You Wanna Teach ESL in Vietnam?
As Vietnam continues to open up, with booming tourism and manufacturing sectors and with increasing numbers of students looking to complete their studies abroad, the demand for teachers of English as a Second Language keeps growing. Schools and language centres here hire foreign teachers to supplement the English education their students are already receiving by focussing on fluency and pronunciation, and the number of opportunities available here is staggering. Teaching ESL in Vietnam can be a really rewarding experience, too. Students tend to be intelligent and attentive, the wages are good and the cost of living is still low, and the country itself is absolutely gorgeous. If you decide to come here to teach, the type of job you get when you arrive will play a big part in determining how good an experience you have. This article’s all about giving you a sort of general overview of the main types of ESL job available here so that you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Language centres are where local parents send their children to supplement the education they’re already receiving at school. You’ll see them all over the major cities and they can be great places to get started since they’re ubiquitous and open all year round, unlike public and international schools which close for Summer. Actually, even if you decide to teach at a public school you’ll almost certainly still be employed by one of these centres since many of the larger ones supply public schools with ESL teachers as well as conduct classes of their own. If you’d like to find out more about the process of getting a job here you can check out our guide on how to find an ESL job in Vietnam. It goes into a fair bit of detail, listing the best practices as well as a few common pitfalls.
Pros and Cons
Teaching at a public school can be great because it gives you the opportunity to really participate in the local culture. You’ll be working closely with Vietnamese teachers and will likely be invited to participate in school ceremonies on occasions like New Year and International Women’s Day, which are taken quite seriously here and are always great fun. This type of work is more formal than language centre work, though, with longer hours and fewer days off. And class sizes tend to be very large, usually around 40 students. At the same time, the increased number of hours means you’ll be making more money!
Pros and Cons
Many teachers here supplement their income by organising private lessons. Some do this by themselves while others, perhaps the majority, work with local colleagues they met, say, at their day jobs. The advantage to working with a local is that he or she can can help you liase with your students’ parents to get things like a location (usually a small rented classroom), a set of materials and a schedule organised and agreed upon. Naturally, this is less necessary if your students are older and already speak some English, and teachers in this situation tend to run their lessons out of coffee shops or their apartments.
Pros and Cons
This type of English teaching work has been around for a while, but really exploded when a lot of ESL teachers found themselves out of work during the lockdown that happened in response to 2020’s Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak. All you need is a laptop, a mic and a stable internet connection and you can be teaching students from all around the world (but mainly China) in no time. This type of work is popular among the digital nomad types who value being able to move around at their leisure.
Pros and Cons
Other Types of Teaching Work
So, these are the main types of English teaching work you can find here in Vietnam but there are others which, for one reason or another, are a little less popular.
Some international schools hire ESL teachers to help their students improve their fluency and pronunciation, and these kind of jobs are similar to high school work except the level of the students tends to be higher and the facilities tend to be better. Most international schools will also hire foreign teachers to teach subjects like English and Maths but most of the time they’re looking for professional teachers, requiring qualifications identical to those required by schools back in the West.
ESL teaching jobs in Vietnam are less common at universities than at schools and language centres but they do exist. Like international schools, universities employ a mix of qualified lecturers and supplementary ESL teachers.
The Summer break here in Vietnam is quite long and many parents, perhaps the majority, keep their children in education during this time. Some go for private tutors, others opt for Summer schools which are essentially intensive courses at language centres. This can be a good option for school teachers who’d like to make some extra cash over the Summer break.
Get on over Here
You now know the different places that you are likely to find work and you can se which of these is most likely to suit you and your situation. This now means you are probably ready to make the leap and get over here.
Finding flights and getting a tourist visa are easy enough to do. However, do the the current COVID restrictions, you may find that you need to quarantine for 2 weeks. This is changing quite often and is something you will need to look into.
You can easily switch your visa to a work permit and the school you work for will help you to do that. Then, you will be working legally and should find that you can earn enough to recoup the costs of getting over here.
Come on over.