Teach Enrich Empower
Dylan Clerkin - Teaching in Vietnam
In February 2016 I made one of the scariest, craziest but evidently, best decision of my life so far to pack up my things and move to Vietnam to teach English.
I finished secondary school in June 2015, did well in my exams, got accepted into my college course but unlike most of my other school friends, I didn’t feel ready to go straight into university. That’s why I chose to take the year off.
My plan was to work for six months and then to travel, originally to Australia, for another six months. It was only then that I discovered the TEFL course. It didn’t take much for me to change my mind and get in touch with schools in Vietnam. So that’s when I called up The TEFL Academy to book a course for the next week or so. I did the weekend practical course, spent the next few weeks doing the 100-hour online side of the course and then waited impatiently for the 2nd of February.
When the day of my 25-hour series of flights came I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel. There was excitement, but also a lot of uncertainty. As an 18 year old that came straight out of school, the whole idea of moving to Asia for five months to be the one who is actually teaching rather than being taught was all a bit crazy. But as I would soon see, it would all work itself out.
“Teaching English as a foreign language is the most amazing job there is.”
Teaching English as a foreign language is the most amazing job there is. For the five months that I was in Vietnam’s bustling Ho Chi Minh city I taught in 3 different places. The main school I worked in was a language school called Rise which dealt with kids between the ages of 2 and 12 years old. The school was an English only speaking school that taught English through pure immersion in the language. It was a brilliant way to teach and the results were clearly noticeable. When I went to classes my job was to do question and answer sessions, play games, sing songs and dance dances.
It was a lot of fun, and not just for the students. Another school that I worked in was a public school. This was slightly more challenging than working in the language one, but that didn’t make it any less rewarding. At first it can seem quite intimidating being thrown into a class of fifty screaming 7 years olds but when you listen to what they’re actually screaming you realise you’ve got noting to be afraid of. All they want to do is give you a hi-five, tell you “hello teacher”, ask what your name is, how are you, where are you from, have you any girlfriends (or boyfriends in some cases), etc… Once you got a hand of the classes and get into some sort of routine ,they were such a pleasure to teach. They were eager to learn and willing to listen to what you had to say.
On the side I was also working with adults doing private one-on-one lessons which were also fun. They were speaking classes so I was basically being paid to sit in the coffee shop and have a conversation in English with someone for an hour. Evidently, I got to know these students well enough and was actually able to make friends out of it.
During the time that I was teaching in Vietnam I made a great bunch of friends, with both locals and other foreign people who were teaching English too. My favourite thing about the whole trip though was definitely teaching English. I absolutely fell in love with the kids I was working with and was so sad to tell them good bye. As a whole, the five months that I was there were probably the best five months of my life and I wouldn’t be able to think of one thing to dissuade people from getting their TEFL certificate and seeing the world.
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