Have TESOL Need Work

by John
(Ho Chi Minh City, VN)



I got my TESOL / TEFL / TESL certification from Oxford Seminars, I'm hearing they're one and the same, but are all equal? But what is CELTA, how is it different and would it help to have at the added cost?

Do additional specialization classes help boost your credibility if for instance, I'm still lacking completion of my degree (in English)?

There's specialization in TOEFL Preparation, Teaching English Grammar, & Teaching Children English; each claim to add an additional 40-hrs to your existing TESOL certificate, plus the acquired specialization for about $400 a pop. I don't know if it's worth it, if having these extra bullets under my certificate stating these various "specializations" will add to my experience and credentials.

My dad honestly thinks he knows the market for English teachers in Vietnam, he has told me time and time again that he's talked to people teaching here and that there's no money in it, that it's mostly Peace Corps volunteers, missionaries and private schools doing non-profit, for charity work. That if I was paired with a medical relief or outreach project it would increase my odds of finding a position. Or if I shared a teaching position with a local teacher, because he doesn't think I can name my own price, expect any benefits, or a high salary without a degree.

I've almost completed my BA, I can show them my college transcripts, if it really comes down to that. I just need to save a little money to return to the States to complete my degree and I'll return when I can get a higher paying position.

My dad's the religious nut, he thinks I've left the Western world and disregarded my Catholic upbringing. I'm Vietnamese-Amerasian (but am told I have more Anglo-features, don't have blonde hair or blue eyes, my ancestry on my dad's side is German-Irish/Dutch, & Kickapoo Indian.

I resent being called Viet Kieu, I'm American-born, not ex-pat (unless you consider me being an ex-pat of the U.S., then damn right, as long as I can pull it off, I'm ex-military, this is one of the few places I can find peace, after all it's been through 2 decades of war, which is probably what my generation will go through in Iraq & Afghanistan, my dad's a disabled Vietnam vet amputee (leg).

I've been thinking about getting some of those facial scrub products since my skin does tan considerably like a local Vietnamese, since I haven't worn head cover when walking about in the afternoon. I am tall as any other Caucasian, I've often been mistaken for French, Russian, Italian, German. I will put on the monkey suit and play the role of the white boy to get my foot in the door, but once I'm through, I'm tearing the suit off and sparing myself the indignity of pretending to be white.

I've seen fratboys come abroad just looking for a good time, at whatever or whoever's expense. I really don't see where their qualifications lie; other than the stereotypical perception of what a native-English speaker should look like. In Vietnam's isolation as a homogeneous culture, it overlooks the history of colonialism and imperialism that has spread the English language to all corners of the world and across many continents, or the diversity of America: only 60-70% of Americans are white; most secondary English speakers have a higher grammatical command over the language than most native-speakers who got their English through elementary school and quickly forgot all those rules.

sorry for the rant, I just feel so much pressure. Currently I'm living with reluctant relatives, since I have the problem of having an American last name (my dad's) the local police haven't given me permission to reside with my cousins, until I can prove my relationship to them, since my mom left in 1975, they've burned all her records; including her birth certificate.

I know they want all foreigners to stay in hotels and support the tourism dependent economy, but I feel like I'm doing Vietnam more a justice by not contributing to that dependency; or the bribery expected from the local authorities to pad their pockets, since this is extortion, if they threaten to refuse my permission to get my visa extended because I'm residing where I haven't been granted official permission.

It's one of those hoops they expect me to jump through, I'm going to the Consulate tomorrow to get my birth certificate notarized, feel like I'm getting nickeled and dimed by my home country, $50 for a piece of paper, thought only Vietnamese operated that way.

I was wondering, would it help to get my hair colored, and wear fake contacts if it got me the better job, then go back to the salon and undo the hair later after I'm sitting with the contract I want. I currently have brown hair. My natural is salt and pepper, but you said they don't really hire older teachers.

Any advice, suggestions would help. My dad's a former English teacher, but he didn't do it to make a living, he did it more as a missionary and lived on prayers and charity, and he's been telling me that's all I can expect in such a poor underdeveloped country.


Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com

Holy Cow! Long Post. Headache is forming as I look at it. My brain is petrifying as I read and your picture is like a resume picture but I can't get you a job. Not anymore. If I said I could, I'd be doomed and flooded with resumes.

Your dad is out of touch. Not his fault but please don't heed his advice. It may have been true in the 70s but not anymore. I left a $22USD an hour job in Ho Chi Minh City and never went back. That's another story but the place (Vietnam) is one of the best places to save money anywhere in SE Asia.

The CELTA is awarded by the University of Cambridge and graded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

Since it is recognised internationally, it is a particularly popular credential to have. Yours is also internationally recognized but it won't get the same attention a CELTA will. Every Schoolmaster has heard of it and it is the most expensive teaching Certificate to get.

You don't need it and I don't recommend it because you have a solid foundation. Except one point. "I have not yet finished my degree".

Dude, finish your degree before you start bloating your resume with unnessecary extras.

Are you sure that is the point of your post and trip back to the father-land? I sense that you want to reclaim something you lost when your mother passed and her records were burned.

But, none of my business.

Frat-Boys, huh? Do yourself a favor and focus on you and not what other people have. It will hurt you if you measure what others have and not on what you have.

Remember that the Vietnamese people are demanding the blue-eyed people as teachers. It is not the fault of the frat-boys that they are paid so high and offered work so easily.

It may not be fair but life is never fair and no human will say no when offered a high-paying job because Vietnamese people refuse to learn from asian-looking people.

Act like a farang and get your hair colored? have you gone mad? I had a Viet friend in Saigon who was born in South Cal. He graduated from USC with a degree in education. He earned the same as every white-boy.

You won't have those options without a degree. You will be working for a private school and they will try everything to pay you as a Vietnamese. Don't let them.

You will get hired without a degree. You will have 4% of the problems you are worried sick about. You have to go despite whatever reason you make up to hold you back.

Dress like a model. Don't drink before an interview. Lie until the job is yours. I do hope you get going and do this. I can see your passion and that is a sign that something is telling you to go. Call it instinct but you have to follow it.

Get on the ---- plane. Locate what you need to, get a mobile phone (Or bring one with you. it must use a Sim card) jump on a moto taxi and ask him to take you to 5 schools. Drop off your resume at each and wait for the calls. Do not write "I have not finished my University Degree", on your resume.

Better to say "I am working on my degree this year and will be complated soon."

Have a good time, my friend.


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