Teaching in Vietnam is more challenging than I expected.
I just had my first two classes on Wednesday – teenagers – and followed it up with an adult class on Thursday.
As far as enjoying it goes, cheap well in theory I do, clinic but in practice I'm finding it really hard. The kids don't contribute much and it's really difficult to know if you're getting through to them.Â All the things I learned about getting them to do all the talking and participation, purchase instead of yourself, is going out the window at the moment. I need to observe some seasoned teachers and find out how they go about things.
The problem is that they would rather mess around with each other in Vietnamese then contribute to my requests in English.
I have just come back from watching the footy in an Aussie bar and have spoken to an experienced teacher who said that they are like that for a few months before they start to come out of their shells.
So what I have to do is not worry about their silence, and just keep encouraging. If they don't talk I need to keep at it, but not get discouraged. Apparently it doesn't make me a bad teacher, it's just the way it is.
It's also quite hot in the classrooms and you have to wear a shirt and tie. If nothing else, I'm losing weight.
On the other hand, the adults contribute, listen, look at me with interest, want to learn, and are generally a real delight to teach. I wish I could only teach them.
In fact, the adult response is the reason I chose to do this in the first place.Â Maybe over time I might build up a bunch of private tuition students and teach them instead. They do pay better.
I have one class tomorrow and two more on Sunday. In between I am going looking for a bike to rent and moving into my new apartment. I met a guy tonight who has rented bikes for the last 10 years and he has sent me a number for a very good rental guy, so I'll go check him out tomorrow.
I still have doubts about moving into an apartment in the middle of nowhere, as nice as it is, and the girl with the room in her family's house contacted me again yesterday, really wanting me to move there. For those not following the script, the receptionist at my first hotel invited me to see some rooms in her family's house and really wants me to move in to one of them. She will even do whatever I want to make them comfortable – she keeps saying "It will be just like a hotel, don't worry". I think I need the solitude to balance the craziness of Saigon so I'll start with the apartment, and if it gets too much I'll reconsider the room in the middle of the city.
There is an incredible amount to photograph here, but I haven't had time to really do much since my arrival. When I am settled in to a routine I'd like to get away to the provinces on day trips and start shooting some things. For now I'm just concentrating on the business of survival, and setting myself up with the things I need such as an apartment and bike.
In other news, my cold comes and goes, but the worst is over. Things don't really work on normal hours over here, so my body is still coming to terms with it.
OK, time to create another lesson plan or two (although I am more and more inclined to just teach straight out of the book).
More photos coming later.