Teaching in Vietnam…. hmmmmmm

Enough said!

Vietnam is transforming so fast it is hard to wrap my mind around. One of the very noticeable changes is the rapid swing from French to English as a second language. Only a small number of years ago, I recall it being a real hardship finding anybody who could speak English. When a person attempted to speak it, you would just get frustrated gesticulations to go away or some other meaning. Now, if you are an English speaker, not only will they make great efforts to help and communicate with you, but there is a very good chance that you will end up in some locals home eating a home cooked Vietnamese dinner. (In my area anyway…. The backpacker areas are a totally different mood) As a matter of fact, Mark, who you have seen commenting on these blogs, met a trio of beauties while swimming on the beach in the morning. He was invited by them to go to their home/place/business? I am not clear on that but……… I wonder about the anticipation and the curiosity he felt while following these attractive women. When he reached his destination, many more beautiful women flocked to him. He ended up spending some quality time speaking English with eager learners in a convent. What a great story!! It is part of the charm of this country. English has become the second language in Vietnam. It must really irk the French knowing the pride they take in their culture and language. So much of their influence is here, but the language and cultural aspect is disappearing fast. A new generation of young Vietnamese adults have emerged all starry eyed and eager to become part of the English speaking world. Now here is a bit of a problem…….

There is a severe lack of English speaking teachers here. There are Vietnamese English teachers in abundance, but all of the time is spent on reading and writing….. and justly so as most of them pronounce the English language very badly and the poor students trying to mimic their teachers go misunderstood. This is where the pressure for me to teach comes into the picture. I am from Canada and do not have an accent. This is what is in very high demand here. Most students graduate university with full English, but cannot speak it well enough to be understood by anybody. The only options they have to improve are to be lucky enough to land a job in an English speaking establishment, or hire a private tutor. That is what I have committed myself to, and what I need to get out of. I will explain that in a bit. 

Originally when I arrived, I had spoken with the tourism college next door and they were eager to have me as a volunteer teacher with my own classroom. Since then, the government has decreed that all teachers in schools must be certified, so I was no longer usable by the school. I now have committed myself to being a private tutor for a class of 10 students 3 nights a week. The problem is that the hotel is taking off. People are discovering me on the internet and seeking us out on their holidays. Because they are specifically looking for a place like mine to stay, I am getting very nice and enjoyable guests. I spend time with them when I can and enjoy their company. Sometimes they feel guilty that they are taking up my time, but it is quite the opposite. I truly enjoy spending time with them. My enjoyment has paid bonuses. Some of them write comments or give referrals to visit with us, and we are becoming an oasis of fun in a purely native area (for the moment). Not only do I have that excuse for trying to weasel my way out of teaching, but there is another and perhaps darker reason. I have talked with others that provide this service and have heard repeated stories of how the young beautiful students affect the teachers. A person can never forget that we (foreigners) represent a much better life than most Vietnamese can make on their own. I have also talked in the past about how romantic and dreamy the younger Vietnamese are. Therein lays the problem. Teacher’s pets are everywhere!! Sweet adorable and vulnerable young women are everywhere here (insert guys for the female teachers). If I was a single man I would probably fall in love every day. I have heard stories of temptation and some of straying. I have even encountered a teacher in his seventies that gave into a girl barely over 20 that is now feeling life altering emotions because of the fall from grace. I love my wife and do not even want to be faced with the temptations that I have been told of. Divorce is not in my future.

Please keep in mind these are my paranoia’s and maybe I am just afraid of being confronted by the situations I have heard about. If you are interested in becoming a teacher….. sorry…. a tutor, you will find no problem with work here. You will be in high demand. English speakers from anywhere in the world regardless of accent will find work, but, if you are an accentless North American, you will be in high demand.

Now I venture off with some of my delightful guests for a day of snorkeling on a coral reef…… work…..work……work

Enough said again!!

And random pictures

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

5 thoughts on “Teaching in Vietnam…. hmmmmmm

  1. I am so stupid Owen.Thes 3 ladies start practicing English with me on the beach.They tell me they are all sisters,thats nice.They invite me back to their place.They were ‘Sisters’ in a convent behind The Tide.True!Actually it was graet fun!Everybody coming up to meet this strange fellow from Australia.I offered to take them all out for dinner,the company was good,but no,they couldnt get permission from Mother Superior.She was a wake up to me!Anyway,a truly divine evening.

  2. Hah!! I introduced a nice young fellow from my home town and he is going to teach in my place. Yet another Edmontonian in NhaTrang….. Bwa ha ha… soon we will have total control…..

  3. Alas I am single and have no such restrictions on my time or talents. My poor working class Pittsburgh accent will have to suffice. I’ve heard alot of Aussie accented Vietnamese spoken in country and find it hilarious. Some of my Viet friends have taken classes with British trained Vietnamese teachers and I can hardly understand them. Yes many Vietnamese have told me they want to learn American English….they even have a hard time with the Aussie accent, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the Vietnamese hear the English spoken by the people in movies and want to emulate it.

  4. Very Interesting Owee.
    So dammed if you do and dammed if you dont.Maybe one way of getting around this would be to lay down the Law at your Class , by this I mean let them all know that you are Married to a Wonderful and Beautiful Lady and that will not Change.
    If that fail’s I am on my way.lol

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