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How I became an English Teacher in Vietnam!
My name is Guillaume Lacourt, I am 28 years old. I have been living in Asia for over 3 years but I had never visited Vietnam.
Therefore, last summer I bought my first motorbike and rode from the south to the north of Vietnam. At that time, I was thinking of relocating to Vietnam and the trip was a great way to explore the city and learn where I wanted to settle. At the end of my trip, I was quite charmed by the country and the people. Vietnam can be proud of a wide variety of landscape and people. It’s a contrasted country in many ways such as mountain versus sea and Vietnamese versus tribes. Food is cheap and tasty. That’s all I need!
Vietnam is a country where knowledge is sought. For that reason, learning English is popular here. It also helps new adults to get a better job. As massive investors from all around the world, I choose Vietnam to settle down.
English is the priority language, however, Chinese, Korean, French and Japanese are also popular languages. Many people are eager to speak English. The other day a 7-year-old boy came with his father sitting next to me on the train, he introduced himself to me and enjoyed talking to me to practice his English and to find out more about me.
“Even as a non-native speaker, I got a teaching job within two days after my arrival.”
Teaching English seemed to be the best choice for me to succeed my settlement in Vietnam. After my trip, I went back home and decided to follow a TEFL course.
After some searches on the Internet, I chose the 120-hour TEFL online course, provided by The TEFL Academy. I studied hard every day for about six weeks to get my certificate. Then I landed back in Vietnam six months after my first visited. Thanks to my TEFL certificate, my friend introduced me to his company and even as a non-native speaker, I got a teaching job within two days after my arrival. I am now teaching several hours a week, in 5 different schools, public and private, from kindergarten to grade 4. Most of the time, a class lasts from 30 minutes to 1 hour, and you must plan your lesson including playing games. The kids are friendly and love to play games so it’s not difficult to handle them.
One of the things that surprised me the most, was to meet only women teachers in the schools where I have been teaching, because in Vietnam only women can teach kids up to university age. I guess foreigner language teachers like me are the only exception!
My first teaching hour was in a public school where I have about 40 to 50 students per class. Imagine how I felt, I had never taught English before! I was really intimidated at the beginning. I finally learned how to handle it and it’s become one of my favourite schools. I am also teaching in a Japanese kindergarten for only 5 kids! I enjoy teaching both large and small classes. I am happily surprised how easily kids can pick up a new language. They are smart. My Vietnamese and Japanese students don’t encounter the same difficulties. My Vietnamese students often keep the last letter silent whereas Japanese students pronounce “l” like “r”, a real headache to make them pronounce “pillow” correctly!
This country is changing fast. It’s an opening and welcoming country for foreigners. Many backpackers stop here for some months or years to save enough and go further, some of them go to teach English in China, where the salaries are higher. I really enjoyed my trip and I chose the capital, Hanoi, to settle down for a long-term perspective.
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