Covid or Classes

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Covid has closed Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


Covid is the new C word. it used to be cancer. ( I am not being flippant, as I have had and survived this ‘C” word.). But in Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam, this has closed the city. The general populace are quite poor by European standards, and 6 weeks off work has made a lot of people desperate. Schools are closed, shops are closed, businesses are closed and people here are hurting. The last 6 weeks have drained peoples bank accounts and wallets. A lot have come to the stage where they can not afford rent and food. Over this time some of us have been able to help those in need.

But there are no teaching jobs in HCMC unless you wish to teach on line. if you look at my other posts I provide a list of schools and sites where you can apply to teach over the web. However if you have a school (like me) things become a bit more challenging. ( I will provide a post at a later date how to set up your own school). My fixed costs are about $1,500 per month, not including wages. So I am hoping for a quick  resolution  to open our schools again. 

But at the momeny there are no positions available for teachers in Ho Chi Minh City. At the same time the government is cracking down on those “teachers” who have expired visas and even illegal visas. There are some unethical companies that will supply a visa for the right amount of cash.  

  The bad news and the good news.

The bad news is you can not get into Vietnam and even if you could there are no jobs available in Ho Chi Minh City. We are still in lockdown mode. My wife, Nga, and I were unlucky enough to live in the first district ( They are called districts not suburbs) to suffer from lockdown. It has now been in effect for the last 6 weeks and will probably extend out for another 2 weeks. During this time the number of covid cases has risen every day. We had a “hem” ( A small alleyway) only 2 streets away that was sealed off because the people there had covid. The police had the “hem” sealed off and a police officer posted outside to make sure nobody entered or exited. A bit too close to home for me.

The “good” news is that schools and private ESL (English as a Second Language) schools are now advertising for teachers to start from July (optimistic) to September ( More realistic). September is when the new school semester starts. So I believe this time frame makes more sense. There have been no official announcements as to when teaching and classes  will start again. The other “good” news is that because there has been an exodus ( I have a sudden urge to play some Bob Marley) of teachers the demand for teachers will be high. I am already getting a lot of schools contacting me. Also the pay rates should rise. I have seen some recruiters offering $25 $27 per hour.Most recruiters and schools talk hourly rates. The standard has been between $17.00 to $22.00 per hour. So supply and demand will benefit those who can get here or are here. All wages should be advertised in Vietnamese dong ( the official currency) although a lot still advertise in US dollars. This is technically illegal. 1 US dollar equals 23,000 dong.

If you are already looking for a teaching position there are some things to be careful about. Firstly beware of recruiters who offer upfront bonuses. You will be paying for it in reduced hourly rates. The more professional campanies offer bonuses for completing a 12 or 18 month contract. Secondly, read your contract ( It should be in English as well as Vietnamese). I have read some very bad conracts in the last 15 years. There are some schools that have a penalty clause. If you are late for class (read 3 minutes or more) the school can penalise you by deducting 2 periods of pay. So, if you are late for 3 minutes you may have your next pay reduced by 1 1/2 hours. Again..three minutes late and one and a half hours of pay taken out. And with the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City being diabolical in morning peak hour, it is common to be late for class at least some days. Power English are experts in this field. Also if you have been quoted in US dollars be careful that the conversion rate is accurate. All too often I have seen the conversion rate lower than it really is.  In my other posts I have provided a list of English Facebook groups which can provide you with a wealth of information about recruitment companies and jobs. Another thing to think about is teaching in public schools lucrative enough? Now we have covid induced holidays as well as normal school holidays the amount of time you are teaching might be as little as 8 months a year. Make sure you have another revenue avenue to cover those months where  you do not have a day job. Working extra hours at a private school is well advised. Do not think you can just walk in after you have done your 8 months in a public school and expect to be employed. Put in a few months prior to you wanting a night/ weekend teaching job. Once again I have provided information about private verse public schools and money and times as well as class sizes etc. So please read and decide what you want to do. Another way to earn extra income is to become an Affiliate marketer. I have done this with a company called Wealthy Affiliates and it is a great way to earn extra income on line from home.  

If you are serious about coming to teach in Vietnam it is a great idea to learn some basic Vietnames. It also helps you immensely in the classroom. Choose a language learning sight like ” Mondly” to give you the basics in Vietnamese. 

Please leave a comment about this. If you like or dislike anything about the subject matter please contact me or leave a comment. Thank you for your time.  

ESL lesson Plan | Beginners

Starting Out.

When you first start teaching you have a lot of questions rattling around in your head. probably the first and biggest is can I do this? You have done your training and maybe you have even done a demonstration lesson for your employer. But nothing quite prepares you for your first day of teaching. can I do it, will the students like me, will I be a total flop?

It’s like going on stage for the first time and battling those butterflies. There are techniques and methods you can use to make that first day and the days after that easier. The best piece of advice I got was to go our and enjoy myself, have fun.

If the students see you having fun they will be drawn in and enjoy themselves too. I remember the first day and I made a basic grammar mistake. Of course the class pounced on it. What did I do…..I said, good I wonder who was going to pick that up. After that we laughed and now 15 years later I have my own school.

Lesson Plans are a must.

There are some things as a new teacher that will make your life a lot easier. And that is HAVE A LESSON PLAN. It doesn’t have to be written out in all it’s complexity with it’s i’s dotted and it’s t’s crossed. But you do need a general guide as to what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. ( This should have been covered in depth in your teacher training).

Normally the school where you will teach will have a curriculum and book for you to follow. If they are good they will inform you as to what page /pages you will teach. ( Normally only 1 or 2 pages per lesson)


To start your class you will normally do a warm up. Getting the students relaxed and help them to think in English. It could be a quick game  – ABC food or ABC body parts or Clothes. You go around the class and the students have to name a food or body parts/ clothes in Alphabetical order. For example A – arm, B – Bottom, C – Chest, D – Dress etc.

You need a full retinue of games , you can look on the web or talk with other teachers about what they use.

and then you are into your lesson.

Making a lesson Plan.

Before you start decide what type of lesson you will be doing. A review, a skill based lesson, a book based lesson or one entirely on your own.

If this is your first lesson you will want to do some form of introduction. The depth that you drill down will be dependent on the age of your students. Ideally you should have lesson plans for different ages and different skill levels. At it’s most basic your lesson plan will be for;

1) Kindergarten, quick and fast with lots of changes to keep them interested. Most classes are only 30 minutes long/

2) Children, Fun based activities, lot’s of games but some formal book based learning. Does not need to be quite as fast paced as kindergarten.

3) Teenagers. ( Secondary school) A couple of games, I like to do 1 at the start and 1 at the end of the lesson. More focus on book learning.

4) Adults. Can be a little bit more risque with the comments. More focused on on learning and covering all the skills.

You need to think on your feet in the classroom. If you see something not working , move onto something else. as much as a lesson plan is essential do not be bound by it if it is not working.

The steps I take in designing a lesson plan are;

1) Decide on your objectives., whether it is…

– Leaning new vocabulary.

– Learning new grammar.

– Practising speaking

– listening skills

– Writing skills

2) Outline your lesson Plan..

a) Waiting for your students.

b) Warm up / game.

c) Hand out worksheets or take out books.

d) Group work.

e) Individual work

f) Mark worksheets in class and collect.

g) Wrap up / answer questions or play a quick game like hangman or stop the bus etc. ( Laugh and Learn)

Most classes are 45 minutes long unless you have a double period. Then your class is 11/2 hours long. Also put a time of how long you think each section will last. Have 2 more parts to your lesson plan in reserve in case you need them.

3) Activities.

What activities or games or work sheets ( Or a mix) are you going to use to achieve your goals in section 1 ( Objectives)


Create or find materials to support the classes learning experience. It could be flash cards for younger children or puzzles or worksheets. To start it is easier to find these on line ( is a good site) but later you will want to create your own.

5) Have Fun.

The most important part when you get into the class is relax and have fun. You have done the hard work, now enjoy the rewards.


Once you have done the first 10-20 lessons you will feel much more comfortable and can start practising with different teaching ideas and methods. I remember that I counted my first 100 classes( LOL ) and after year 2 I tried to count how many I had done but I had lost count long ago and was enjoying the classes.

I still enjoy doing a rudimentary lesson plan but I know if you put me in front of any class I can pluck out a lesson that will be relevant and enjoyed by all.

All the best on your journey.

Tell me any stories you may have of your first day in class. Or if you haven’t got there yet, what do you expect.

I love hearing your stories and will reply to any messages left as soon as I can.

Resources for teachers

Who Am I? 

I am a teacher who has lived in Vietnam for 15 years and now have 2 schools. My name is Steve and I love traveling, Teaching and learning about new cultures.

You can see my house in Vietnam below on YouTube.

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Any or all links on this site maybe affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.


IELTS or the International English LanguageTesting System is a test for study, migration or work. Over 3 million people take the test every year. IELTS ic accepted by over 10,000 employees, universities, schools and immigration departments around the globe.

The test measures the language proficiency of those who want to work or study in countries where English is the native language spoken. This includes the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Having a good mark in these tests will help with the immigration process.

There are 2 IELTS tests a test taker can choose from. This includes IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both test types assess the test taker’s ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English. The academic module is taken by those who want to enter undergraduate or post graduate studies for professional reasons. And the general module is taken by those who want to enter vocational or non degree training programs. Or for admission to secondary schools and for immigration purposes.

Both modules are made up of 4 parts. Listening, Reading, writing and speaking. The listening and speaking are the same for both modules but the reading and writing tests are different.

 IELTS is available at more than 1,600 locations worldwide and is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP, IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English..

Teacking IELTS can be very profitable but because of the rigidity of the course and the content that must be covered it can also be somewhat boring for both the student and teacher. At the moment in Vietnam there seems to be a push from the parents to start IELTS training at a fairly young age. This is something I will not do as there needs to be some degree of life skills for the average student. I would be hesitant to offer this to anyone under 15 ( Dependent on maturity) I did have 1 student who was very good and at 14 years of age passed IELTS at the band 7 level.

IELTS test scores range from 1 to band 9. Each band represents the level of attainment of the student.

IELTS test scores

IELTS results are scored on a scale of 1-9. The score that your students need to achieve will vary depending on the individual institution requirements.

Band scoreSkill levelDescription9Expert userThe test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
8Very good userThe test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7Good userThe test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6Competent userThe test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5Modest userThe test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4Limited userThe test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
3Extremely limited userThe test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2Intermittent userThe test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1Non-userThe test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0Did not attempt the testThe test taker did not answer the questions.

The IELTS academic module for test purposes is broken down into;

1) Listening;  Approximately 30 minutes with 40 questions in four sections

2) Reading; One hour with 40 questions in 3 sections.

3) Writing; ! hour with 2 compulsory tasks.

4) Speaking; 11 – 14 minutes with an examiner covering a range of topics from the familiar to general questions.

Tips for students

In your IELTS speaking test it is best to use a wide range of vocabulary to show off your skills when you are asked to describe your favourite and least favourite book and any other question asked.  


Could you teach IELTS 

Technically there are no requirements to become an IELTS teacher, however teaching IELTS means you need to have a level of knowledge of the English language and how it is used. You need a very good range of vocabulary and a strong grasp of English grammar. If you believe you have that or at least can learn on a steep learning curve then you the possibility of being able to teach IELTS. On the personal side it is very rewarding when you see one of your students pass the exam and travel to another country or get the job they want. It can also be rewarding financially with returns of $50 to $100 per hour not uncommon for a good teacher. On the downside there is a lot of marking and homework. And as mentioned before because of the format of learning it can be boring. Try to break up the study with coffee breaks and dinner now and again.

There are many professional development opportunities for teachers and you can find plenty of support materials on their website, ( blog and YouTube channel.

So if you want to develop your skills and become an IELTS teacher the pathh is open for you. If you wish to leave any comments please feel free to do so.

Resources for teaching

The official cambridge guide to IELTS

“>Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS book with answers and audio CD

Cambridge IELTS 12 Academic students book with answers. With audio. IELTS practise tests.

“>Cambridge grammar for students IELTS book

My preference is to keep with the cambridge books as they are the official books used. 

Product review: Blue-tooth headset/Amp.

Two of the most important things you can have in the classroom to help you are;

1) A Bluetooth headset Amplifier.

You need your blue tooth headset amplifier to make life easier in the classroom by projecting your voice loud enough so that it is heard. In Vietnam it is quite common in public schools to have class sizes of 50 students plus. You want to be heard by every student because as soon as some students don’t hear you, they will start talking. If they start talking then you will get everyone wanting to talk and you have just lost control of your class. Yes you can use your natural voice but over time this puts a strain on your vocal chords and you will start to lose your voice. Who said teaching wasn’t fun. I recommend a headband style headset.. Also I recommend anything that has an output of over 25watts.

Product Review: Blue Tooth Speaker.

2)  Blue tooth speaker

A blue tooth speaker is also a very necessary item for you in the class room. You can connect your phone to the blue tooth speaker and run any audio content directly from your phone to the speaker. You can save your audio files in Google drive then play them when needed. I generally prepare everything the night before and am ready for class in the morning. Once again I prefer anything over 25 watts output and there are some very good speakers on the market at the moment for a fair price.

So there you have it. The two best classroom tools that over the years have saved my voice and saved my sanity. There are a variety of different products on the market and these are but two you can use. I have used them and they are good. But you may wish to use something else, and that is great too. Find something that you like and are comfortable with.

If you wish for further recommendations please don’t hesitate to contact me:-)  Any feedback is also welcome.

Covid + School openings in Vietnam: May 2021

English schools in Vietnam are still closed as well as the public schools. Kindergarten, Primary, Secondary schools and Universities are all closed.

It’s June 7th and we are in the middle of a two-week lock down and we are not allowed to go anywhere, except for essential services.

More than thirty cities and provinces have now entered the second week of on-line teaching.

Most of my colleagues have either taken on line teaching jobs, gambling on crypto currency rises and falls or looking at drop shopping or Affiliate Marketing.

Officially as of May 2021, the Ho Chi Minh City peoples’ committee tightened restrictions across H.C.M.C because of rising covid 19 infections. Go Vap district ( Close to the airport ) and Thanh Loc ward are under two weeks lock down with no more than two people being allowed to meet and normal two meter social distancing policy in place along with the compulsory wearing of masks in public.

And the rest of H.C.M.C is limited to the meeting of up to 5 people, 2 meter social distancing and visits to only essential services as well as the mask. Ho Chi Minh City restaurants are limited to only providing take away food and the Airlines have been asked to reduce domestic flights.

However, who would want to go away at the moment. If you go to an area the government has ruled an “affected area of risk” you will need to quarantine or self isolate yourself for 21 days upon your return. And you may also be asked to return up to 2 negative Covid tests during or after that period of isolation.

Districts that are affected by covid are;

District 1; District 3; District 7; District 12; Binh Thanh District; Go Vap District; Hoc Mon District; Nha Be District; Phu Nhuan District; Tan Binh District; Tan Phu District; Thu Duc. ( I live in Go Vap which is one of the 2 Districts under lock down).

The national tally of Covid cases is now 8,747 and the death toll is 53. We received a phone call yesterday saying one of our students had come down with Covid. It sounds terrible but luckily for us it had been over 3 weeks since we had last seen her. I am sure she will be OK as she is 19 years old and falls outside the riskier age groups.



Vietnam International Flights

Travel Updates and Restrictions.

Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners since March 2nd 2020. This was posted by Dezan Shira and Associates on June 2nd 2021 . This measure will not apply to diplomats, officials, foreign investors, experts and skilled workers.

Vietnam Airlines and Viet jet had resumed some International flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with South Korea, Japan and Australia. So people could go home if they wanted or had to.

What is important for any future teachers traveling to Vietnam? Any foreign employee who wants to enter Vietnam should ensure they have a sponsor who can help in getting the necessary paperwork. And assist with the 14-day mandatory quarantine when arriving in Vietnam.

Vietnamese authorities will charge a quarantine fee for anyone entering Vietnam from September 1. Foreign nationals will be required to pay for their own medical treatment if needed. International arrivals who opt to stay at government quarantine facilities will be required to pay at least VND 120,000 (US$5) per day.

The latest is that inbound flights are suspended until June 14th. Any person coming in is subject to a 21-day quarantine. Outbound flights will continue. This statement was released by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam 3 minutes ago at 10.50 am 7/06/2021.

Advertised jobs and what do they mean.

Jobs are being advertised on Facebook now. There are a few looking for on line teachers working for companies like Bling ABC and  other on line English schools. You will find more information on Teaching ESL in Vietnam 2021 – Great Teaching jobs in HCMC – ( about on line schools. There are also companies looking for teachers to work in China, Thailand and the Philippines.

There are also a few looking for teachers for positions that are supposedly current. I can only think these classroom positions are in areas that are outside of an “affected area of risk”

You will find a list of Facebook groups on my website that show most of the groups addresses. A few of those are Real English Teacher Jobs, Foreign English Teachers in Vietnam and English Teacher Jobs. Below is an example of what is on offer.

Apollo English Junior centers are still hiring!

Apollo are currently looking for energetic, creative and dedicated young learner teachers to join the Apollo team. Classes starting in June & July. Classes are currently online now.

We will transition back to face to face as soon as the situation improves. We always have opportunities available for qualified candidates

Teaching positions are available at the following locations: Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Bien Hoa, Binh Duo…

Personally I would be very careful about coming to Vietnam at this stage until the schools have reopened. And when you do come make sure you bring enough funds to either survive a downturn in the market or a quick flight out. In the meantime we are all suffering from cabin fever and covid 19 fallout.

This might be the right time to look at an on line business like Affiliate Marketing with Wealthy Affiliates or even drop shipping.

Whatever you decide, things will return to normal. Don’t listen to the nay sayers.