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Teaching opportunities for a non-native English speaker?

Hi everybody!

I'm preparing to apply for English-teaching jobs in either China or Vietnam. I've lived, studied, and worked in China for four years altogether and speak Chinese fairly well, so I'm confident I'd be able to land a decent teaching job there. I'd like to check out something new though, and Vietnam looks really interesting.

But how viable is it really for a non-native English speaker? I know I can probably get a business visa and take it from there but what difficulties if any am I gonna face in terms of getting a place to live, paying taxes, getting a decent salary and so on?

I have a BA degree in China studies, an IELTS score (very recent) of band 8.0 with 8.5 in speaking and listening, and an online myTEFL course certificate.

Also, I just turned 40. Is that something that could be a problem?

Any input much appreciated :D

Wow!  For the first time in a long time we have a non-native speaker inquiring here,  who appears to be fully qualified to teach English in Vietnam.  There are no glaring grammar errors in the post as there so often are, and an 8.5 in speaking is probably as good as most native speakers, and better than some.  (I had better check my own grammar.   :) )

In your case, I would avoid long distance applications where your fluency may not be evident.   Instead, come to Vietnam and start making face to face applications.

Good Luck.

Thanks for the kind words :)

Just so you know some major centers or school are biased against online Tefl cert.

QuidProQuo :

Just so you know some major centers or school are biased against online Tefl cert.

I didn't pick up on that in the OP.  Yes tons of native speakers use online TEFL certificates but it could be an impediment to someone with another passport.  To Eric:  if you have the time and the wherewithal to take the CELTA either before or after you arrive in Vietnam, it would probably insure good, or at least better,  employment.  My calculation is that at a $2/hour pay differential, which is possible, the CELTA pays off over other courses in less than a year.  It also validates your fluency as one must have an IELTS 7.0, which you easily exceed, to take the course.  The CELTA would also help you overcome any age discrimination which is real in VN.  Fourty is the tipping point.  (Yes, I prefer the archaic spelling of 40.  :top: )

Damn, I was hoping my age wouldn't be an issue. Well, not much I can do about that :P

No CELTA centers around where I live unfortunately so I'd have to take it while in Vietnam. I guess I could just see what kind of jobs I'd be able to get in the meantime with the course I already got.

By the way, anyone familiar with these fellas here?
ninjateacher.com/vietnam

Seems like their course could be a good way to get into the particulars of teaching in Vietnam.

If you are serious about Vietnam, taking the CELTA there makes a lot of sense.  The two licensed providers are ILA and Apollo.  Both have their proponents.  The course is also about half the price that it would be in Europe or the UK.

Taking the CELTA in Vietnam will allow your to get "the lay of the land" and decide where you want to apply to teach.   I hear that ILA hires a significant portion of their higher performing graduates.  Even if you are technically qualified by your online course, the CELTA will give you a lot more hands-on experience.  If you decide you don't like Vietnam, its a short hop to Shanghai or Beijing.

At fourty, don't worry about age.  It is just on the borderline for discrimination but you should be fine.

You don't need a CELTA to teach in VN.
You need a bachelors degree, a teaching certificate which can be anything from an on-line TEFL to a BEd and you have to have to come from an English speaking country.

If you you don't have those three quals then you cannot work legally here and that is the bias you will face. There is no magic hogworts door to teaching in Vietnam if you do not come from an English speaking country. Some schools may accept an IELTS scores of some level but don't bet on it.

Most if not all schools require a photo copy of your passport as well as your bachelors degree and teaching cert just to apply.

A CELTA or any other TEFL cert. does not override a lack of the quals required to teach legally here.

I can't believe this has to be stated on an EFL board over and over and over again. It should be a sticky.

Based on my personal experience the third qualification that you list is not objectively true. 

VietCanada :

You need a bachelors degree, a teaching certificate which can be anything from an on-line TEFL to a BEd and you have to have to come from an English speaking country.

Most of the Filipino teachers at the center where I work had work permits (I suppose you could argue that the Philippines is an English speaking country even if that is not actually true.)   They were to a man (and woman) excellent teachers.  If anyone can cite the requirement in Vietnamese law or DOLISA regulations, I will concede the point.  Also consider that unless there was an explicitly written list of acceptable countries, who would be qualified to decide who is a native speaker?  Obviously not a Vietnamese bureaucrat.  And of course there are people holding what would be the "right" passports, particularly from the US, who are far from native speakers.

I agree that there are way too many non-native speakers teaching in Vietnam.  This forum is repeatedly queried, no bombarded, by non-native speakers with no degrees, many of them unable to string two correct sentences together and they still get encouragement to come to Vietnam from people who should know better.  If nothing else these people put downward pressure on wages for the rest who are qualified.  It is ironic that these same people are making it harder for foreign-born native English speaking Viet Kieu to get jobs.

In general, I notice that Scandinavians and Dutch appear closest to or even indistinguishable from native speakers, probably because of linguistic similarity.  I think the OP falls in this category as evidenced by his IELTS scores and clear writing style.  I think he should be encouraged just as others should be discouraged.

Let's not confuse Law with personal preference, individual organization's business policy and individual professional's financial interests.

There's no such law in Vietnam that prohibits a so-called NNES from obtaining a legitimate Work Permit to work as an English teacher in Vietnam.
It was never there, it still isn't.

Please don't spread false information in the name of Law.

If a person (irrespective of his/her country of origin) is qualified (has a Degree), trained ( has proper ELT training), experienced in ELT (3 - 5 yrs), competent/proficient in English language (certain IELTS score etc.), he/she is eligible by Law to apply for a WP to become an English teacher in Vietnam.
That is law. Rest is .......

Public schools, universities and reputed ELT centers who adhere to "Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy" don't have such bizarre requirements for their prospective English teachers.

- RMIT Vietnam
- British Council Vietnam

There's no such mention of "Native or Non-native Eng. Speakers" on Govt. and legal dossiers, related to WP in Vietnam.
Here are some for those interested.

- SB law
- Vietnam Legal
- Vietnam Work Permit Update: Experience Requirements To Be Optional For Experts, Technicians And Teachers

On several occasions in the past seven years, I had the opportunity to discuss this topic in detail with competent lawyers and others chiefly in Hanoi and also in HCMC.
I personally know over a dozen so-called NNESs working as Eng. teachers with proper Work Permits in different cities across Vietnam.

Whether someone is competent or not that's a different issue and there are competent authorities up there to take decisions on that.
There's no need for us to be too judgmental or pedantic on a non-ESL forum like this one.
Let's try to keep this forum open and friendly for people from all walks of life. :cheers:

Finally, here's a link from Ministry of Labour - Invalids And Social Affairs
--- Document code: 03/2014/TT-BLDTBXH
---- On guiding implementation of a number of Articles of Decree No. 102/2013/NĐ-CP dated September 05, 2013 by the Government on detailing implementation of a number of Articles of Labour Code on foreign workers in Vietnam

You may wish to download the word file and have a read.
Below, I quote (copy-paste) relevant parts from that document. Source: www.molisa.gov.vn

""

GRANT OF WORK PERMIT


Article 5. Dossier of request for grant of work permit
Papers specified at Clause 1, Clause 3, Clause 4, Clause 5 and Clause 8 Article 10 of Decree No. 102/2013/NĐ-CP, guiding implementation as follows:
1. A written request for a work permit of the employers as prescribed in Clause 1 Article 10 of Decree No. 102/2013/NĐ-CP made according to Form No.6 promulgated together with this Circular.
2. A written confirmation for not being offenders or liable to criminal prosecution specified at Clause 3 Article 10 of Decree No. 102/2013/NĐ-CP, guiding implementation as follows:
a) If foreign labourers have resided in Vietnam, they must have a justice record granted by the national justice record center or cases of residing in Vietnam, they must have justice record granted by Departments of Justice in provinces and central-affiliated cities and written confirmation for not being offenders or liable to criminal prosecution as prescribed by foreign law granted by foreign competent agencies;
b) In the case of foreign labourers have not yet resided in Vietnam, they must have written confirmation for not being offenders or liable to criminal prosecution as prescribed by foreign law granted by competent agencies of foreign countries.
3. Written confirmation of being managers, executive directors, experts or technical workers as prescribed at Clause 4 Article 10 of Decree No. 102/2013/NĐ-CP, shall implement as follows:
a) For foreign labourers being managers, executive directors, they must have one of the following papers:
- Documentary evidence of being managers, executive directors, consisting of:  Work permit or labour contract or decision on appointment defining that foreign labourer having been worked at position of managers or executive directors;
- Written confirmation of being managers, executive directors made by agencies, organizations or enterprises where that foreign labourers have ever worked.
b) For foreign labourers being experts must have one of the following papers:
- Documentary evidence for foreign labourers who have qualification of engineers, Bachelors or higher or equivalent qualification and have at least of 05 working years in the specialized line as trained and suitable with the work position which foreign labourer expected to work in Vietnam;
- Written confirmation for being expert, which is recognized by competent agencies and organizations or foreign enterprises.
c) For foreign labourers being technical labourers, they must have one of the following papers:
- Documentary evidence or written confirmation of competent agencies and organizations or enterprises in foreign countries showing that they have been trained technical specialized line with duration of not less than 01 year;
- Documentary evidence for foreign labourers to have at least 03 working years in the specialized line as trained and suitable with the work position which foreign labourer is expected to work in Vietnam;
.
""

My bad. If Vietnam allows qualified NNES' to teach legally then I raise a toast to their enlightenment.

@VietCanada: NNES=Non-Native English Speakers?

Yes.

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