No, I’ve not gone all Glenn Close on the Vietnamese employers but believe me, a bit of assertion and dedication is needed to get a teaching english job in this town.
Before we started looking for an actual job, we were told
A) “It’s really easy to get a teaching job in S.E Asia”
B) “You don’t really even need a TEFL qualification I’ve only a degree and I’m getting paid $20 an hour”
C) “It took me a week to find a job and I wasn’t really looking”
My advice to anyone on the hunt for a job teaching english – don’t listen to the urban legends.
After a mammoth internet session, we both touched up our CV and cover letter and adjusted them accordingly to suit the jobs we were applying for. This was probably the most productive action we had done since leaving home and it felt good. We were getting somewhere in the job application process.
So next on the proverbial list to tick off was sending the touched up CV to all those schools begging for staff. So after a google scan… the interwebs whoosed my details to some digital employment inbox and I waited. Patiently.
As the days past I thought there could be a fault with my new Vietnamese sim card which I ever so carefully put on my CV as my main contact. My phone was not ringing – (maybe there was something wrong with the actual phone) but then I thought about the fact I’d received no emails either from all these desperate schools wanting me to teach for them at 20 bucks an hour like we’d been told.
It was a time for action – I would have to send my CV again with cover letter to MORE schools if I was to get anywhere in this game. So that’s what I did – alas with the same result as before.
I did log in to my email one day and an email awaited me – from an unknown sender – A SCHOOL. I opened it and read what the lovely Ms. Duong had written. She wanted me to send her a copy of my TEFL and degree cert and would arrange an interview. My heart leapt but then I realised I didn’t have these certs scanned on. I replied and told her I could bring them to interview with me.
This is where I shall now refer to Ms Duong as ‘The Tease’ as she didn’t reply. Even though I scanned the documents on and sent her them. A golden job opportunity missed due to my lack of computer wizardry! Although on the flipside she did also contact Gareth which resulted in him getting an interview, two observations and is now going to teach his very first class.
However, the old ‘ya snooze ya lose’ saying has never been more true!
I ended up getting a motorbike out for two days and forcing myself upon the schools in a bid of desperation. Going in and physically rampaging their reception desks screaming HIRE ME NOW may not be the best way to go about getting hired, but handing in your CV and being relatively smiley and nice is a good way to start.
From my visits to two schools, I’ve been called for interview and offered some work eventually.
It wasn’t as quickly as some backpackers make out so if you’re reading this and thinking about looking for a teaching job – I’d recommend you do the following:
1) Make sure all your documents are scanned onto the computer – including any TEFL certs, Degree, CV and cover letter – don’t end up losing out on an interview because you’re in the technical dark ages.
2) If you email the schools your CV, don’t expect a quick response. Make a follow up email or call and make sure it’s addressed to the right department or it will be lying in some cyber trash bin.
3) Get out and go into the schools. Dress appropriately and make a good impression. It shows you’re eager to work and you will probably get more information about programmes or classes starting.
Interviews can vary. The employer might be very eager for you to begin and offer you on the job. OR heaven forbid… they might make you sweat it out a bit and wait a few days. Either way make sure you are prepared incase any tricky questions may come up (ie. TENSES)
Other than that, Good Luck!