American Teaching at Uc Chau AIES HCMC

by Jay
(District 9 HCMC)

Hi Phil,

I'm an American teaching at Uc Chau in Thu Duc dsitrict in HCMC. I was wondering if you know anything about this school? I've been teaching there for 2 months and so far its been amazing. The pay is great and the staff are friendly but I feel like I was hired a little too easily considering I have practically no teaching experience.

One thing I've noticed that helps get hours immensely is buttering up the administrators. Being friendly and even maybe a little clean and harmless flirting are good ways to net more hours.

A tip to the rest of you seeking teaching jobs here, The highest demanded teachers I've seen so far are those who can teach TOEIC and TOEFL. Experience in these two tests will net you more pay, and a lot more work. I mentioned to an administrator that I preferred teaching Toeic over general English and bam, my hours tripled and suddenly I'm teaching Toeic everyday.

A warning to the male teachers. Be careful with flirting in the classroom. My fellow Vietnamese teachers are very skeptical because apparently male foreign teachers have made passes at the students in the past.

If you walk into a classroom filled with 20 year old girls and they all giggle and say "handsome" just ignore it plain out if you want to be taken seriously. Or, go for it and take your chances. Its a tough choice but you can find plenty of girlfriends anywhere else.

Anyway, my real question is, what do you think of Uc Chau...good place or no? So far it seems a bit shady but I've had no bad experiences to back up my intuition. All the teachers I've met say they are highly qualified but still, I can't shake the image of the typical red building evening English school.

What do you think?

Mr. Jay


Reply from

This school reminds me of SITC, which was a Singaporean Owned school that did a midnight run with all the teacher's salaries for the month and the student's tuition for the year.

That was way back in 2006 but it smells the same. They are offering excellent prices and are paying the teachers well. That is just my opinion of the place.

I have had complaints that they don't hire folk older than 30 and they like you to dress well and they discipline by reducing your monthly hours. So they play favorites.

I have also heard that a Brit with a thick accent should not bother with them. You could answer that for all of us. Do you have any English teachers from England or are they just Canadians and Americans?

Most the students are a younger crowd as well but maybe it was the time of day that I last walked through their part of town. It is a pretty far drive for anyone living in District 1.

I am Glad you brought up Uc Chau AIES, though. So far I have heard just whiners complain about the school and they give hours to teachers that the students like the most.

You won't last long as a boring old stooge there. But an excellent school for getting paychecks into teacher's hands on payday.

If you are hunting for work in Vietnam then I would say that Uc Chau AIES is another school to add to the list.

Thanks for the excellent Article, Jay.


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Apr 08, 2012
Teaching English in Vietnam!
by: thuy

Hi, you guys!

I read your post and think it's kind of interesting, so I wanna join.

About teaching English at foreign language centers in Vietnam such as Uc Chau, I think playing games is not always the best solution. It depends.

If your students are kids or teenagers, this works well.

For adults students, from 18 or over, it's better if you ask for students' opinions first. Usually, they also like games and songs but not too often. They want something from you that Vietnamese teachers can't give it to them. I mean pronunciation, stress or intonation, things like that. You should focus on phonetics.

About how to increase your hours, you are right here. Firstly, it's your appearance. Make sure that you don't smell or come into the class in a pajamas. Just look at Vietnamese male teachers and you will know how to dress.

Secondly, remember to smile. Being friendly and nice with the staff and your students. If you have time, chit chat with Vietnamese teachers, too. If you can tell a joke or say something funny in Vietnamese, then it's a bonus.

Actually, the person who will help increase your hours is not the administrators but the supervisor (the head of the staff) and your students. The staff will give a survey to your students. They will collect and report the results to the administrators. If students don't like you and complain a lot then they will reduce your hours or fire you if they find a better teacher.

About the age, it's not biggie. Where are you from? It doesn't matter as long as you are from western countries and can speak English.

Experience or a degree? No need. There are too many foreign language centers these days. And the thing is if you have a degree, they have to pay you more. But if you have experience in teaching English, it's really easy for you to get a job with high salary.

About flirting? if you want to be kicked out of the school, just do it. You may get this all the time, I mean "handsome" from your students or the staff. I can understand why. For Vietnamese people, "handsome" means you are white and tall.

I'm Vietnamese. I'm teaching English at foreign language centers in Thu Duc. Hope this can help you!



Reply from

Good advice, Thuy.

Appearance is very important, the students decide your success at getting more hours, flirting with students is just dumb, and experience is what is most important.

A summary of what you said. It is pretty easy to get work teaching English in Vietnam as long as you follow Thuy's advice.

Thanks for joining in, Thuy.


Sep 24, 2011
Age of students
by: Anonymous

I forgot to mention, the average age of the students is around 21. I've had as young as 15 and as old as 30 in my classes.

Sep 24, 2011
British Teachers
by: Jay

Hi Phil,

Actually, its funny you mention this because my first day working I met 3 fellow english teachers and all of them were older than 50. 1 was Australian with a heavy accent, another was British, and then one one of the younger guys is French but he speaks fluent English. There were 3 other teachers who were my age (28) so its a pretty diverse crowd. You are absolutely correct about the rewards/punishment system though. A little buttering up of the admins wins more hours but its kind of superficial. so watch out if you don't have the stomach for flattery.

Also, concerning the problem of a teachers popularity with students, a lot of games are played in the classroom. I know games are a great way to encourage participation and stimulate learning but honestly, I think some students are starting to see the dilemna here. I was advised to use the "nothing but fun" method by a fellow teacher and one student was openly skeptical about teachers actually teaching something. I played games my entire first class and one student stood up and asked "do foreign teachers actually teach something?" Immediately I changed my method.

so heres a tip for anyone who may work here: Mix the class, starting with the heavy, technical lesson first then finish up with a fun related game. That seems to be the best mix I've found here for keeping students opinions high at Uc Chau. Oh, and bring candy! The students love it and it costs about 1$ USD for 2 classes worth of candy from the supermarket across the street.

best regards,

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