Jade Hazell

Teach Enrich Empower

Jade Hazell - Teaching in Vietnam

After completing my final year at university I decided to research a TEFL qualification. With a recommendation for the TEFL Academy because of the combination of classroom and online learning this course seemed to tick all the boxes. The class room based learning was interactive, informative and invaluable for a first time TEFL teacher.

The syllabus was all relevant and after completion the whole group went to the pub, socialising with like minded people and sharing ideas and information was helpful.

A few months after completing my online TEFL I packed up my certificate, copies of my degree, cv and passport (all essential documents for job hunting) and moved to Hanoi, Vietnam. Knowing I only had a short time as I had friends flying out in March to go travelling I needed to get a job pretty swiftly. I bulk emailed lots of schools a week before my flight, I had responses back from several companies but all were only interested in me contacting them after I had arrived.

The day I arrived in Hanoi, I bought a local phone and SIM card and contacted a few of the schools I’d had replies from. A lady from an agency AH Edu Links, was keen to meet me. Jet lagged from my red-eye flight and lacking preparation for my first TEFL interview I met her for coffee (who incidentally helped me and my friend find our first house share with 7 other expats). I knew little about what to expect, but this interview like many TEFL interviews, it was just a chat about my experience and an opportunity to see if my personality suited the classes I would be teaching. The next day after many email responses and phone calls, my friend and I spent the day racing across town to meet with staff at about seven schools or English centres. All of whom offered us both jobs.

“I could talk for ages about how much I loved my experience…”

I decided to work directly for multiple organisations rather than through an agency, this meant the pay was slightly better than an agency which takes fees. I also had more freedom to choose my classes and companies. I had many jobs one was an adult conversation class at AMA- this was one of my favourite lessons. The best way to describe it is a speed dating scenario, each student gets 15 minutes with an English teacher where they can talk about a topic of their choice. Many of my students had my private email and in my spare time I took would improve their CVs and writing or they would often treat me to coffee so they could practise their English. I also taught a private lesson in someone’s front room.

Transport to work was either a local bus where everyone would stare at me or a motorbike taxi which felt like risking my life through the hectic streets of Hanoi. I could talk for ages about how much I loved my experience and living in Hanoi. I met lots of incredible people, one was an inspirational lady who had two disabled children and would tell me about her struggles and lack of government support.  Another was a weatherman and news reader with whom I went to VTV’s (National TV channel) Christmas party.

I loved my first TEFL experience!

My top tips would be:

  1. Always over plan, if you don’t use the whole lesson plan you can implement the activity to the next lesson.
  2. Christmas is a great time to get lots of hours for a short period of time as lots of TEFL teachers go home

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