Teaching #1

I know a few people were concerned that I may just become a vagrant wanderer. I suppose that’s because when I set off for Europe last year I had signed up for the CELTA course and planned on working after I completed it. However, getting a visa to work in the EU was going to take 3 months (I could’ve worked illegally of awhile, but I am so law-abiding); traveling across Russia to China or Vietnam was going to cost a lot and, when it comes right down to it, I’d never been to Europe, never seen all those galleries and museums. It was an opportunity to make-up for that trip I never took in my 20s. But the time came when I had to put all the training to work. Finally I settled on Hanoi as my destination. My logic was: I’d heard there were lots of jobs; that the food was excellent; the people friendly; and finally, there’s some terrific kayaking in HaLong Bay, only a few hours from Hanoi.

Upon arriving in Hanoi I started looking for work and did one interview, at a school I’d applied to before leaving home. Over the first few weeks I sent out a number of applications. Some jobs looked interesting: teaching a class at the biggest brewery here (too late with that one!). Some looked dodgy. And one school (United Nations International School) I sent an application in even though they weren’t advertising. Lo! an email back for an interview. Then one of the ESL schools (EduCare) called me in for an interview.

I now have two jobs: UNIS and EduCare. I’ve substituted for a French teacher and for a Grade 5 teacher at UNIS for a total of six days so far. The school is in a new facility, with more construction going on. The students are from around the world; some of them have very interesting backgrounds having traveled most of their lives. I’ve taught classes from grade 5 through to grade 11. Best of all, they’re a diligent lot and easy to work with. Here’s a photo of the Grade 5 class I had for three days working on their ‘Mental Math’ problems:

Grade 5 students at UNIS

Grade 5 students at UNIS

Elementary English Students

Elementary English Students

Above are my General English students at EduCare School. It’s a new school, opened last Spring. Currently I have two classes, this one and a slightly more advanced class. Starting soon I’ll have a couple of more classes which will fill my evening schedule. They’re mostly university students, improving their English in the evenings. I imagine they’re tired after a day of classes but they’re quite enthusiastic and the classes are fun. I’ll be happy when I don’t have such a long commute to school. Coming back reeking of exhaust is not pleasant.

Both jobs pay quite well and I think I’ve now covered my living expenses and maybe will be saving a bit even. Plus I still have most of my days free. But it’s all fairly new so we’ll see how I feel in a few months ;o)

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