Ryan van der Linden

Teach Enrich Empower

Teaching in Vietnam has been a wild experience

My name is Ryan van der Linden, originally hailing from South Africa. I was working in the UK a couple months ago, which I had been unhappily doing so for 2 years. As I am only 24, I came to the decision that although the UK was financially one of the best places to be in the world, I would be much happier fulfilling one of my ambitions of becoming a teacher. The fact the job is abroad was of course a very attractive advantage, the opportunity to travel always is.

After completing my TEFL course, I found a job teaching in a centre in Vietnam. It’s called English Home and has 3 facilities, which I alternate working between. The students range from the ages of 3 to 10 years old. Classes often have a maximum of 11 students, but a lot of them only include 5 or 6. The school is hidden between alleyways and tall concrete apartments littered with dense areas of the jungle.

Having done the TEFL course before approaching teaching has certainly aided to the construction of my lesson plans. Most of the time, I’m not given time to prepare, but when I am, my attained knowledge kicks in. Before I did the course, I was quite confident with my English. I am also glad to have done it because I was very surprised to find a refresh of my grammar structures and terms were well in need.

“Moving to a new and foreign country is not always easy.”

Teaching in Vietnam has been a wild experience. My first demo lesson didn’t go very well. I was asked to leave 10 minutes into a 30-minute’ interview lesson’. It really took a knock on my confidence but I felt the students were far too young to be easily taught (with my experience). It didn’t take me long to get up to speed though, and I soon found myself covering classes for others. This was how I was introduced to the regular school I now teach at. The students live with different cultural influences, learning these have been one of the more interesting parts of the journey.  I continuously aim to chisel myself into becoming the best teacher for their needs. This sometimes includes picking them up and throwing them in the air… and then of course catching them!

I plan to continue teaching here until I’m satisfied with both the improvement of my abilities and the results of my students. This could go on for 6 months but it could also be years. I have no plan for that yet… but if I can advise anyone who plans to do something similar with their lives, it would be to expect the unexpected and go with whatever comes your way. Moving to a new and foreign country is not always easy, but with the right ambitions and outlook, it can be the most memorable thing in your life.

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