Teacher Journal: Ashley
Thoughts and tips on teaching in Vietnam
I'm such an advocate for LanguageCorps, because the program is a great starting place and opens so many doors for the future. I went to Vietnam with my friend and within a month we were certified and had jobs and an awesome house that we were living in with three other people from our program. LanguageCorps took care of everything..: from initial visas, to interviews, to finding us a house, to renewing our visas.. just Just the little things that are difficult in a different country (especially a communist one where bureaucracy and politics play such a major role). After spending 6 months in HCMC, we felt comfortable enough to move up to Hanoi on our own and find jobs and a house on our own. But LanguageCorps really is the perfect starting place, at least for us, because we had just graduated from our universities.
Depending on your job and who you are teaching, ESL has some pretty rough hours- expect to be working nights and weekends. This can be exhausting sometimes, but I learned to put my foot down and not be pushed around. Remember that you are not only there to teach, you are there for the experience, so don't be afraid to say "no" if a school tries to give you too many hours.
I would definitely try to take as much as you can from the intensive TESOL course -- because the games and ideas ultimately become very useful. The course can be exhausting, but there are definitely some useful ideas there. When you start teaching, don't get frustrated if it doesn't run smoothly - - my first class was a disaster. But, you'll get into your own groove and find out what works and what doesn't. If your well runs dry with ideas (which it does eventually) exchanging with other teachers is really helpful. When I first started teaching, I really just used the book and found that my classes were rather dry. But then I started to take advantage of my school's resources and my classes improved by 100%. Another tip is, to not take it too seriously. If you are teaching kids, remember that they are going to school full time on top of ESL classes - - so try to make your class fun and they will adore you for it.
And my last tip, is to try your best not to fall into your same old routine. There was a point when I was teaching when I realized all I would do is wake -up, go to the gym, teach, eat dinner, and repeat. I realized that I was doing exactly what I would be doing at home. Then, we started branching out and rented motorbikes and travelled and did things that we normally wouldn't do, but breaking out of our comfort zones is what made it all worthwhile. It will leave you with inimitable memories and also it will build character.
So, get excited!! This is going to be the best time in your life!