Published: 15 September, 2016  |  Last updated: 15 September, 2016

Teaching English in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam



Report submitted on 7 March, 2016 by Ellie Merrell.

Teaching English in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam:

How can teachers find teaching jobs in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?
I work for a company called AMA (American Academy) which is a learning center for after school learning. The company is joined with a second company called GELA which gives me weekly hours in public schools around the city. If you go to the center in person they will ask for your domuments (cerTESOL certificate and degree) then they will give you an interview and ask you to do a demonstration lesson.

The main English teaching jobs available are:
Full time English language school positions, part time English language school positions, agencies (send teachers to different locations), teaching at kindergartens / pre-schools, teaching at state schools.

What are the minimum teaching requirements?
My company asked for at least a TEFL certificate (or anything above), a bachelors degree and two references (not necessarily from a teaching job). Also they are quite strict on you being a native speaker.

What teaching requirements would you recommend?
I think having at least a TEFL is very important. Even if it is an online TEFL you have a base idea of how to create lesson plans, manage a class and a variety of games and activities already established.

What are the levels of payment?
The rate is different depending on what you are teaching. For public schools I get paid 395,000VND (US$17 per hour), for private kindergarten I get 440,000VND (US$20 per hour) and working in the center ranges between 310,000VND (US$13) –  375,00VND (US$16.80).

How many teaching days a week is normal?
6 days per week

How many face-to-face teaching hours a week is normal?
20 hours per week

What is the normal arrangement for holidays?
I have no holiday pay, but if you give them a month or two notice you need time off they are very accommodating. No christmas holiday but they have two weeks off for Tet which is usually the first two weeks of February.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam to teach English?
Be prepared to tech any level at any age. In one week I have kindergarten from 2-5 years old, primary school, sometimes high school, all the way trough to university students and people working.

What are the positive aspects of teaching English in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?
The students are usually very enthusiastic about learning and you can have real fun with them. Also there is such a lot of foreigners teaching english that their is a lot of support and advice if you need it.

What are the negative aspects for teaching English in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?The biggest negative is the language difference. Vietnamese is extremely difficult to learn. When teaching students with a latin or germanic based language you can really pick up the language easily and understand some of what the students are saying in their native tongue. This is almost impossible in Vietnam which can be difficult with the younger students.

What are some of the teaching challenges for English teachers teaching the local people in your area?
The locals are not so much bothered about having english.


Living in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam:

Are there any visa or other legal requirements to live in Vietnam?
I have just been working on a tourist visa which is popular for people who don’t plan on being here for longer than a year or so. Other teachers have business visas which their company provides for them.

What is the cost of living like in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?
The cost of living is extremely cheap! Depending on where you want to live you can pay from US$200 – US$400 a month for rent. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out (with a sneaky beer or two) for less than US$5.

What are the usual accommodation arrangements and how can you find accommodation?
There are apartments all over the place, being advertised everywhere. We live in a guesthouse to stay more central to travel for work which is full of teachers and travellers.

Other than teaching, what positive aspects are there for living in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?
Vietnamese people are usually very friendly and helpful even with such a big language barrier. Very hospitable when it comes to food and curious when it comes to your appearance.

Other than teaching, what negative aspects are there for living in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?
Vietnam has two seasons; dry and rainy. Between May and November it is very rainy and difficult to travel around the city. Between November and April their is almost no rain but the temperature will sometimes reach 37 degrees with very high humidity which can be exhausting to work in.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?
Bring a good rain jacket, light and airy clothing and be ready to drive a scooter or motorbike there is no other way to travel round so freely for work.

What things do you miss most (other than family and friends) from your home country?
The pub and also cold days!

What do you think you will miss most when (or if) you leave Vietnam?
I will miss working with such young students (kindergarten) which i have never had the chance to do before. Also Banh mi, which is a vietnamese sandwich.

What things would you recommend to new teachers in your area to bring with them from their home country?
If you’re English like me, tea bags! You can find a huge amount of american products around H Chi Minh City (crisps, chocolate, peanut butter etc) but not so much British stuff. Cheese is very expensive and hard to find!


About Me and My Work:

My Name: Ellie Merrell

Nationality: British

Students I’ve taught in Vietnam: Toddlers (2-4 years), pre-school / kindergarten (4-6 years), elementary (6-12 years), junior high school (12-15 years), high school (15-18 years), university, adults.

Where I teachAMA (American Academy), Ho Chi Minh City. Teaching here for 1 year.

How I found my current jobsA friend who was teaching with them the year before recommended them.

My school facilities: Very good. The center has lots of space, computers for students, many different facilities.

Teacher support is available at my school: Lesson observations, teacher evaluations.



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