Common Health Problems for the EFL Teacher.

Health Problems in the Classroom.

Keeping one’s physical health together when teaching in the classroom and online is important, especially when doing remote instruction via a computer. But as a teacher, it’s crucial to look after your mental health as well. You will benefit from this as well as improve your teaching and student outcomes.

Being a teacher is such a demanding job. A teacher is continuously “on the go,” and if they are not careful, the students can quickly sap your energy on a regular basis. Many teachers feel exhausted and drained when they return home. Not physically fatigued, but mentally spent. A person will eventually start to feel mentally exhausted and “hit the wall”. As a result of this, you will undoubtedly be affected outside of the classroom as well.

Being an EFL or ESL teacher in a foreign country can also leave you open to feelings of “aloneness” and wondering how you can cope. Often there is no support structure in place and this can lead to harmful substance abuse situations.

Common Educator Health Problems.

Teachers are generally held in high regard because of the challenging work they do.

They have the responsibility of assisting students in learning and helping with intellectual development, from young children to adults and they are expected to adhere to rigid lesson plans. On top of that, they are not necessarily paid the greatest salary.

It may be necessary for them to attend class even though they are feeling under the weather, then stay up late to prepare for their upcoming class of students. All this contributes to various physical health problems and there are some health issues that are more likely to emerge in teachers.

Here are a few of the most prevalent physical health issues that instructors encounter.

Due to the physical demands of the profession, educators deal with a wide range of medical conditions, from back discomfort to vocal demands from speaking in large noisy classrooms and eye strain from the amount of reading done.

Most physical health problems can be solved by fixing the problems with the school administrators or dealing directly with doctors and related problems.

However, today we are going to be looking at stress and the problems related to protecting your mental health. And what we can do as individual teachers to help alleviate these problems, especially as ESL teachers.

Trying to Maintain Mental Health in the ESL Classroom.

The answer isn’t as straightforward as “taking a break” (although it can help momentarily), in my opinion, you should match your daily actions with your emotional beliefs. Make sure your actions and the topics you cover in your teaching are consistent with your beliefs.

The simple reality that many teachers are tearing out their hair because their ideals about teaching and learning don’t align with their teaching environment can cause a lot of mental tension and misery.

You only need to look at what is happening in the U.S.A at the moment with mass resignations reverberating throughout the teaching profession to understand the depths of despair in the education industry.  

More Options.

It can be challenging to seek the support you need to maintain your mental health when mixed with a culture of self-sacrifice and external pressures.

Without assistance, continuing is unsustainable, and eventually, something will break. This can make it difficult for you to manage your day-to-day workload at work, necessitating time off for treatment, and more.

How to avoid problems or relieve symptoms:

You have alternatives to handle pressures at work, depending on how severe they are for you. You can get the tools to handle this through talk therapy, support groups with other educators, mental wellness applications, and the usage of perks like an employee assistance program if these are available.

However, as I mentioned before, when you are in a foreign country with a lack of resources you will be struggling to find any type of support structure. Added to that, if you are in a country that has a large “party scene” you may find some teachers start abusing alcohol as a coping mechanism. This is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Simple Solutions.

There are some simple measures you can take that will help insulate you from some of the worse conditions of living in a foreign country where you may or may not be feeling homesick.

Before you leave for your new life in the country of your dreams check out the Facebook groups you can join and look for other activities you can do as well. At the same time, get your ideal lifestyle and employment worked out! It’s not as difficult as it may seem to select a work abroad program, especially if you prepare prior to traveling.

Another thing you may wish to do is to put together a selection of photos of friends and family to remind you of your support groups if and when you need them.

Surrounding yourself with things and people that remind you of home will help you to settle into your new country and new job more easily.

Join Clubs.

Most large cities in Vietnam have a good selection of clubs and groups that you can join and make friendships with people who have similar interests.

Learning the local language will not only help you develop new friendships it will also open new doors of understanding within your new country. 

After living in Vietnam for more than 15 years, the people I see who survive and thrive are those who immerse themselves in the culture and develop a strong network of friends.

For example, Expats in HCMC are an English-speaking community in Vietnam and are one of many groups available.

Final Words.

With the post-effects of covid still trickling through and with Christmas on the horizon I wanted to make people aware that it is OK to feel a bit down at times. 

You can do a few things that will help you cope if you are having problems. Remember you are not in it alone and there are a lot of people who can help, and not just professionally. It is just as important to be able to sit down with friends and discuss how you are feeling.

Christmas can be a time when you feel alone and isolated, so if you are feeling like that, I urge you to reach out and get in contact with someone to talk with. I am also here if you need a good listener.

Spending your first Christmas away from family can present its own challenges and there are always people available to talk to. Don’t try to cope with any problems alone. As cliched as it sounds, a problem shared is a problem lessened.

 



Stephen


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Vietnams Ministry of Education Bans IELTS Exams.

IELTS suspended from the Vietnamese classroom.

Students fly overseas to take IELTS exams after indefinite suspension in Vietnam” was the headline from VN Express International, an English language newspaper catering to all English speakers in Vietnam.

IELTS is an English proficiency exam that is used to assess students’ ability in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It is commonly used by students in Vietnam to enter foreign schools and universities to further their education. And it is also being commonly used to enter Vietnamese Universities at an increasing rate as well.

To find out more about the course details you can look at IELTS.org.

One Students Ordeal.

To give you an understanding of how this has upset the students who have been studying this, here is one persons ordeal.

A young lady had her test canceled by the British Council ( One of 2 bodies that can conduct tests in Vietnam) because of the MOETs ruling to stop tests. She was scheduled to take this test as a final prerequisite for applying to a Canadian college. She lost her fee with the British Council and on top of that paid out an additional sum to fly to Thailand to take her test there. The additional costs were obviously an added burden but she needed her IELTS score asap so the visa to Canada could be arranged.

Following the abrupt postponement in Vietnam, this young lady is one of the hundreds of Vietnamese students who intend to fly abroad to take IELTS tests.

Why has MOET Suspended IELTS Exams?

The British Council and IDP, according to the MOET, failed to obtain their approval documents, and the tests were improperly managed. And for that reason, the testing was abruptly stopped. The British Council and the IDP are the 2 bodies in Vietnam authorized to conduct these tests in Vietnam.

Poorly Planned

The government directive requiring organizations to obtain updated authorization from the education ministry to conduct foreign language exams was issued in June 2018, according to Ho Quang Huy, chief of the Legal Document Inspection Department at the Ministry of Justice.

He attributed the lack of information to the education ministry and claimed that earlier statements from the department would have allowed companies more time to submit their paperwork.

Students who had started to submit their admission documents to study abroad have experienced significant difficulties as a result of the IELTS exam postponement attributed the lack of communication to the ministry of education.

Is This The Only Reason?

There have been other reasons suggested as well as the above for the abrupt termination or suspension of IELTS testing.

Online Scammers and Leaked IELTS papers.

The only two IELTS testing organizations in Vietnam, the British Council and IDP, caution applicants against falling for online con artists who sell “genuine” exam papers.

IELTS test papers containing answers that were claimed to be “genuine” have cost “candidates” millions of dong. As more and more colleges prioritize IELTS as a requirement for admission, the demand for the credential is surging.

IELTS was just a requirement for admission to a small number of colleges in 2017. But when more than 30 colleges added it to the admissions process last year, the number went up.

Many con artists claim that the day before the examination, candidates will receive the “genuine” test paper. The money quickly vanished after the “applicant” pays for the “genuine” test paper.

Test Too Difficult for Vietnamese English Teachers.

It has been discussed by some “foreign” teachers that now that Vietnamese English teachers must sit and pass the test for their jobs, the content has been found to be too difficult for them. With some people going even further in their responses. Albeit this is not necessarily the opinion of this website.


Editorial Comment by Marty Hoare.

We can all be certain of one thing. This IELTS drama is more complicated than what we are seeing in the news.

Without providing a reason, the BC has abruptly stopped all IELTS exams till further notice.

The local media alerts us to problems with the exam itself the very next minute.

It’s rather safe to presume that the BC and MOET have gotten into a battle over something.

I wonder if the requirements and evaluation of the IELTS have anything to do with that.

I also wonder if it has anything to do with the terrible results of the most recent IELTS tests that Vietnamese English teachers had to take and pass.

The likelihood that the abhorrent and embarrassing results of the English Vietnamese teacher testing for MOET, and the local education sector more broadly, has caused this fight.


Promises for a Quick Fix.

On Saturday, the education ministry declared that in the upcoming days, it will give IELTS and TOEFL approval priority over all other foreign language competence exams.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, the choice was made to remove obstacles for candidates who want to sit for these tests. In order to get ministry approval to resume the testing, it has asked pertinent units to finish papers.

The postponement, according to the education ministry, was caused by organizations not finishing their approval documents and improper management of exam quality. If all of the required documentation is submitted, the approval procedure should take about 20 days, according to deputy education minister Nguyen Huu Do.

Let us hope that whatever the issue that started this, it will be resolved quickly so there are no more problems for the students affected.


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Best Gifts for an ESL Teacher

Thhis year let’s ask for the stars and we might hit the moon anyway. Tired of books for Christmas, let’s ask for laptops and see what happens.

Vietnamesl Amazon privacy policy
Associates Program

What You Wanted and What You Got.

We have all woken up on Christmas day at some stage and been totally underwhelmed by what we received. When you were wishing for a new bicycle and ended up with a pair of socks.

And it always started with the advent calendar. All the other kids were getting metal whistles and cool gifts and you ended up with a plastic “dummy”.

This Christmas is about Karma and will right some of the wrongs you have been dealt with over the years.

The Gifts You Always Wanted.

Here are some suggestions for gifts that are MUCH better than gift cards or socks if you have an English teacher on your gift list.

Alternatively, if you ARE an English teacher, you can leave this list open on your laptop for your students to “inadvertently” find. Or go and treat yourself. Isn’t it time you upgraded your laptop and added some speakers to play in the class?

There will be no judgments from this teacher.

Books, The teachers’ choice.

Teaching is a stressful profession, and reading for enjoyment can help you decompress by transporting you into a different world. This is why teachers adore books.

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction if it is a captivating read you can be transported through time and space to a place where you can escape and explore.

Books are a teacher’s and student’s choice.

The World Book Company.

Since 1915, the World Book Corporation has dedicated itself to producing accurate, impartial, and trustworthy products that have regularly been rated as the finest in the education industry by teachers, librarians, and families.

The complete World Book Encyclopedia is the most recent and up-to-date print and online encyclopedia available thanks to the work of thousands of specialists.

From the 2017 World Book Encyclopedia’s 100th Anniversary Commemorative edition to intriguing new titles like Enigmas of History, Building Blocks of Science: Life Science, and Endangered Animals of the World, the titles cover a variety of topics and age groups.

There are various advertising campaigns every month, and they offer free shipping to consumers in the United States and Canada. You’ll come across information that will enlighten and enrich you.

The World Book company has everything from sports-related books to encyclopedias. A teacher’s dream and delight await all who hearken upon this voyage.

Or divest yourself of pretense of unselfishness and throw your head back and scream for your laptop.

Laptops for Legendary Teachers who Create.

And books are great, but let’s get real. These babies are for the hardworking teacher who crafts his lessons from scratch and demands the best. So if you want to reward yourself, These come strongly recommended.

Are you already dreaming of i9 Laptops? The Real Dream.

Asus Zenbook.

Maybe a bit of ASUS will spice things up for you…You can just watch or be part of the action for less than US$2,000.000.

 

Asus New Features.

There are a few features that make this laptop a standout and stand apart laptop. This laptop includes a secondary 3.5-inch OLED display on the lid in addition to the primary display in its usual location. This display may show various animations, notifications, battery life, date and time, and user-customizable text.

This laptop’s compliance with US Space System Command Standards (SMC-S-016A) and resistance to vibrations and extremely low or high temperatures are its other unique features. This device’s durability meets MIL-STD-810H specifications for toughness.

The ASUS ZenBook’s internal processor, the Intel Core i9-12900H, has 14 cores and 20 threads. The laptop’s integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics are available for graphics. A 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD and 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM are added to the potent processor.

It lacks a number pad because of size and space limitations. However, it does have a virtual number pad. It comes with 2 Thunderbolt 4 connections, a USB Type-A port, an HDMI and headphone jack, and an SD card reader.

A USB Type-A to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet converter from Asus is also included in the box.

The ASUS ZenBook is currently available for purchase. The laptop costs $1,999 and has a metallic Titanium color. Words and numbers aside, it is ready for some heavy duty processing work


Apple Pro M2. Dream No. Two or No. One?

M1 or M2, 14″ or 16″

The M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and M2 versions of those models have already been released, and their successors might not be too far away. Here is all the information you require for the upcoming release.

Despite rumors that the new laptops would be released soon, the prediction that the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and Max CPU s would arrive in the fall of 2022 has been crushed.

New Macs are often introduced by Apple in November.

Next year will bring new Macs. Apple’s upcoming lineup of Macs “probably won’t ship until early next year,” according to Gurman. Gurman anticipates the first half of March 2023 as the timeframe.

Pricing.

The prices for the current models are as follows. Despite some significant price increases, we don’t foresee any significant changes in the U.S. With the M2 makeover, Apple increased the cost of the base MacBook Air by $200, or 20 percent.


Final Thoughts.

Despite or maybe because everyone seems so serious this year, I have put together a couple of things that I would love to receive under the Christmas tree.

Sometimes Santa is better when he tries to be worse. They say “karma” is a b****. Well, this year I’m up for it and I hope you are too. My ‘karmic” balance involves a couple of hi-end laptops and I hope this can go somewhere in bringing a bit of balance in your life.

If these don’t tickle your fancy, send me an email and Include your righteous response with a plethora of your perfect presents. And I will see what Santa can do to provide some Santa treats.


Author: Stephen. Editor

Editor to VietnamESL, Kool Affiliate, and recently acquired Gardening-Guru, Stephen has worked in small business for the last twenty years. He has clocked up many hours, days weeks, and years in growing small businesses into large healthy ones.

 Stephen’s career highlights include establishing and running two English schools in H.C.M.C Vietnam. Conducting training for native English Teachers in Pleiku for the Ministry of Education of Vietnam (M.O.E).

And now helps people with their own dreams who wish to teach in Vietnam or live the nomadic lifestyle of the laptop warrior.


 

English Language Centers Facing Shortages | Editorial.

Vietnams English industry is suffering from lack of good teachers and poor administration.

Why Do Some Centers have Staff Shortages?

You could be forgiven for thinking that in Vietnam we are still in the throws of lockdown because of the lack of ESL teachers in language centers. Surely they didn’t all pack up and went home during the pandemic?

Some independent education experts speculated that the recent problem affecting English language schools in Vietnam may be caused by the institutions’ delayed response to changes in the preferred teaching strategies of today’s students.

Independent specialists debated that while modern trends in foreign language learning are growing both in Vietnam and around the world, many Vietnamese English language centers appear to have fallen behind because they cannot adapt to the new waves of change.

Higher Costs Hitting Home.

The Apax Leaders affair, ( They were once well respected and have been around for roughly five years), is one of the most recent scandals involving an English language school.

The current situation highlights a number of issues that many other English-speaking locations are facing in the post-pandemic age. That is higher costs, especially office rent, and little increase in tuition fees from the students and parents.

A center’s rent could be hundreds of millions of dong (100 million dong is approximately $4,200 US), and the majority of landlords are unwilling to lower their rate. Also, the global market is searching for native foreign English teachers, but they are hard to come by as many have gone home during the pandemic and found other jobs. Money Conversion by “XE-Money Converter

Language School Closures.

Overall I would estimate that between 40% to 60 % of language schools have either closed or dramatically reduced their size. Many have stopped renting high-priced offices and moved to cheaper ones. They also used smaller spaces instead of large properties to save money. A lot of this happened while still passing on the higher charges in fees, understandably illegal.

Some companies share their offices with partners. They keep only some parts for teaching and sublet the rest for purposes other than teaching, although this is also not allowed by law.

Additionally, many married immigrants have established “schools” inside their homes that can significantly undercut such businesses with higher prices.

While other schools, like Apax, are allegedly going through “re-opening procedures,” it is unclear whether they will actually reopen. Will it be another case of “take the money and run”?

A Shortage Of Qualified English Teachers.

I have been living and working in Vietnam as an EFL teacher for the last 15 years and I have never seen it this bad before. The pandemic drove people out of the country and the non-slackening of visa or immigration rules has made Vietnam to be a less friendly entry point than some other countries.

Add to that the closures and fly-by-night practices of some schools and you have severely dented the reputation of many language schools in Vietnam.

There are a lot of online communities and Facebook groups that have seen continued publishing of unfulfilled jobs. This has led a lot of the English Centers to lower their standards and accept people with rudimentary English language skills. It is almost like stepping back 15 years to the less controlled environment that was still current then.

It is common to see 20 or 30 jobs for a teacher that can’t be filled. The English teachers who remain get bombarded with calls and offers to teach. At one stage I was getting 10 calls a week for different job offers. however, the offers all tend to be around the same hourly rate, more than likely due to the points raised here.

It’s Time to Relax Administrative procedures.

The need for foreign teachers has grown in the post-pandemic era in line with the rise in student enrollment, although there are significant administrative roadblocks.

Obtaining a work permit for a foreign national is currently quite challenging. This makes it difficult for many language schools to afford to hire enough foreign instructors. And the teachers that are coming through are from countries that were not in favor (For English Teachers) before. Like the Philippines and South Africa.

Regarding this situation, authorities should adopt flexible policies and expedite procedures. In this way, the teacher shortage issue might be quickly resolved.

Money or Education.

Vietnamese language schools frequently place more of an emphasis on business than on education. Quite frequently, I would witness parents barging into the centers and lamenting the abject failure of their child’s external exam. A consequence of the school’s policy of forcing students—whether or not they are prepared—through “the system.”

They 9The schools) simply want to increase the number of centers as soon as possible to achieve expansion. They spend money on marketing and increasing sales to attract as many learners as possible. The parents don’t see the rows of telemarketers calling potential students.

For most Vietnamese, if a school looks good with nice chairs, televisions, and all the latest equipment, it must be good. They don’t necessarily see the poor quality of the teachers behind the scenes.

Additionally, they open additional locations with the majority of their earnings. Therefore, it is uncertain whether they have qualified teachers, the ability to provide services, and the financial management skills to effectively manage for the future.

The Need for Change.

After the epidemic, learning habits shifted globally and in Vietnam, but many Vietnamese English centers do not appear to be adjusting to these changes.

Modern students do not fit the mold of traditional classes held in large, spacious venues.

These conventional approaches are too expensive, and the benefits they provide are not adequate compensation. According to what I have observed, this has caused a significant disparity between the investment and the enrollment of students during the post-pandemic period.

During the coronavirus epidemic, many students discovered the possibility to learn online and stopped attending traditional classes. And it was successful because it cut down on the students’ typically time-constrained commute time.

Final Thoughts.

For students of all ages, online courses have been made available in Vietnam by a number of significant English education providers, including the British Council and others.

Centers can choose how many online and offline units to offer based on the time that classes are offered, but they cannot continue to offer entirely offline courses as they do at the moment. With the combination of teachings, the schools will be able to return to the right side of the ledger book and, ideally, prioritize student instruction over monetary gains.

For English centers, it is now vital to integrate online and offline courses since otherwise, failing schools will keep opening and shutting all the time.

For more editorial content read “Marty Hoares” ” Vietnams ESL Sector, a Series of Disappointments


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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.

Free Alphabet Video for ESL Teachers in Vietnam.

Is Teaching The Alphabet still Relevant?

In my opinion, a big fat yes. Just like a well-constructed house needs “good foundations”, an ESL student needs good linguistic foundations’ for their second language.

In addition to learning to identify and name the letters both in and out of order, students also need to learn the sounds that go with each letter.

Start with the fundamentals. Don’t try to teach each of the 26 letters at once. Simply practice 5–6 letters at a time, giving your students a chance to see, hear, and interact with each letter in different ways.

The ABC’s should be taught through a range of strategies and materials because children learn via all of their senses, even if the books are excellent, don’t just rely on them. Learn the letters by using ABC blocks, coloring sheets, ABC mats, or even play dough or in this case video. Mixing up the lesson will make it more interesting.

The most important piece of advice is to enjoy yourself. Make learning with you fun for your students by turning it into a game. You can read some more material about this in my previous post;

“Is Learning The Alphabet Still Important For ESL Students ?”

And Here Is a Copy Of the Front Page of My English/Vietnamese Alphabet. If you wish a PowerPoint copy sent to you please leave a message in the comments. Thank you.

English Alphabet for Vietnamese.

All of our students strive to sound as natural or as close to a native speaker as they can. The alphabet is a fantastic subject to study and master! They must thoroughly understand and be aware of the letter sounds. A fantastic technique to advance those fundamental abilities is to be able to follow the letters while listening to a native speaker.

One of the reasons I created this alphabetical English/Vietnamese video is because of this. It is currently in MP4 format, but if you’d prefer a PowerPoint version, tell me your email address and I’ll send it to you as soon as I can.

Or, you may wish to view it via YouTube.

YouTube Logo


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

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Travel and Live Safe in Vietnam

This will provide information about traveling safely in Vietnam today.

How to be safe in Vietnam.

Vietnam is a relatively safe country when compared to many others in the world today. It often amuses me when I talk to old friends or relatives who fear that Vietnam is 100% corrupt and similar to living in the “wild west” during the cowboy era.

However, Vietnam is ranked 57th out of 163 nations for safety in the 2019 Global Peace Index, much ahead of the United States, which is ranked 114th.

Currently, violent crime is uncommon in Vietnam. The biggest dangers are being overcharged by a street vendor or taxi driver, getting into an accident, or crossing a busy road and being hit.

Pickpocketing and snatch theft are prevalent forms of petty crime in Vietnam, especially at and around train stations, seaports, and airports. Traveling alone in isolated locations after dark might be dangerous, especially for foreigners.

Yes, there are places you should avoid and places to be wary of. But overall you should not let the worry of anything terrible happening to you, outweigh the amazing experiences you can and will find in Vietnam.

Don’t lock yourself away in your 4 or 5-star hotel when you come to Vietnam as you will miss out on a lot of incredible experiences. Here are several tips and some general advice to make your next stay stress free and safe.

Safety Tips for travelers in Vietnam.

Petty Crime.

1) Theft. Carry your passport, travelers’ checks, and other valuables in a hidden money belt. Tourists are targets for robbers (who might be your fellow travelers). Use a safe, if you have one, and don’t leave anything valuable lying around in your room. Do not leave anything valuable in your safe if a smaller hotel. I have heard stories of missing items from safes in less than scrupulous hotels.

Also, make sure your doors and windows are locked when you leave and at night when you sleep. Keep some small change in a separate pocket so you are not opening your wallet all the time. Vietnam is the land of opportunistic crime.

Snatch and grab is more prevalent than it should be. Mainly because of tourists being lax in security. If taking photos, make use of the camera straps. If you are staying in a good hotel make use of the hotel safe and store your passports etc with the concierge.

2) Snatch and Grab. It’s advisable to avoid being flamboyant on the street; avoid wearing eye-catching jewelry and dazzling watches, attempt to withdraw cash covertly, and pay extra attention in crowds and on public transportation. When it’s most susceptible, such as just before departure, during lunch breaks, and when you arrive at your destination, keep an eye on your pack if it’s on top of the bus. Either cable-lock your bag or tuck it under the bottom bench seat on trains to keep it hidden from view.

It’s advised to avoid accepting food or drink from someone you don’t know and trust because it has been claimed that travelers have been poisoned and subsequently robbed. Keep a tight hold on your bags and avoid dangling costly sunglasses or cameras from your neck. But if you do become a target, it’s better to let go than to take the chance of being dragged into the traffic and getting hurt badly.

3) Women Travelers. In general, it is safe for women to travel alone in Vietnam. The odds of coming into any threatening behavior are really minimal; the majority of Vietnamese will simply be interested as to why you are traveling alone. That being said, it still pays to use common sense care, especially late at night when fewer people are out on the streets.

You should also avoid riding xe-om (motorbike taxis); instead, use a taxi—metered cabs are typically thought to be the safest. There have been a few complaints of cab drivers’ molestation, however, they are uncommon. It is a good idea to have the local “grab” phone numbers downloaded onto your phone when you arrive in Vietnam.

Get your Grab download here

4) LGBTQ and Safety. Although socially conservative in some respects, Vietnamese people are surprisingly accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. You’ll be alright if you refrain from heterosexual conduct and public demonstrations of affection. Same-sex relationships are not prohibited by law in Vietnam.

I used to live in the same street as two gay men and they were accepted unequivocally by all their neighbors. One of the men’s ex-wife’s lived with them in the same house. How that worked, I don’t know, but outside the house, everything was “peachy” You will not get the same degree of “hate crime” that can be seen in some western countries.

Health.

5) Covid. For entry into Vietnam, you no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test result or vaccination certificate. There can be variations in airline criteria. If you get COVID-19 in Vietnam, you must isolate yourself, and if you are a close contact, you must carefully check your health. Public health measures ( and mask use) are in place, however, they vary by province and are subject to sudden change.

Your ability to travel and receive necessary services could be affected by certain actions. Pay attention to what local authorities advise. Keep an eye on your local Embassy’s social media accounts for important information. The situation with covid has improved greatly because of the rigorous enforcement of the Government and while you should still wear your mask it has become much safer.

6) Water. Avoid drinking tap water, as you will get sick. This includes brushing your teeth. Most of the 4 and 5-star hotels will have their own water source, however, no matter where I am I still rely on bottled water.

If you are invited to someone’s house, do not pour boiling water into the sink. Most of the pipes are made of plastic and you will be left extremely embarrassed when boiling water starts flowing across your new friends’ floor.

Traffic.

7 ). Crossing the Street. The traffic in Vietnam takes a lot of getting used to, and there are times when you think you will never make it walking to the other side of the street. Do not think that pedestrian crossings or “walk” signs are to make life for the pedestrian easy.

Motorbikes and cars will not stop for pedestrians and your “walk” sign or pedestrian crossing means nothing to the Vietnamese driver. They will not stop, no matter what you are gesticulating or saying at the top of your lungs. However, they may be laughing.

At first glance, it could seem dangerous to cross the street in Vietnam. Motorbikes and cars don’t stop for pedestrians, but they do adjust and try to avoid hitting you. Here’s the trick: once you start crossing the street, don’t pause and second-guess yourself; maintain a moderate, steady pace. Do keep an eye out for any bike riders who might be using their phone more than watching out for you.

There is safety and comfort in numbers, so if you can’t bring yourself to take that first step on your alone, wait until there are other people prepared to cross and join the group. I’ve been a resident of Vietnam for 15 years, and I’ve never been in an accident. As I have said before, Vietnamese are very kind and you may have someone offer an arm to help you cross the street.

8 ) Driving a Motorcycle. If you’ve made the decision to remain in Vietnam and find employment, you’ll probably choose to buy or rent a motorcycle. Risks come with driving in Vietnam, particularly on congested roadways. The city traffic is crazy, but if you take the time to study the road rules—and they are there—you’re unlikely to get into more than the occasional low-speed collisions. . You can ride a 50cc motorcycle without a license, but it is preferable to take the time to familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws. Electric cycles are becoming more popular, but I personally dislike them as they make no sound you can find yourself in the lap of a pedestrian who wasn’t paying attention.

I don’t need a pickle, all I need is a motorcycle. Racing Bike.

My personal preference for a motorcycle is something around the 150cc mark. The roads are so busy that you will not have the opportunity to go fast. This size also accommodates my weight and gives enough “zip” when you need it. Yamaha verse Honda is a topic that can be debated by the locals, seemingly for hours. And the best way to choose which is for you is to rent until you are ready to buy.

The weather is hot in Vietnam but this is no reason to not dress safely for riding. At the very least, please wear a helmet ( Mandatory by law ) and cover your feet and wear long trousers and a jacket. Most people who come to live in Vietnam who end up owning a motorcycle will be in an accident sooner or later.

Get your Vietnamese driver’s license. International driver’s licenses are not accepted here, whatever you hear. It is not difficult and you can organize an interpreter to help translate. I only had to do the practical, as I had completed my theory in my home country.

Hustles and Scams and Beggars.

9 ) Hustles and Scams. There seem to be fewer hustles and scams around at the moment, and that may have something to do with the government trying to raise the level of foreign tourists coming into the country. But they still exist and these are the most common ones.

Getting short-changed on your bill. This is the most common one to be aware of and the one that is most easily fixed. It doesn’t take much to learn the native currency which is the “dong”. After converting your money to dong you will no doubt become an instant “dong” millionaire. The exchange rate for one US dollar is 23,712 dong. To be an instant “dong” millionaire you only need $45.00 US. To stop being scammed install a money converter ( I use XE) or work put roughly the conversion rates on each purchase. After a while, you know that $1.00 works out to be about 20,000 dong.

Download your XE Money converter.

And get used to the look of each denomination. A 20,000 dong note can, in the dark, look similar to a 500,000 dong note.

Taxis. These have become much less normal than before. After entering a taxi please make sure that they turn on the meter. I have heard many stories about people being charged huge amounts for short trips. And I too was ripped off when I first came to Vietnam, even though the meter was on. The driver said 500,000 when it should have been only 50,000 dong.

Just being aware of the conversion rate will nip these little scams in the bud.

The latest scam I almost got caught up in was going to Thailand, and it was at the Thailand end. Someone took my luggage off the conveyer belt and had surrounded it with their own luggage. I guess they hoped that I would give up looking and then they would walk out of the airport with my stuff. The ground staff was quite helpful but it was by me looking that my luggage was found. Be aware of your luggage and try to get to the baggage terminal as quickly as possible after your plane lands.

With most scams and hustles you can easily avoid being the victim by being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions whenever necessary.

Whether you decide to give money to a beggar is up to you, but there are a lot of scams wrapped up in this. I have seen young babies being passed around from “mother” to ‘mother” to endlessly parade around the foreigner while the “mother” says “baby hungry”.

I have seen beggars dragging themselves down the street only to have a “miracle” happen and they can suddenly walk again with your cash. I am not saying every beggar is a liar, but it is very hard to pick. And if you do wish to donate it is far better to choose a credible organization like Vietnam Red Cross.

Natural Disasters.

10). Although Vietnam is not prone to earthquakes, volcanoes, or wildfires, low-lying areas can be impacted by torrential monsoonal rains and rare typhoons. Although the infrastructure in the cities where ex-pats are likely to reside is sufficient to prevent catastrophic floods, large storms frequently cause temporary road closures, toppled trees, and broken electric lines.

Flooding that occurs in Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City may not be resolved for several days. When picking a spot to live in these places, it is best to take into account sites less prone to flooding. There is something very annoying about having to push your motorcycle the last 100 meters through local floods until you arrive home.

Photography.

11). When taking any photos it is always polite to ask before you start shooting anything. How would you feel if someone pushed a camera in your face and started taking photos without even a “please”

Not every photo should be taken, Although you can take pictures of the majority of things in Vietnam, there are a few things you should never take pictures of.

Anything associated with the military is included in this. Don’t even consider photographing the Vietnamese military since you can get fined heavily or worse. Refrain from taking photos of key locations and military installations, such as border areas, military camps, bridges, airports, navy dockyards, and even train stations. Anyone caught snapping photos near these locations runs the danger of having their camera’s memory card confiscated or receiving a fine.

Normally you will see signs where you can’t take photos, but if there are no signs still be cautious. If it has anything to do with the military, do not take the shot.

Also, do not take any photos from your flight when flying over Vietnam, and do not take any photos of “Ho Chi Minhs” mausoleum. If in doubt, ask.

Undetonated Bombs.

12). If you are traveling in the center of Vietnam and are walking outside be aware there are still a lot of unexploded bombs around. My Son, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, is still surrounded by many unexploded bombs. However, if you keep on the well-laid-out paths you will have no problems.

A number of local farmers, metal scavengers, or children are killed or maimed each year in the once-called “Demilitarized Zone,” where unexploded munitions from previous battles are still a concern.

Because so many landmines and bombs are still present and unexploded, problems continue to arise.

So, no matter where you are, stay on well-traveled paths and avoid touching any shells or partially buried metal objects.

Final Thoughts.

Vietnamese people are generally very law-abiding, and Vietnam has a comparatively low crime rate. Petty crime happens but violent crime is rare. In the large cities, there is some thievery. In some rural areas, there is also some banditry, illegal drug use, and insurgency activity. In general, violent crime does not target foreigners. If they are and the culprits are apprehended, they face serious punishment.

Police and other authorities don’t bother foreigners much unless you have done something wrong or are requesting help.

Southeast Asia is known for having one of the lowest crime rates, and Vietnam is no exception. In Vietnam, drug use and prostitution are both widespread. Ho Chi Minh City has a problem with petty crime that is mostly opportunistic, but in general, crime in Vietnam does not harm tourists or foreigners. Criminals who involve or target foreigners face harsh penalties and normally do not bother them.

Relax and enjoy your stay and by using the above advice you will make sure your stay is event free with only the good times remembered.

You may wish to also look at “Is Vietnam Safe to Travel

And also “Etiquette in Vietnam


Any or all links on this site may be 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.

 

Holidays in Halong Bay

When you are in Vietnam, make sure you visit one of the 7 wonders of the world. Halong Bay is captivating and this will help you decide what to do.

Holiday in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

You have time off from your busy schedule. Whether a teacher on holiday or a tourist traveling around Vietnam, you can not miss Halong Bay. This is a “bucket list” must-do travel experience. Mind-blowing scenery awaits you when you visit Halong Bay.

Being recognized as one of the top 7 natural wonders of the world, Halong Bay is a UNESCO natural world heritage site situated in Vietnam. It is famous for its clear water and limestone islands. The bay also has caves that are said to be the most beautiful in the world, some of which you can swim inside.

The bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, which separates Vietnam from China. The bay has about 1000 limestone islands and some of them have been turned into resorts and hotels. Visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, biking, and hiking on these islands.

The bay’s name comes from the vernacular “hào long” which means “where there are caves”. Halong Bay has about 2000 limestone karsts and islands, many of which are still uninhabited today. These 1,900 large and small limestone islands cover an area of 1,553 square kilometers and they have many vivid shapes that make them a photographers dream.

Then

Halong Bay Formation.

The seascape, which has towering limestone formations and emerald lakes, dates back more than 500 million years. Contrary to popular belief, the bay was not formed by volcanic activity but rather by plate movement or tectonic action.

The present-day Ha Long Bay is the outcome of long-term geological evolution that was impacted by numerous variables. Halong Bay has undergone extraordinary historical development in addition to 500 million years of geological evolution.

Tens of thousands of years ago, according to historical research surveys, prehistoric humans lived in this region. And in more recent history Vietnamese sailors used it as a shelter from storms in the Gulf of Tonkin in the 17th century.

And Now.

The development of Ha Long tourism is further aided by the sophisticated transportation infrastructure. Ha Long has experienced exceptionally rapid economic expansion throughout time. A high level is invested synchronously in the infrastructure and facility system. As a result, when you visit Ha Long, it will undoubtedly satisfy all of your needs in terms of recreation, shopping, dining, etc.

The first-class provincial city of Quang Ninh Province and well-known as a tourism haven in the Northern area is Ha Long, which is around 180 kilometers from Hanoi. Halong Vietnam used to draw millions of domestic and foreign tourists each year because of its advantageous position (Next to Halong Bay). Covid made a dent in those numbers and improved them by reducing the number of tourists. However, in my opinion, this is going to change shortly, so you should act early to benefit from excellent prices and fewer tourists.

Times to Visit.

Ha Long’s climate varies from month to month, and each season has its own unique characteristics. You should carefully examine the weather forecast before setting off on your journey because of this. You can choose from the following times to travel to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam:

From April to June: This is the best time for you to take a Ha Long tour to escape the stress of everyday life. Right now, it’s nice and mainly sunny outside. As a result, it is perfect for sightseeing or spending time in the sun at some gorgeous beaches with your family and friends.

The busiest time of year is from June to August when plenty of families bring their kids to this city for the summer. As a result, both the demand for travel and the cost of accommodations and services rise. So, if you want to travel cheaply, you need to establish a particular plan in advance.

From late November to Tet Holiday (around February): This is when Ha Long Bay in Vietnam often receives a significant influx of foreign visitors. It is comparatively less congested than during the peak season, giving you more personal space to enjoy Ha Long tourism to its fullest.

On and Off the Path.

There is a whole range of different things you can do and this along with some “booking.com” information will help you plan that dream holiday. You can add things that take you off the path and show you a bit more of how the locals live and also add the “must-see” destinations that are normally mainstream.

Stay on a Junk.

You might not be aware of the wide range of choices while booking a hotel in Halong Bay.

Of course, you can stay at a conventional hotel, but if you’d prefer something different, you can also spend the night on a boat.

There are a lot of boats that double as hotels, and you can pick from big cruise ships to little, old-fashioned junks. It has been about 20 years since I last stayed on a “Junk” while sailing around Halong bay. And when I say Junk, I mean a palatial boat with my room totally laid out with Jade walling and all the modern conveniences you would expect in a 5-star hotel. And this was 20 years ago.

So if you want a full-on one-of-a-kind hotel experience in Halong Bay staring at the stars from the boat’s deck while dozing off to the sounds of the waves, This is it.

Lan Ha Bay

Due to the popularity of Halong Bay as a tourist attraction in Vietnam, many of the islands get congested during the summer months.

In light of this, you might wish to visit Lan Ha Bay if you want to explore a more sedate area of the surrounding islands.

There are many activities available on the island, such as swimming, rock climbing, and sea kayaking. And the island alone is well noted for its white sandy beaches.

If you want to witness a piece of history, don’t miss this because it is one of Vietnam’s oldest floating residential neighborhoods.

Ban Sen Island.

The place to go if you’re seeking adventure is Ban Sen Island.

This island in Halong Bay is one of the less popular ones and is covered in dense vegetation.

Take a ferry from Cai Rong to Quan Lan to get here, and then start your hike from there.

There are several guides in the area who can show you the frequently unmarked paths and regale you with tales of the island’s flora and fauna.

Visit Hospital Cave.

If you like recent history you may wish to visit hospital Cave, it served as a covert medical facility during the Vietnam War as it was hidden from view and bombing.

It was constructed between 1963 and 1965 and utilized by leaders of the Viet Cong as well. It is around 10 kilometers from Cat Ba Town and was still in use in 1975.

A tour guide will take you around the 17 rooms spread across three stories, and you can even visit the operation area in addition to the cinema and swimming pool.

Rent a Sea Plane.

Consider booking a seaplane tour if you want to splurge out and explore Halong Bay from above.

There is no better way to view the karst formations that are famous in this region of Vietnam than from the air.

The seaplane rides in Halong Bay will lift you 300 meters above the water and allow you to fly over a number of noteworthy locations, including Dau Go Cave, Tuan Chau Island, and many others.

Kayaking at Monkey island.

If you want to take a boat tour in Halong Bay, Monkey Island, also known as Cat Dua in Vietnamese, is a terrific location.

A lovely private beach is available here, where you can spend your time tanning on the white sand or swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters. This is a great place to relax or do something more adventurous.

If you’re feeling brave, you can also go sea kayaking here or trek the entire length of the island because there are so many beautiful trails that take you through the thick vegetation.

And so much more.

Halong Bay is a must-stop area when you visit Vietnam or if you are working here and have never visited. There is something for everyone and more for you to do than I can write about. Here are just some of the other things you can do as well.

  • Explore Me Cung Cave
  • Travel to Monkey Island
  • Travel to the shrine at Virgin Cave
  • Hike around Cat Ba National Park
  • Check out Fighting Cocks Island
  • Go night squid fishing
  • Visit Lan Ha Bay
  • Shop at Cat Ba Island Market
  • Dine on a seafood barbecue
  • Travel to Dau Be Island
  • Tour Cannon Fort
  • Go cliff walking at Cat Co 3
  • Hike on Ban Sen Island
  • Sleep on a boat
  • Shop at Bai Chay Market
  • Visit Hospital Cave
  • Grab a drink at the bia hoi stalls
  • Take a sea plane
  • Go kayaking around the karst formations

Final Thoughts.

I have lived and traveled extensively throughout Vietnam over the last 15 years. Ans Halong bay is one of my favorite places in Vietnam for its magnificent otherworldly scenery. It is a photographers delight and you will be amazed at the opportunities you will get.

After traveling extensively around Vietnam, booking.com has never caused any problems for me and I have used it for all my travel arrangements.


Any or all links on this site may be 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.

Vietnam Visa and Travel Information

this is about getting Visas for Vietnam. It covers tourists but is mainly for English teachers.

Vietnam Visas for ESL and EFL Teachers.

So why is now the opportune time to look at your visa and resident details? Well for one it is the start of a new semester and doing it now before the schools are running at full steam, makes sense. The latest updates seem to be around trying to woo foreign tourists back into Vietnam.

March 15th Updates.

The Vietnam Government on Tuesday (March 15, 2022) agreed to resume its unilateral visa exemption policy for citizens from 13 countries as Vietnam seeks to reopen inbound tourism after nearly two years of closure.

Citizens from Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. will be allowed to visit Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa regardless of passport type and entry purpose.

The Vietnam Government also announced to resume other pre-pandemic immigration procedures for foreigners and overseas Vietnamese.

Contact Phone Numbers.

Before I start flooding you with information about visas, I will provide a list of contact details and phone numbers that will help you get your questions answered.

1. Address:

+ In Hanoi: No. 44 – 46 Trần Phú street, Ba Đình ward, Hanoi, Vietnam. Phone: (+84) 4 38257941.

Related procedures: Renew visa, Extend visa, issue Temporary Resident Card for foreign citizens staying Vietnam.

+ In Ho Chi Minh: 254 Nguyễn Trãi street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. Phone: (+84) 8 9201701

Related procedures: Renew visa, Extend visa, issue Temporary Resident Card for foreign citizens staying in Southern Of Vietnam and provinces of Mekong Delta.

+ In Danang: No. 7 Trần Quý Cáp street, Đà Nẵng city, Quảng Nam province, Vietnam. Phone: (84) 07511.823383

Related procedures: Renew visa, Extend visa, issue Temporary Resident Card for foreign citizens staying in Center and Central Highlands of Vietnam.

2. Phone Number:

+ Number (+84) 4 8264026: ask for entry, exit and residence of foreigners in Vietnam; repatriation of Vietnam citizens residing abroad.

+ Number (+84) 4 8260922: ask for the exit and entry of citizens of Vietnam.

+ Number (+84) 4 9345609: ask for the sanctioning of administrative violations in the field of Immigration.

+ Number (+84) 4 8257941: ask for the exit and entry procedure at the border and other related issues in fields of Immigration.

Types of Visa.

Popular types of Vietnam visas: In total there are 20 different types of visas, with the below being the most popular.

  • Tourist visa (DL)
  • Business visa (DN)
  • Student/internship visa (DH)
  • Working visa (LĐ)

A1 is granted for official members who are invited guests of Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam or Congress, President, Government and equal guest of Minister, Deputy, President or vice president’s people committee of province or centrally run cities combination with those relatives or assistants coming with them.

A2 is granted for those who are members or representations of foreign governments and those relatives or assistant entering with them.

A3 is used for those who enter into Vietnam to work with foreign commissions or are invited by foreign commissions.

B1 is used for those who enter into Vietnam to work with the People’s Supreme inspectorate, the Supreme people’s court, ministries, and equal ministries, government agencies, the people’s committee of a province, central cities, and central agencies of people’s organizations, union or public.

B2 is granted for those who enter Vietnam to process investment projects accepted by Vietnam-authorized organizations.

B3 is granted for foreigners who co-operate with Vietnam enterprises

B4 is used for those who are staff working in foreign authorized offices, branches of culture-economic organizations or other fields, and non-government foreign organizations whose branches are located in Vietnam.

C1 is granted to those who enter into Vietnam for tourist purposes.

C2 is granted for those who want to enter into Vietnam with other purposes that are different from the above purpose.

D is used for those who haven’t been sponsored by Vietnam commissions, organizations, or other individuals.

Note: D visa category which is not more than 15 days validity. The Other visas are more than 30 days validity.

Visa Stamping Fee.

The fee you have to pay on arrival is called the “Visa Stamping Fee” and must be paid in cash at the “Landing Visa Counter” at the airport you arrive.

25 USD/person for less than 90 days single entry

50 USD/person from 30 days to less than 90 days multiple entries visa

95 USD/person from 90 days to less than 180 days multiple entries visa

135 USD/person for 1-year multiple entries visa

Are You Confused Yet?

If you wish to come to Vietnam to teach, this is the best advice I can give you.

There are 2 main options if you want to be a teacher or conduct business in Vietnam. These include.

Arriving on a Tourist Visa. ( Or an E-Visa on arrival)

Arriving on a Business Visa. (Sponsorship letter needed for business visa)

Look here at Vietnam-e-visa dot org to find out more information.

You can enter Vietnam on a tourist or business Visa, which a lot of future ESL teachers do. You can organize this via a Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your home country or you can apply online. Here is a sample of each ( Do not use these as they are samples only)

A lot of teachers then organize jobs (if not done before) and will negotiate with the schools to do the work permit and other documentation needed or arrange for a private business to do it for them. Please be careful as there are some less than scrupulous businesses around.

It is a good idea to join a Facebook group like Vietnam Visa advice who will guide you in the right direction. If you join these forums you will get advice to the latest “visa runs” or runs to the border to get new visas.


More Paperwork.

Vietnam is a country that loves its paperwork and there is a lot more for you to do before you can walk inside the classroom. For a start, you will need work permits and doctors certificates along with a police record check from your home country.

Now we are opening up again after covid, there will be a strong need for ESL/EFL Teachers. To stay ahead of the pack and get recruited first I would make sure I have all my documents available.

Look at my past post about what extra paperwork to bring to Vietnam here at “How to teach English in Vietnam


Visa and covid rules.

All destinations in Vietnam are open and self-isolation is not necessary. The main ideas of the new rules are entry requires a visa and travel insurance. The minimum level of insurance is $10,000 of medical insurance that covers covid-19 treatment.

The simple entry standards also include that the covid-19 app (available on Apple or Google Play), is required if visiting any Vietnamese establishments.

Visitors are asked to self-monitor for 10 days following admission and should contact the closest medical facility if they see any COVID-19 symptoms.

Sanitation, social isolation, and surgical masks are always necessary. Children under two are permitted outside with an adult. And teachers are advised to wear masks in the classroom.


Final Thoughts.

This is a very brief overview of a forever-changing and challenging set of rules to comply with. While it is not overly complicated,( unless you have a temporary Resident card), it can become extremely annoying having to forever (or feels like it) deal with visas.

Stephen.

Any or all links on this site may be 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.

How to be an ESL Teacher.

This will give you some things to think about if you want to become an ESL teacher.

So You Want To Be an ESL Teacher.

This is not the sort of career that you sit down when you are 12 o 13 and think, wow, I want to be an ESL teacher. But for whatever reason you have chosen to be an ESL teacher, this will show you how it can be done.

There are a few different ways you can become an ESL teacher as not all schools and not all countries demand that you have a University degree. And even those that require a degree can be pretty flexible in their approach to what degree is relevant. I have seen people with degrees in non-related topics that are accepted for a teaching job.

However, I will give you what is considered by most countries as needed for this position. And I will also show some alternatives to the traditional approach.

What is The Job About?

Being an ESL or EFL teacher can be an immensely satisfying job, but don’t expect the salary to be extraordinary. ( I will talk more about salaries soon.) ESL or English as a Second Language or EFL, or English as a Foreign Language are the acronyms you will become most used to seeing.

Teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) assist non-native English speakers in learning to speak, read, understand, and write the language. They may work at language academies, public or private schools, or out of their homes or the homes of their students, giving private lessons.

ESL Teachers Responsibilities.

The objective of an ESL instructor is to instruct and guide pupils who are learning English as a second language. ESL instructors frequently employ a real-world setting to help their students better understand the language’s intricacies. When interacting with pupils from other cultures.

ESL teachers need to be flexible, inventive, and attentive to the expected cultural variations. Teachers of English as a second language frequently serve as mentors, counselors, and liaisons for families and students who are just settling into a new location.

All grade levels (K–12) of students may be served by ESL teachers in the public school system. They frequently remove ESL students from the regular classroom and place them in a separate space where they can work with them in small groups or one-on-one to develop their English abilities. These small groups may include English language learners of various ages and grade levels who all require assistance with their language skills, depending on the size of the school.

This does not always happen. I have been in classes with 50 students that learn on a regular basis with limited resources. If nothing else, ESL teachers need to be flexible and able to think on their feet. It can be one of the most mentally challenging jobs out there. But when you have had a great day, you will feel like a “rock n roll” star.

But do not think all students who wish to learn English as a second language are K-12 or learn only through a private schooling system. As different as the student and their needs are, there are different ways to teach the student for their skill levels and age.

Who Will You Be Teaching?

One, amongst many, things I enjoy about teaching ESL is that after a while you can have a better choice of who you wish to teach. Depending on which schooling system and country you teach in will determine who you teach.

Let’s look at a few alternatives. First, if you are teaching in a public school system for children you can expect to be teaching K-12 and everything that comes with it. The good and the not-so-good, depending on your outlook. Teaching younger children can be extremely rewarding but should be mixed up with games and a lesson plan that takes into account a reduced attention span for learning. Read more about “How to teach ESL to Kids

If you are teaching older children or teenagers in the public school system your approach will be different again. And you will also have a different curriculum if you are teaching in an academy. But teenagers need to be taught differently from children and adults. You can read more here. “How to Teach ESL To Teenagers”

And, age group-wise, adults will normally be taught in a private school or a private lesson situation. Some companies will also arrange for lessons to be conducted in-house or at a place that is suitable for everyone. I have even rented out rooms in coffee shops that can be used as a temporary classroom. You can read more about teaching adults here at “How to teach ESL to Adults.”

While you can change throughout your career as an ESL teacher, it is a lot better if you choose the age groups that you wish to teach first. But try a few lessons with each age group first. Because what you believe may happen in the classroom is probably different from what you will experience. Remember, a good teacher is a happy teacher.

What Qualifications Do You Need?

The 1990s and thereabouts have gone and so has the more laid-back approach to teaching ESL and EFL. In the days when you could jump off a plane in a foreign country, like Thailand or Vietnam, and start teaching English the following week have long gone.

These days most countries have a more stringent approach. But there are still some places that are open to a less rigorous educational background. Some of the Asian destinations are prime examples.

Ideally, you will have a 4-year bachelor’s degree that is teaching or linguistic focused. When you start applying for positions make sure you have transcripted copies of your degree ( and your other paperwork) as you do not wish to hand over any originals.

On top of your degree, you will need an English Teacher license. You will find most Universities are more than willing to provide a course that will give you an English teacher’s License. At the end of the day, employers will not differentiate between a university or private course.

Udemy, as per my side banner, provides TEFL teacher training courses. You can also find a little more information here in my post “ESL Teacher Training”

The advice I would give here is to look online at the country you have chosen to teach in and see what teacher training is offered. Only because most teacher training schools will have contacts with schools within their own country that may make getting a job easier and quicker

What can I make?

Most information as soon as it is posted is out of date. And when it comes to salaries it is, in my opinion, doubly so. However, I have used some information provided by The International TEFL academy to give you a quick rule of thumb.

I have been teaching in Vietnam now for 15 years and have 2 English schools. I have worked in private companies and public schools and have taught all levels of students.


Source; International TEFL Academy.

The amount that is shown here is an indication only of what you can make. If you are ambitious and have a passion for teaching your business will be exponentially better than the figures shown. Likewise, if you hate teaching and do minimum work your salary may be less. You can find more salary information here about “ESL salaries

Final Thoughts.

Teaching English overseas is a truly wonderful way to see the world and find out what people are like in their own country. The job itself is both challenging and rewarding. Without trying to sound cliched, you will be pulling your hair out one day and cursing your choice of jobs. The next day when things click you will feel like that rock star I talked about before.

Yes, you can make a great living if you are prepared to adjust to a different lifestyle and work while others are partying. And you will meet some great people. Teaching EFL in another country may mean that your new friends come and go. A lot of teachers use teaching EFL as a passport to travel the world, so while you meet a lot of new people, old friends become scarcer and scarcer.

In my opinion, the lifestyle of an ESL teacher is extremely rewarding and the positive input that you give to your students’ lives is second to none.

Stephen.


Any or all links on this site may be 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.

Are ESL Teachers in Demand in Vietnam?

There is a strong demand for Native and Non Native English teachers in Vietnam. The new school semester is about to begin.

Taking my students to the zoo in Ho Chi Minh City

The Effects of Covid on ESL.

As livelihoods were snatched by the Covid-19 pandemic, many foreign teachers ran online classes at cheap rates to survive, while others left Vietnam.

After living in Vietnam for 15 years and being married, my options were somewhat limited. I had been teaching in both public schools and had my own students. Covid kicked me in the proverbial teeth. Schools and language centers were shut down and I, like many, had to teach online to survive.

Others, left for their home countries ( Some, never to return) or battened down waiting for the lockdown to cease. Some gave up the teaching profession as they refused to be vaccinated.

ESL Teaching Pre-Covid.

In a country that was among the world’s nine countries that pay the highest salaries to ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers, who could earn up to $2,000 and more per month, many ex-pat teachers were then in a distressing situation.I had one friend who ran out of money and ended up walking the streets for a week. (He had no computer so could not teach on-line.)

As English is compulsory from sixth grade across Vietnam and in large cities like Hanoi and HCMC, many primary schools opt for English programs for students and demand high proficiency. And because of these Government directives, the ESL industry had thrived in Vietnam in recent years, with jobs offering high salaries available all year round.

But the year-long pandemic and prolonged lockdown changed the table. Over the last few months, the tables have changed again.

ESL Teachers in Demand.

Vietnam has kicked off the constraints of Covid and the government is back pushing English in public schools again. Tourism and the rumored relocation of some major businesses from China ( Apple, Samsung, and LG) to Vietnam are behind this.

It implies that if locals speak English, the country will be able to draw in more tourists, businesses from other countries, jobs for the locals, and competitive economic growth

Іf уоu vіѕіt аnу eхраt Fасеbооk grоuрѕ оr ѕіmрlу Gооglіng tеасhіng Еnglіѕh іn Vіеtnаm, іt wіll ѕurеlу оvеrwhеlm уоu wіth the plethora of јоb оffеrѕ. Whеthеr уоu dесіdе tо lіvе іn Наnоі оr Но Сhі Міnh Сіtу (Ѕаіgоn), оr еvеn іn ѕmаllеr сіtіеѕ lіkе Dа Nаng, оr Nhа Тrаng, уоu саn gеt уоurѕеlf а јоb еаѕіlу.

The Good, The Bad and…

Тhеrе аrе lоаdѕ оf рrіvаtе Еnglіѕh сеntrеѕ аnd рublіс ѕсhооlѕ thаt аrе dеѕреrаtе tо gеt thеіr hаndѕ оn а fоrеіgn tеасhеr.

Ноwеvеr, thеrе аrе а fеw uglу truthѕ уоu nееd tо knоw аnd рrераrе уоurѕеlf.

Most schools play by the book and get people with the right qualifications. That is everything from police and health clearance forms up to a University degree, however, there are a few that won’t care so much about your qualifications but more about your accent and the color of your skin. Or to clarify that, the whiteness of your skin.

The Ugly.

Racism is quite the norm when it comes to ESL teachers and it always makes me sad when I see a perfectly qualified black African teacher placed 2nd over an unqualified white backpacker.

Nоn-nаtіvе English speakers who are not native speakers will face a bigger challenge in finding the job they are looking for, but it is still possible. If you are well qualified, you should look into larger companies and international schools because they are more professional and interested in your qualifications than the color of your skin.

ESL Teacher Pay in Vietnam.

It is generally advertised that the pay rates for ESL teachers in Vietnam can range anywhere between $1200 – $ 1800 U.S. or $2,000 – $2,400.U.S. depending on whether you have just started or whether you are qualified with a few years of experience. And what levels have you taught before etc.

After working and having my own school in Vietnam for the last 15 years it still appears that those advertising they still haven’t worked out an easy way to show pay rates for foreigners.

An hourly rate works best for those schools that are more upfront about their pay scales. Then when the teachers weekly hourly schedule is worked out then you know exactly what you are earning.

Normal Pay Rate.

The normal pay rate is between $18.00 to $30.00.per hour with each class running for about 1.5 hours.

There are 2 types of teaching for ESL, and that is the public system or Government schools that generally pay less and are daytime hours, Monday to Friday. And then the private schools or academies that run in the evenings and the weekends.

Obviously depending on where you are in Vietnam will have an effect on the pay scales.

You will find out some more about the education system in Vietnam here at……….

The Vietnam Education System and ESL | Stephen (vietnamesl.com)

Native and Non-Native Speakers.

Native English speakers are deemed to be those who have passports from the U.S.A, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand with South Africa coming somewhere in between the Philippines and the U.S.A. But generally, any Europeans will be seen as Non-Native speakers. And similar to the Filipinos they will be paid at a lesser rate.

For example, if a “native speaker” was being paid at 450,000 dong per hour the non-native speaker would be paid around the 370,000dong rate. n.b. All pay rates should be quoted in Vietnam dong ( Even though it is not) by government decree.

My Daughter-in-law back to school in 2022

School Holidays

Vietnamese students often attend school for only half of the six-day school week, which starts on Monday and ends on Saturday. However my daughter-in-law attends an International school and only goes 5 days a week, but full time. And she has just finished her close on 3 month holiday. Generally, private or international schools have a five-week summer break in July and August.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the academic year normally lasts from September to May. While a typical school day only lasts for half a day, the school week starts on Monday and finishes on Saturday. The 15th of June marks the end of the academic year. The summer break lasts from June 16 to August 7.

Desperate Recruiting Measures.

After 3 months at home, the students and especially the parents are ready for public schools to start again. And even though there has been “Summer-school” everyone is ready to start a full-time curriculum again. And there is now a pent-up demand for teachers for the next semester.

So from now until the schools start again, there will be a big drive for teachers for public schools. This is often filled not only by the schools but also recruitment agencies who are desperate to get people on board. And when people are desperate, corners will be cut. The enforcement of University degrees and even English teaching licenses may well take a back seat until vacancies are filled.

Where to Find a Job.

Vietnam loves Facebook, and so do the recruiters. There are a large number of Facebook groups you can join or you can work via “Teacher Placements” to find a position for you. Whichever you feel most comfortable with.

Here is a small list of Facebook groups for jobs.

Foreign English Teachers Vietnam.

Below are some links that can help with your teaching.

How to teach ESL to Kids.

How to teach ESL to Teenagers

How to teach ESL to Adults.


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