up by the system before he reaches the promised land. The OP named the topic "where to start in VN", and I think that is true, no matter how good you are, you have to remember you are starting over here. You may have been Aristotle over in your last country, but they never heard of you here, and you can find a lot of places who would rather have a backpacker than a true professional who is not going to put up with a lot of foolishness.

Anybody want to refine my numbers? Those are just guesses, would love to hear what others think.
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pinot



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only go on numbers I have been quoted but there are an unprecedented amount of people trying to get out of the States and the UK whom are qualified, accredited public school teachers. One job I interviewed for had had 12000 applicants - that's right TWELVE thousand applicants, they got it down to 500 who were as above and interviewed 4 (I did not get the job). Another one in Malaysia did not have the same amount but it took nearly a month for them to go through the applicants and finally the job I have in Vietnam had a similar time frame as the Malaysia job and I know they had a lot of applicants - in the interview they mentioned they had never had such high level applicants. The point being that for the jobs in the international schools supply far outweighs demand - from a personal point of view a lot of my colleagues (present and ex)have this year made the jump, a combination of the ridiculous demands from the govt, the press colluding with the govt to blame the teachers (even the London riots were blamed on teachers)for everything, a pay freeze for 5 years with the erosion of benefits and mass redundancies. I was working in school management but I have had to go down and start at the bottom rung again as I am new to international teaching, basically what mark is saying.

If that is an indication of what is happening in other industries and to other people whom are working in schools who just want to teach and not be a political pawn then I can guarantee that the supply of ESL teachers will also be far outstripping demand, my partner being an ESL teacher who luckily does not need to rely on the income from her job but she does it because she hates sitting about doing nothing. Somebody mentioned that the ideal is not having to work - she is in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose BUT even then good work is hard to come by.
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EmGee



Joined: 14 Mar 2014
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, Mark. I guess I was lucky in Ulaanbaatar (UB), Mongolia. Or maybe it's a supply and demand situation in favour of teachers. I got $17 and 36-52 teaching hours at one place - my first job in UB. It was 15 minutes walk from my city centre apartment. Low taxes too. - about $100 per month. After a year I got a raise to $20 per hour. So the net pay ranged from $3000-3700, no benefits. Then I moved to the Russian high school and got $2700 net for 36 classes (24 contact hours) plus holiday pay and a free apartment next to school.

As I explained in another thread, the pay and benefits in UB can be very good but the lifestyle is really poor. Everything is expensive except alcohol. I'd consider it a hardship posting. So I've had enough of Mongolia. I'll try Vietnam and see if I can build up to a decent job. I'm a serious career teacher, I think and I have decent savings so I can take my time. I'll probably have to settle for less pay and compensate with a lower cost of living. I'll be there in HCMC tomorrow for a 3-4 week exploratory trip.
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pinot



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you do have friends in high places you might get lucky!!! it usually is who you know, oh and good luck Very Happy
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pinot



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been thinking about your experience and questions - my advice would be to stay there for another year - while you are there get qualified with an international PGCE then you will be ripe for the international jobs and the big bucks. A shame to have your credentials, experiences and your desire to be a serious career in teaching and not get it formalised
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 765

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think he arrives tomorrow, should be on the plane about now. Well, always exciting seeing something new.

I think this is a great place to live for some folks, but I try not to recommend it for people who need the income. The whole system is built on rewarding for reasons OTHER THAN competence. Not that ALL the schools operate that way, but hard to avoid the overall nature of the system. I find that all these questions about jobs from folks who have various qualifications are usually off target. Yeah, you may get work, lots of it is barely worth having. You may find people get jobs while you do not because of age, appearance, gender or naivete, maybe some others I have left out as well. If you do have money and work is just a diversion for you, and perhaps hopeful padding of your ability to spend even more money on pursuit of happiness, then you are golden. Lots of things are cheap here, especially transportation, food, communications, housing (if you shop around) and relationships (once you figure it out). Does take some time to get yourself up to speed on all this, and it is my observation that some folks from other close countries actually end up with their previous experience hurting their ability to cope over here.

Anyway, that's my take on it. OP sounds like he may be a serious teacher, but the income figures he states are not often found.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That about sums it up MIS.

He would be better off somewhere else IMO - because Vietnam cannot guarantee those levels of income year in year out from the outset.

Even folks who find their niche and milk it for a while can lose it all on the whim of the idiots in charge.

If you have choices - take a better option is usually good advice. If not then you have no choice so just make the best of it.

Will be interesting to see how this guy gets on. At least he is only on a 3-4 week visit to see how it is on the ground so little risk of disaster.

As for me I've made my bed - it's far from a bad one overall but I don't pretend it compares to real success on any level.

Some may call me a drop out - but I was never really 'in' to begin with.
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kurtz



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

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where to start in Vietnam or Asia in general?

Drifting around these boards, it seems the same topics crop up again and again;

Too much competition
Low wages
Unclear or difficult to get working permit
Unprofessional schools

So is it over for Asia? The game is over with too many people wanting excitement and adventure and a hot Asian girlfriend?

Should everyone get themselves an actual teaching licence and apply for real jobs with competitive wages?, or get a CELTA and a pair of scissors in which to cut out the communicative activities from English File and Cutting Edge while realizing their degree in engineering hasn't given them the linguistic knowledge to answer grammar questions?

I am with skarper, I have found my niche; I dread packing up and finding a better gig in another Asian country.
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 2008
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kurtz wrote:
Where to start in Vietnam or Asia in general?

Drifting around these boards, it seems the same topics crop up again and again;

Too much competition
Low wages
Unclear or difficult to get working permit
Unprofessional schools

So is it over for Asia? The game is over with too many people wanting excitement and adventure and a hot Asian girlfriend?

Should everyone get themselves an actual teaching licence and apply for real jobs with competitive wages?, or get a CELTA and a pair of scissors in which to cut out the communicative activities from English File and Cutting Edge while realizing their degree in engineering hasn't given them the linguistic knowledge to answer grammar questions?

I am with skarper, I have found my niche; I dread packing up and finding a better gig in another Asian country.


I think it's over in Vietnam. Honestly, just too many posts on here, about $18USD an hour, get drunk on PNL/Bui Vien, lifestyle, etc.

VNese food is HOT cuisine right now.

Too many schools in VN, and many (most) places are poorly run, but there is always a new lingo center opening up down the block.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinot wrote:
I had a proper read on the review site - apparently they do recruit CELTA teachers for the EFL department BUT they get paid substantially less then the qualified teachers (who get paid $2000 pm) with no benefits included and only 30 days holiday plus have to clock in at 8am and clock out at 5pm.


$2000 a month for a proper qualified teacher? Who would fly half way around the globe for that? That's less than you get as a trainee in the UK, never mind a qualified teacher.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark_in_saigon wrote:
It is my opinion that someone who is really good can spend a lot of time getting chewed up by the system before he reaches the promised land. The OP named the topic "where to start in VN", and I think that is true, no matter how good you are, you have to remember you are starting over here. You may have been Aristotle over in your last country, but they never heard of you here, and you can find a lot of places who would rather have a backpacker than a true professional who is not going to put up with a lot of foolishness.


This is definitely an issue. No matter how good your current school is, chances are as soon as you move countries, no-one will have heard of it, unless it's one of the big international ones (British Council, International House, etc). So when you move countries, you have to start close to the bottom rung again. But I guess that's similar in a lot of industries. Whenever you move, you lose all of those contacts and reputation you built up.
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pinot



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote]$2000 a month for a proper qualified teacher? Who would fly half way around the globe for that? That's less than you get as a trainee in the UK, never mind a qualified teacher.
Quote:


A CELTA teacher with a B.Ed is not a proper qualified teacher. I work in an international school as a teacher in Ho Chi, recruitment happened during Sept - March it is not a job you can just jump off the plane and get, especially if you do not have QTS. The schools pay fortunes to fly around the world to job fairs and advertising in the right journals to get qualified, accredited teachers to work there BUT as I pointed out some international schools will recruit an EFL teacher but with different terms and benefits or may recruit somebody (in exceptional circumstances) but insist they do at the very least a PGCSEi / iPGCE.

Add to that that there are many people who lurk on these threads who do recruit (believe me it is part of their job) for international schools and the OPs description of himself is such that he will be very easy to recognise. His comments on dating etc will not be looked on in a city that is terrified of a sex scandal with members of staff.
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pinot



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No idea what I did to get my post to look like that lol. But on a point $2000 a month maybe slightly less than an NQTs wage but it is estimated your dollar is worth between 5-10 times more in Vietam, in South America the wage for a qualified teacher is about $12000 dollars plus a housing allowance - they still get bums on seats as the cost of living is so low
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 765

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting question on how much your dollar is worth here. It sure depends on the way you live. Transportation is an important example. You first get here, taxis may not save money for you, compared to however you got around back home. Really takes some time before you can find your way around and feel comfortable on a moto, though some pick it up rather quickly, especially if they do not have to drive far. A car costs more here, big taxes. Once you get a motorbike, costs are quite low.

Housing can be quite a savings, but that can take a long time to dial in.

Relationships also, have to understand the landscape, lots of folks get taken to the cleaners here.

Food should be a huge savings, especially going out, and if you eat the native gruel. If you just go for western grub, you can spend some real money.


http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp

Somebody linked this site a couple of years ago. Not very accurate for here, but it does give you some broad idea of the important differences.
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TRH



Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Posts: 186
Location: HCMC

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"A CELTA teacher with a B.Ed is not a proper qualified teacher.....specially if you do not have QTS..........at the very least a PGCSEi / iPGCE." It is a little confusing if this quote is attributable to pinot but I do have a few comments.

EFL teachers of course come from several countries so what may be an obvious qualification to some is a mystery to others. I have a BEd and although I have no desire to teach full time in an international school, I certainly think it qualifies me to do so. After all, it qualifies me to teach in any jurisdiction in the US. Perhaps you meant a CELTA teacher with a BA. Could you could clarify what a an OTS and a PGCSEi / iPGCE are?
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