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Researching possible move from Vietnam to Germany: Jobs?
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mrpoe



Joined: 07 Feb 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:58 am    Post subject: Researching possible move from Vietnam to Germany: Jobs? Reply with quote

I'm currently an ESL teacher in Hanoi, Vietnam, but interested in teaching in Germany or Russia. To be more specific I'm researching the following cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin and Munich.

I've done enough research on Russia to conclude that my job prospects there are good, but need more information about the German job market.

My Qualifications: BA, CELTA, 1 year full time at Language Link teaching children, young adults and adults (a chain school, but extremely well run in Hanoi), 6 months of volunteer work with a local charity teaching ESL to young adults living in poverty. 3 months teaching ESL to Vietnamese employees of an NGO. (All work experience is concurrent.)

Other pertinent information: I have a US passport and am 56 years old. My current contract ends the first of October 2012.

Does the work experience in SE Asia count in Germany? Is it possible to obtain employment before arriving? Which city has the strongest job market? Is there a CV format preferred by German employers? What annual income can I expect during my second year in Germany?

I gather from reading other posts on this forum that most ESL jobs are freelance. That's fine. I've also read quite a bit about the work permit process, etc. so don't need any more information about that.

Thank you in advance for your replies.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9449
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your Asia experience will not put you much ahead of a new CELTA holder with no experience. Asian students are vastly different from German ones in terms of motivation, expectations, and goals. Most reputable employers are well aware that teachers whose sole experience is in Asia will not likely have developed the classroom skills specific to this job market.

Jobs in this region are not found from abroad at the newbie level. Airfare is not normally paid, and not many employers will offer accomodation, though they may help you find it.
The difference is that there are basically 'enough' teachers around already, though of course there are openings most of the time. Schools have no real need to take a chance on anyone sight-unseen, particularly someone who may or may not be able to obtain a working visa. You'll need to be here to interview in person.

The work permit process is your responsibility - as you've likely read already.
So far as annual income in your second year, no-one can really say. It's entirely dependent upon what school(s) you find to work for, whether you are able to branch out based on your own local reputation into direct work for corporations, etc, etc.

The general rule of thumb here is that people earn enough to live on, but not to pay off debts back home or to save up much. Unlikely that you'd earn enough as a language teacher with a BA and a CELTA to ever buy a flat or even a car, honestly. You'd need more qualifications to get such jobs, not to mention local language skills, contacts, and reputation. So, not impossible, but it's a few years of hard work to build your CV to a level that would make you competitive for the (few) better-paid jobs around in the field, and usually will include at 'least' a DELTA, and more likely an MA or PCGE.
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mrpoe



Joined: 07 Feb 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="spiral78"]Your Asia experience will not put you much ahead of a new CELTA holder with no experience. Asian students are vastly different from German ones in terms of motivation, expectations, and goals. Most reputable employers are well aware that teachers whose sole experience is in Asia will not likely have developed the classroom skills specific to this job market."

Sounds like you have a lot of current experience teaching in both Asia (specifically Vietnam) and Germany. Exactly in what ways do German and 'Asian' students differ in motivation, expectations and goals?

By 'Asian' students I assume you mean all of them: pre-K through middle aged; the rich and the poor; housewives, business women/men, students preparing to study overseas, etc.; Koreans, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indonesians, Malaysians, Cambodians, residents of Singapore and Hong Kong, and so on.

Exactly where do you get your information?

I think we should write Cambridge and make them aware that they don't teach the same classroom management skills in Vietnam as they do in Germany.

Thanks for your input.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9449
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. I have significant long-term experience teaching a wide range of German students (both in universities and business and government professionals), along with other Europeans. I have also been on hiring committees for over a decade, and have interviewed and monitored quite a few teachers whose previous experience was earned in various Asian countries and who have never taught European students. We have one on staff now who is requiring significant re-training; we hired her because she was open to the concept that perhaps her experience in one region of the world didn't equip her to effectively teach across very different cultures.


We have Asian drop-ins on occasion, but they are the minority. This is why I do not specify 'which' Asians I am referring to; I am speaking in generalities.

To re-iterate: this is why I did not say that your experience in Vietnam with X students will not be valued in Germany; I said that experience in Asia is not generally considered to be very applicable here.

In my 14 years in the region, that's the general consensu among teachers and management staff that I am aware of. The university where I work has partners in most European countries, and I collaborate and do project work in teacher training and curriculum development across the region.
In other words, I know a lot of teachers and management staff here.

Do come on over and see whether yiour specific experience will impress employers - and please do let us know the outcomes! You're certainly welcome to prove me wrong.

Oh, and on the issue of 'writing Cambridge to inform them that they don't teach the same classroom management skills'....that's a part of why it's usually considered ideal to take a certification course in the country where one wants to start working, if at all possible.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9356
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiral has a point. It is not that teaching students in Hanoi will be of absolutely no value to you, but employers won't really see it that way. There are vast differences in ways that really matter, so anyone coming into the job market in Russia or Germany will be re-learning the job to a large extent, so not much higher up the food chain than newbies training on the ground. For example, I have taught many Chinese, Japanese, Korean students etc., and only a tiny fraction of them ever complained about anything. Countable on one hand. On the other hand, adult Germans and Russians are fairly fast to tell you to your face if something is not to their satisfaction. And they more than have the linguistic skills to dish it out. Not enough fingers in a whole department to count the complainers for just one month's intake of students.

I have seen more teachers (who were originally based in the Far East) than I care to remember founder on not being given automatic respect by their learners. Quite a number of such colleagues were even less knowledgeable about grammar and vocabulary than their learners, with predictable classroom maulings swiftly following. (Presumably something similar happens when teachers with mainly European language student experience re-settle in the Far East - a steep learning curve in the offing. But I wouldn't know about that.)

So, I would listen to Spiral's advice. It may or may not be relevant to your situation. But while it is certainly possible to re-locate to Germany or Russia, it would be better to be aware of the potential pitfalls that await than to be unaware of them, surely?
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mrpoe



Joined: 07 Feb 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78

Yes, I agree there are cultural differences that must inform classroom management. I'm also aware of how motivated some of my students are and how hard they work. I also take my role seriously as an educator. Do the skills I'm acquiring in Vietnam really count for nothing outside of Vietnam? I know of professionals in the field who have taught in many countries through out the world successfully. I think they're successful because they're intelligent, committed and are able to adapt. I certainly anticipate that I will need to make changes to my teaching style when I move to another country.

I plan on teaching ESL until I retire; for the next ten to fifteen years. I chose this career because I wanted to travel and teach. Perhaps, you will see me in Germany some day, sooner or later. In fact, I'm sure you will.

I appreciate your sharing your background and expertise.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9449
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My point was that your Vietnam experience will not put you much at all ahead of newly-certified teachers when you arrive in Germany. I was referring to landing a first job contract - necessary to get a work visa. You will be competing with newly-certified teachers, and teachers around on the job market who have European experiene will most likely be given preference.

Assuming that you can find a first job in the country and that you are successful and stick around for a while, of course, as you become used to German students, you will develop the somewhat different skills needed here.

No-one is implying that Asian students are less motivated or hard-working than European ones. As Sasha has pointed out, it's far more about the degree of control over their learning processes and goals that European students expect to have, and their views regarding the status of a teacher in classroom contexts.
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mrpoe



Joined: 07 Feb 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We just recovered from another power outage in Hanoi...

Thank you for all the information. You've made it clear that I should be prepared to be patient with the job search process and establishing myself as an ESL teacher in Germany. Where I live is more important to me than instant success and fortune.

Any other information you have and/or resources you can point me to about teaching in Germany and 'the German student' would be received with appreciation.
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artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 867
Location: the world

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I moved to Germany after teaching in Asia and I had to adjust to a very different kind of class and student. It’s possible if someone has taught a lot of English for business and technical classes, it might be of direct use in Europe in terms of having a sound knowledge of related specialist language. You’ll find that while there’s still a need for general English, most classes will be business focussed and most likely company based.

Some students may be taking classes because they’ve been directed to, but there are plenty that are really motivated and want to see results. This could involve preparing for an important presentation, understanding a contract to buy or sell a subsidiary or writing a report. They will expect to be able to actively work on and improve skills in those specific areas and produce work that is competent. I agree that being flexible and adaptable are important qualities. A readiness to do a good deal of preparation for some classes will not go amiss, and if you have a relevant business background, then that's a definite advantage.

I found teaching in Germany to be a rewarding experience on the whole. I enjoyed having students with a very high level of language skills, but not everyone does because they're sometimes demanding and not slow to complain or voice their opinion. You might be able to start with low level classes but students will still expect a thorough knowledge of grammar and to have it communicated effectively to them. Because of their own knowledge of grammar, they’re likely to spot mistakes made by a teacher or an unclear explanation faster than students of other nationalities. Many Germans consider English grammar to be ‘easy’ compared to their own language. They often have a very good knowledge of rules but may want you to revise them. It’s not that often you’d have a class of genuine beginners unless they're East Germans.

Most freelancers start off with a few classes and slowly try to build up further work contacts from there. I'd recommend having considerable funds available to fall back on until you are a little more established if you decide to move to Europe.
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BenE



Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After working in both Vietnam and Germany I must say Vietnam is better for quality of life and teaching.
I'm returning to Vietnam in a few days after working in Germany for 6 months.
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 122
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have an EU passport?




If not, you won't get a job in Germany.
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 122
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of your 2 choices: Germany or Russia only Russia will sponser a Visa for a US ESL teacher.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12246
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question number one would be

DO YOU SPEAK, READ AND WRITE German ?

if not stay in the Nam.
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Luxe



Joined: 08 Jul 2010
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vashdown2 wrote:
Do you have an EU passport?




If not, you won't get a job in Germany.


What utter nonsense. I'm an American, showed proof of €7,908 in my bank account and two schools willing to give me hours and was giving a residence permit same-day allowing me to freelance as an ESL teacher. Furthermore, I was informed at the same office that after two one-year renewals (three years total), I would be eligible for a non-restricted work permit allowing me to take up any type of employment. It's extraordinarily easy to get in Germany as an American as long as you have two schools willing to hire you and proof of sufficient funds (€7,908).

And none of the English teachers I know in Berlin speak German above A1/A2 level.
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JN



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luxe, I do agree with you as to being able to get a work permit here in Germany for Americans. That's not a problem. However, there are English teachers who are fluent in German, myself being one of them.
After 2 years of renewals you can get an unrestricted permit? Wow! I'd sure like that.
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