ILA offer

For an experienced teacher (I’ve taught in China, South Korea and my home country Australia) is ILA a good place to start in Vietnam? Can you get consecutive days off during the week or not? Do they provide company shirts or do you have to wear a business shirt and tie (I don’t mind but I sweat a lot in the heat)? I think the pay is around 35-40 million per month for 80 hours; after taxes and rent how much can I potentially save per month? I was going to join them earlier this year however things came up in Australia which stopped me (along with reading negative reviews about the school). I did recently travel to Vietnam and I really liked it.

I’m 42, single and I have a BA degree, TESOL Certificate and I also have an MA in Primary Teaching (I don’t mind teaching ESL to kids, I tried K-6 Primary teaching in Australia and I hated it so I don’t think I’ll ever do International school work).  I have taught children in Korea and China (but ESL only to adults as part of an ELICOS program). My school in Australia is about to nosedive in December and I’m considering offers from ILA, Apax, WSE and a public school (all in HCMC or nearby areas). I’m also considering WSE for a few reasons however I believe their hourly pay isn’t great (maybe I’m wrong). I appreciate any information from current or ex-teachers from ILA (or anyone else who knows ILA or the other schools).

Although  it is a great idea to network with schools online before arriving, for Vietnam, you should come look for work in-country, so that you can talk with HR/management staff directly, see the facilities, hang out with other teachers, etc.

None of the English schools in VN have much of a reputation and are used to heavy turnover. Demand is high but so is supply, so if they lose a teacher, they just get another one.  Based on your experience in China and Korea, I'm sure you understand that TEFL is an profit-driven industry.

You might look into VUS. Some friends of mine are teaching there (not in SGN) and say it's OK.

johnross23 :

You might look into VUS. Some friends of mine are teaching there (not in SGN) and say it's OK.

My wife's daughter is attending VUS and it does appear to be a good school from a parent standpoint.

ILA is a decent workplace. I know numerous people who have been working there long term.

colinoscapee :

ILA is a decent workplace. I know numerous people who have been working there long term.

My general impression regarding ILA is that they prefer to hire very young and inexperienced teachers who have done their (ILA's) CELTA course.

Based on this, I feel that the OP is likely too old and overqualified, although they would still want him to do the CELTA. 

Of course, I could be wrong and my info out-of-date.

Anyway, there's no need to focus on one school as there are so many. I'd certainly be looking for a school or chain that could provide me with a good location outside the two major cities

You’re overqualified so don’t get your hopes up and expect the pay to match your credential/experience.

I had a Viet Kieu acquaintance, since return to Canada having secured visas for his family, who had worked for ILA as a recruiter/interviewer.  I asked him once what the average age of his recruited teachers was and what was their longevity.  He told me it was mid-twenties and less than a year.  I suggested that if they increased the average age, the longevity would probably improve to which he agreed.  Of course he was way too far down the decision tree to effect any changes.  It sounds like things may still be the same.

THIGV :

I had a Viet Kieu acquaintance, since return to Canada having secured visas for his family, who had worked for ILA as a recruiter/interviewer.  I asked him once what the average age of his recruited teachers was and what was their longevity.  He told me it was mid-twenties and less than a year.  I suggested that if they increased the average age, the longevity would probably improve to which he agreed.  Of course he was way too far down the decision tree to effect any changes.  It sounds like things may still be the same.

In my experience, most language schools in VN aren't that interested in keeping teachers for too long a time. There are exceptions, of course, if the teacher is not too demanding. However, those who get a bit uppity and start asking for more hours, a higher rate of pay, a proper contract, visa and work permit, a say in the course curriculum and content, etc. often find their classes being given to new hires until their schedule is so low that they have to seek employment elsewhere.

Actually, I think that ILA does offer a one-year contract, but would prefer to hire new teachers rather than renewing the contracts of current teaching staff as a way of "preserving freshness". It's a business model that succeeds because the supply is always there. These days, everybody knows that you "can make a lot of money teaching English in Vietnam" and that "it is easy to get a teaching job there".

It also depends on where you want to teach because for example Rach Gia is starving for Westerner English teachers and teachers here could get their contract renewed as long as they want, but not many teachers would like to stay here long term as there's not much to do compared to bigger cities and there's no expat community, which is troublesome for some (and a bonus for me!).

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