'Backpacker' teacher

There is a "backpacker" community of teachers in Vietnam - young people from Western countries who are not professional teachers, are hired to teach English.

With the promotion of "100% foreign teachers", many English language centers in Vietnam push tuition fees to the sky. Business flourishes, the market thrives, new English language centers grow like mushrooms.

I often hear people say that if they want to learn standard English effectively, they must learn with native teachers. Because according to them, most Vietnamese teachers do not pronounce correctly, backward teaching methods, focus on heavy grammar while today people have a need to learn communication skills. Many parents are not afraid to pay extra for their children to study with native teachers: or more correctly, foreign teachers from the West.

Of course, we cannot argue that native teachers have some outstanding advantages. Firstly, they have more extensive native language knowledge and give readers the opportunity to acquire standard English, especially in pronunciation. Secondly, they often teach in a fun way of communicating, focusing on developing speaking skills instead of focusing on grammar and doing long homework. Third, they are fluent in English-speaking countries (or Western culture) and can help Vietnamese students learn about Western customs and practices and everyday life.

However, I would like to emphasize that the "native" factor is not enough for a teacher to be able to teach well. Besides, there are many other important factors such as teaching experience, qualifications, teachers' personality, the ability to understand the needs and difficulties of Vietnamese people, the ability to sympathize and inspire. No matter where you come from, a good teacher must possess a certain amount of competence.

Due to increasing demand for native teachers, many English language centers want to take advantage of the market situation to make money and they are willing to recruit any foreign teachers without really wondering the quality of the teaching. their. It is okay to speak English and have a good appearance (good looking) (blonde, light skin, blue eyes, the better). They will run after profits and loose management, making promises to parents. But never mind, it's important that I'm happy! And they will promote advertising "" 100% foreign teachers "as a miracle medicine for English diseases of Vietnamese people.

This phenomenon created an entire "backpacker" teacher community with an average salary of twenty dollars an hour. They teach not only in English centers, but also in many public schools. They want to make money easily and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Vietnam. Moreover, they are called "teachers" and are respected by the whole society although many of them did not do this job before coming to Vietnam.

They adapt quite quickly to the Vietnamese lifestyle, often ride motorcycles and like to travel on holidays. Sometimes they only work as teachers in Vietnam for a short time (6-12 months), save some money and then go to another country.

Over the past five years, I have met many such "teachers". And although Vietnamese people often dislike talking about this issue, I feel it is necessary to clarify a few things.

Firstly, many teachers 'backpackers' lack qualifications and certificates so they cannot apply for work permits. As a result, they work underground, work illegally and do not pay taxes. To cover the situation, many center owners have to bribe government officials to turn a blind eye, which contributes to the rise of domestic corruption.

Second, there are some parents who are surprised when they go to school, find that their child's teacher does not look like they think, dress arbitrarily, not really professional. Such cases tarnish the reputation of true teachers like me. Because besides the `` backpacker '' teachers as mentioned above, in Vietnam, there are also many foreign teachers with professional certificates, dedicated and responsible working attitude to home careers. spear. In the West as in Vietnam, there are good and bad people, good teachers and bad teachers. I hope that Vietnamese people will always know how to distinguish those two types.

Third, we must recognize that despite the efforts and financial sacrifices of many parents, Vietnamese English proficiency has not progressed as expected. For example, not too long ago we learned that this year Vietnam dropped to 52 in the world's largest English proficiency rankings. We must approach English in a more critical way, understand that there is no magic remedy and its effectiveness depends on many factors such as curriculum, teaching methods, motivation and attitudes of students, not just nationalities of teachers. In addition, Vietnamese centers and schools must recruit foreign teachers based on strict and objective criteria, paying attention to teaching skills instead of prioritizing appearance or nationality.

At the same time, parents must learn more about the center's professional standards before deciding to invest money. Instead of setting expectations for teachers, parents must understand that their child's attitude, motivation, and study habits will always be the deciding factor.

Finally, as far as I know, some large English language centers in Vietnam discriminate against Vietnamese teachers in some form: for example, they may not consider applications for teachers from domestic teachers. and only hire foreign teachers. I know many Vietnamese teachers who are qualified, speak English very well and even have studied in England, and they still feel stigmatized because of their nationality. This is an awkward problem because the centers justify that reason because the parents ask foreign teachers.

Anyway, I feel that many Vietnamese people tend to feel so inferior and inferior that they can discriminate against themselves. Why do many Vietnamese still tend to foreign students, considering what comes from abroad is better than us?

Marko Nikolic
(Originally in Vietnamese)