Age 64---more difficult to find job teaching English?

Hello there,
I am a 64 year old male from California and planning on moving to Vietnam and have tentatively “targeted” DaNang/Hoi An area. I would like to teach English, as a way to get more integrated into the community,  have “something to do”, and also put a few extra bucks in my pocket.  I heard that it is more difficult for folks over 60 to find a teaching position--Will my age make it significantly more difficult to find a teaching ESL position? (for what it is worth 😊….i look quite a bit younger and am in good condition). I would get my TESL certificate in Vietnam after I arrive, if this idea makes sense.

As background, I worked in marketing for several high tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area for 25+ years. I have only limited teaching experience—I taught college undergraduates business courses (did this part time for four years about 15 years ago). I have a lot of business/general life experience in SE Asia (but not in VietN) as I have traveled extensively in Malaysia (have relatives there) and, for business reasons, in Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal.

Thanks for advice in advance.
Pete

I don't see why age would be a problem, in Vietnam, more you are old more you are respected.

rickvn :

I don't see why age would be a problem, in Vietnam, more you are old more you are respected.

Many advertised jobs have an upper age limit of 45. That being said, if you are eager and good at teaching, you should find work without too much drama.

rickvn :

I don't see why age would be a problem, in Vietnam, more you are old more you are respected.

Being respected and being employed are two unrelated matters.

im a 65 year ol olympiv athlete......................

Thanks everyone for your reply. Reduces my concern about my age :) See you in Danang :)

oppps.....another question.....

Do employers/schools in Vietnam tend to view an applicant who gets certified for TEFL in USA a more desirable candidate than if they got their certification from a school in Vietnam?

And, if I get the certificate in Vietnam, I would like it to be in Danang. When searching the net, I only found ESL program offerings in HCM or Hanoi-----I did not see any offerings in Danang :(-----anyone aware of schools offering these programs in Danang?

Many thanks again for all the useful info.
Pete

The vast majority of the TEFL market in Vietnam involves teaching KIDS/teens, so the main qualification that most schools are looking for is the ability to deal with, manage, entertain and, to some degree, educate CHILDREN. Everything else is secondary. You may be the perfect age (33 and a third?) and hold a post-doctoral degree in Applied Advanced Psycholinguistics in TEFL, but if the kids say you're boring, you're out.

in addition, to "not boring", the second-most important thing that schools are looking for is "flexibility", which means that you don't complain about lack of materials and facilities, disorganized support staff, changes in schedule, broken photocopiers, large class sizes, working at 7:30 am on a Saturday morning or 9 pm on a Sunday night, or anything else.

Also, you should note that Da Nang is quite popular with retirees. so you should think about 'branding' and how you can differentiate yourself from the surplus crowd of other old guys.

Finally, if you want to avoid teaching kids, you need to become an "IELTS guru". If you can can be "not boring" and "flexible" as well as know everything about the IELTS test, you may be able to find a school that agrees to let you teach only IELTS classes.

thanks so much John.....useful info.

one other question....am I a more attractive candidate if I did my TESL course in USA or in Vietnam......or is pretty much a wash and most dont really care where I got the training...

Thanks again
Pete

retep1 :

Thanks everyone for your reply. Reduces my concern about my age :) See you in Danang :)

I don't see how the prior answers reduce your concerns.  They were all but one basically telling you that yes there is age prejudice.  Two directly contradicted the one that said that age brings respect.  Respect for age in Vietnam (as I have also been told is true in other parts of Asia) is basically reserved for relatives and acquaintances.  I have seen a teenager drop a plastic cup full of ice from the back of their parents motorbike right in front of an elderly woman.  I once had to help an old woman across the street because no one else would.  This was at a cross walk (Zebra stripe) which of course has no meaning in Vietnam.  Respect for elders in Vietnam is highly overrated.

Da Nang may be a little worse than HCMC because it is a smaller job market yet considered a desirable place to live.  This means more teachers=more supply.  You will definitely face age discrimination in hiring. I know I did in HCMC until I found an employer who needed middle public school teachers which strangely enough is the age and job that I prefer.  In interviews I would suggest that you stress an intention to stay in one place for a while.  Turnover is a big problem in ESL and older teachers have a lot less turnover.  Based on your description of your prior work, I expect you have a rather generous pension(s).  Take the ESL class in Vietnam and take your time looking for the right job.  You will suffer rejections but you may be in a position that means you really don't need to work unless you want to.  One advantage of taking your EFL class in Vietnam is that you can certify the documents right there.

I doubt that the IELTS guru idea works well as it is niche primarily filled by experienced teachers.  I worked adult IELTS after two years with my employer.

If you apply over the internet, it probably is a disadvantage when the school sees 64 and pictures an decrepit, white-haired grandpa, who is probably unable to cope with the stress of controlling a bunch of rambunctious, brimming with excess energy kids.
But, if you go there in person and they see energetic, enthusiastic older fellow, you shouldn't have any problems, although Đà Nẵng  is probably the hardest place to land a job, as it is the preferred destination of a lot of foreign job seekers.
In the Mekong Delta area there is a shortage of foreign teachers, and if it doesn't work out for you up in Đà Nẵng, you can always come down here and find employment in no time.

Thanks all for the  continued input

Well...I am reassured for the reason that older age is NOT an automatic death knell for finding a teaching job....I assume there is always discrimination (sex, age, background, ethnicity, etc, ) virtually every where and for every job….......but sounds like it is manageable/addressable for what I am looking for.

I had tentatively planned to take the ESL course in Vietnam....so thinking I will hold to that plan.....from the net it petty much looks like the courses are only offered in HCM or Hanoi....so guess I will have to bite the bullet for a month and live there unless I can find a course in Danang (which I have not been able to yet).


Thecylist:
Thanks for the suggestion re Mekong Delta, I will certainly keep that in mind as not adverse to starting out in a place other than Danang. Any specific cities you would suggest there?

Thanks again,
Pete

Although I did not do so myself, I would highly recommend that you take the CELTA in HCMC.  It can be either ILA or Apollo.  I have no basis to differentiate and both companies have schools in Da Nang which could help for possible downstream employment.  The CELTA is more expensive than other courses but has several real advantages over others.

First and most important, it has a substantial classroom practicum component with Vietnamese students. This will give you a good idea if you actually like the job as well as give you a chance to try out what they taught you.  I had prior non-ESL teaching experience but I still think it would have been better to take the CELTA  than the course that I did take.  Whether it is justified or not, it is the most respected course in Vietnam for the people doing the hiring, which may help you overcome some of that age  discrimination.  During the course, the schools will assist you with temporary housing in HCMC.  This will be helpful if you really do move on to another city.  No worries about long term leases.  As I mentioned before, no problems in authenticating your certificate for your work permit as it originates in Vietnam.  Having said all this, I have assumed that you have a Bachelor's degree.  If not, it's all still possible but with a whole different set of circumstances.

THIGV,

Many thanks for your help! I am impressed with this forum....am getting so much assistance in how to plan all of this.....(yup, I do have a BS degree)
P

one other question....am I a more attractive candidate if I did my TESL course in USA or in Vietnam......or is pretty much a wash and most dont really care where I got the training...

Relax. You're projecting a degree of professionalism that simply doesn't exist for almost every school. Language schools are first and foremost bu$ine$$e$.  If they need someone for weekend morning classes (which they usually do because every other school in town has weekend morning classes), the main question is "Are you available?"

Anyone can easily research what the job market in VN is like by perusing job ads on sites like:
http://vietnamteachingjobs.com

Contact some schools and tell them that you are coming. Most likely  you will get some response. Don't agree to anything though. Just telll them you will contact them after you arrive.

Regarding location, I would try to spend as little time as possible in either Ha Noi or HCMC. Hopefully, you're not bringing a ton of stuff and will be able to move around easily.

Thanks....and traveling light ...1 carry on suitcase and a daypack :)

Can Tho is a fast growing metropolis with over a million people and more language schools than you can count. It's a nice city, can't measure up to a place as awesome as Đà Nẵng though. You are almost guaranteed to get hired there. But any city in the Delta area with a population of over 100000 will have a couple of language schools that hire foreign teachers. Students and the parents of kids ask before signing up whether they have any foreigners, so schools want to have at least one  foreigner preferably a 'white face'  around.
The ultimate test  of course is how popular you turn out  to be with the students. Some schools have several branches and rotate the foreign teachers :When students haven't seen you for a while and keep asking when is Mr so and so coming back, you are good to go. On the other hand, if you see long faces and yawns when you reappear, you are not going going to last long.

One negative for Can Tho is the poor rate they pay. Other towns in the delta pay much better.

That's probably because they have a harder time attracting non-philippino foreigners :As one school   in Vinh Long told me, we have been trying hard to get a foreign teacher to teach here, but they find the town too boring to stay long term;all we managed is a Filipina, very competent meeting all the required qualifications, but students want a white face.

thecyclist :

That's probably because they have a harder time attracting non-philippino foreigners :As one school   in Vinh Long told me, we have been trying hard to get a foreign teacher to teach here, but they find the town too boring to stay long term;all we managed is a Filipina, very competent meeting all the required qualifications, but students want a white face.

It doesn't help when some schools advertise for native speakers and want to pay 12 USD an hour and lower. There are some good jobs in the delta, just have to do some research and find a place that's suitable. It never ceases to amaze me, that people travel halfway around the world and want to hang out with other expats 100% of the time.

colinoscapee :

It never ceases to amaze me, that people travel halfway around the world and want to hang out with other expats 100% of the time.

Amen.

appreciate the info, details and opinions.  I will target both Danang and the delta cities (with Danang being my preference of the two). I am looking today on the net to see which institutions offer the TEFL training course in Danang as I want to get that certificate, and get it in Danang.

? Also, I just looked on the net searching to see if any institutions offer the TEFL training course in any of the DELTA/MEKONG cities and did not find anything....anyone know if anyone is offering TEFL courses in that part of the country?

Many thanks again
P

good to know....with all your guys help I actually can put together a plan now that makes sense!!!!!!   Thanks again everyone. Hope to  meet you there :)
Pete

How does the visa situation work for you?

Not sure what you mean but right now I have normal tourist visa. I actually have been in Thailand the last few weeks and heading up to Danang next week to try to figure things out.

Well, I was wondering what sort of visa would be appropriate if one was actually in Vn looking for a teaching job. Since posting this I've learned that it's probably best to get a business visa, which allows you to look for work, open a bank account and sign a lease.

When I was there a few years back I secured a short-term contract before leaving home, hence the work permit was arranged. Also in that instance, was the date by which I needed to leave Vn, to coincide with the end of the contract.

I'm planning to return next year, and this time I think I'd rather find a position when I get there.

All the best with it all. I think there's plenty of teaching to go around for everyone. My advise is however, go with a one of the big dogs if you can, like Apollo or ILA to start out with.

Cheers!

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