Back in 2013, Jonathan and I were broke backpackers. We chose to leave our 8-5 jobs in exchange for a more fulfilling lifestyle. It’s a roller coaster ride. It was fun and exciting, but we are not millionaires-- it came to the point that we didn’t have much money to sustain that kind of lifestyle. We started assessing ourselves and our skills by asking ourselves: ‘What are we good at?’ ‘What else can we do aside from staring at our computers from 8-5 and serving coffee to our bosses?’ ‘Can we learn another skill while we’re on the road?’ ‘Can we earn from it?’
We thought about it day and night until we came to a rundown of our strengths. Jonathan is British and I am a Filipino, he is a native English speaker, and it is my second language. That’s how we decided to take a teaching job in Vietnam where we were based that time. I enjoyed it, but of course, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. I felt bad at one point because Jon is getting paid more for the same thing that we are doing! Can’t help it because he is considered as a native English speaker, unlike us Filipinos.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is you can land on the same job and teach English too-- not necessarily with that English accent and get the same rate they give to westerners. Also, I’m here to give you tips on how you can find teaching jobs in Vietnam :)
1) TAKE THE NECESSARY TEACHING CERTIFICATIONS
I know teaching competition in Vietnam is quite tough now compared way back 2013 when we were there! But hey, if you decide to teach, you need to invest in your TEFL certification. With this TEFL course, you can earn up to 25 USD per hour and travel the world at the very same time. That’s like getting the best of both worlds! With your TEFL, you can teach in in China, Korea, Argentina, South America and probably anywhere in the world as long as you have a stable internet connection. In fact, Jon and I taught English in Peru :)
For me, one of the best companies to get your TEFL Certification is myTEFL-- trust me, been there, done that, and I nailed my teaching job! They have an excellent approach to make the students know everything about the English language using the easiest and most interesting way possible. All you need to have is a strong command of English, the money for the fee, and the eagerness and dedication to finish 100-120 hours of training to satisfy most employers. I partnered with myTEFL, and we usually give HUGE discounts so watch out for the next one. Here is a complete guide to getting that TEFL Certification if you want to learn more :)
2) JOIN DIFFERENT FACEBOOK GROUPS
Do not underestimate the power of social media-- by simply joining a Facebook Group, the possibility of landing on your dream teaching job in Vietnam is very high. It’s crazy, it could connect you to almost everyone in the world and who knows? One of them could be your potential employer! :) Another advantage of joining a Facebook Group is you can also get tips from people who have done it and are doing it :) I suggest you join the following Facebook Groups:
3) BY WORD OF MOUTH
Not all chismis are bad kind of chismis-- you might hear people say that your neighbor’s third cousin teaches English abroad. Don’t be shy-- ask for his/her name or his/her Facebook account, introduce yourself and ask questions. Be curious. They can give you tips, and they might even refer you to their employer :)
By volunteering, you’ll be able to travel and get free food, accommodation (depending on the agreement), and the required teaching experience. The best part is you’ll be able to expand your connection and help a lot of people. It’s like a ripple effect, let’s say you teach ten people and these ten people teach another ten people each and the number just grows and grows. I like thinking of this concept everytime I do things whether good or bad. Volunteering is a win-win situation no matter how much you look at it. Come on; it’s good for the heart :) You might want to check out these websites to find the perfect volunteer program or you:
Just check below but I don't recommend paying for FEES to Volunteer unless the money you're paying is for your food and accommodations.
5) SIGN UP ON RECRUITMENT WEBSITES
This is probably the best and easiest way to prepare your CV and make sure it stands out. Also, fill out the necessary details in the application portal concisely. When they ask you for a cover letter or ask you questions which require a narration, take advantage of it and show your skills! You may use Grammarly to check that your grammar is correct. We’re just humans who make mistakes no matter how good we think we are :p These are the top recruitment website that you might want to check. There’s a lot of websites so don’t limit yourself to these:
Before checking the websites below, NEVER EVER PAY for Recruitment Fees! The employer should cover it for you.
6) FIND A LIST OF ENGLISH SCHOOLS, KINDERGARTENS, AND UNIVERSITIES AND APPLY DIRECTLY
There are at least 200 English schools and a great number of kindergartens which require qualified English teachers in Ho Chi Minh alone. I suggest you make a list of schools which doesn’t require Native English Speakers, submit your CV, and set up an interview. It’s always better to do this personally :) Once you secure a teaching job, build connections with your colleagues and they can surely help you finding part-time employers or another school if you want to move :)
7) ASK ME HOW!
Like what I said, I’ve been there, done that, and I nailed my teaching experience not only in Vietnam but Peru as well. If you have any more questions, feel free to avail my Mentoring/Coaching Services. With that, I can guide you through everything you need to know-- their culture, the documentation needed, visa requirements, the best and cheapest way to eat, the best place to teach based on your personality and a whole lot more :)
Happy teaching everyone! Hope you land on your dream destination with your myTEFL certificate real soon!! :)
1. What’s the difference between IELTS and TOEFL?
You need to know that IELTS and TOEFL are NOT teaching certifications!
TOEFL is an English test for non-native English speakers (Filipinos included) which offers only Academic English. This is commonly used as an exam at Universities. On the other hand, the IELTS offers an academic option and a general test, the latter being the preferred test for immigration purposes to the UK and Canada. Here is an overview of their differences:
2. What should I take? TOEFL or IELTS?
If you plan to go to Canada, Australia or UK then IELTS but USA is TOEFL. Again, passing these exams will not help you to become English teachers These are EXAMS only to test your English knowledge.
3. What’s the difference between TEFL, TESL, TRINITY TESOL and CELTA?
CELTA- It is awarded by Cambridge ESOL and could take 4-5 weeks if you’re doing it full time and up to several months if part-time. It is very expensive and could cost up to 3,500 USD. To be able to take this, you must be over 18 and have an adequate level of English proficiency which is usually determined by an exam and a phone interview. This is the best teaching certification to take.
TESOL/TEFL/TESL- Some are accredited by proper institutions, and some are not. This usually takes 100+ hours, but it is highly recommended that you get at least 120 hours. The price is lower compared to the CELTA. The prerequisite depends completely on the school issuing the TESOL certificate.
4. What should I take? TESOL/TEFL/TESL or CELTA?
If you want to teach English as a profession and not something just to get you by, then go with the CELTA Certificate especially if money isn’t a problem for you. This is recognized by the majority of potential employers so finding a job could be easier if you have this kind of certification. Otherwise, just get a TESOL/TEFL/TESL. It is cheaper and easier than CELTA. Some companies like myTEFL offer even better quality instruction and specific teaching methodology.
5. What visa do I need to enter in Vietnam if I decide to take a teaching job?
I highly suggest you enter the country on a Business Visa which you can get from reliable travel agency by yourself (even without the sponsor) or from the language center who will recruit you. Once you arrive in the country, they can transfer your documents to a work visa after you formally sign the contract.
6. Who pays for the visa expenses?
Work permit and visa costs are usually shouldered by the company.
7. Can I teach English even if I don’t have a college degree?
It is preferred but not required. If you don’t have a degree, you can only teach in Kindergarten, Language Centers, and other private classes.
8. Where is the best place to teach in Vietnam?
It depends on your personality. If you like the city, then I suggest you teach in Ho Chi Minh (but competition is tough because a lot of westerners come here to teach). If you want a more laid back life and the countryside, the provinces near Hanoi like Ha Giang, Sapa, Cao Bang, Da Nang, etc. could be a good option.
9. How much is the pay?
I started with $17 per class which takes 90 minutes until I built up my hours and accepted $25 per hour.
10. How do you get paid?
It depends on your agreement with your employer. It is usually done by bank transfer.
11. How can you find the place to stay?
If you’re on a tight budget, then I suggest you book a bunk bed in backpacker hostels. You can also join the facebook groups that I mentioned above or ask around :) It’s very easy to find a room in a shared house. You can try using Airbnb for this :)
12. How much does the accommodation usually cost?
It is around $250 to $500 per month.
13. How can you go around?
Take the mototaxi or public bus. But for me, the best and easiest way, especially in the North, is to buy your motorbike or a scooter which starts at $250 above. There are a lot of people selling their used motorbikes too.
14. Do I need an International Driver’s License to be able to drive around?
No. All you need to have a valid driver’s license from our country that you can eventually convert in Vietnamese Driving License.
15. How much do you spend per month?
It depends. Meals are $3 to $5 a sometimes even less. The accommodation is $250 to $500 and if you have your motorcycle, then add up the gasoline cost.
16. How can you send money back to the Philippines?
You may send it via Western Union, bank transfer, and other money transfer services.
17. I have a Teaching degree in the Philippines, can I teach without the International certifications?
It will be hard for you unless you have PHD or Masters degree! Your teaching qualification is designed for teaching in the Philippines and not usually accepted abroad.
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