Everybody who wants to go to Vietnam and become an ESL teacher is wondering when is the best and the worst time to go. There are some changes during a year in the demand for ESL teachers and this is what I try to analyze here.
Beginning of the year, January and February, is in my opinion the worst time to come and find a job in Vietnam. That’s because during this period everybody waits for the Vietnamese New Year (Tet Holiday). Nobody takes any new class during this period and usually the schools don’t hire new teachers. Everybody has about two weeks vacation during the Vietnamese New Year.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and someone might be hired during this period. I found my first teaching job in January. However, it is a good period to come and experience the Vietnamese lifestyle before starting the teaching adventure.
This is a good period for finding a new teaching English job. After Tet Holiday everybody set up goals for the new year and one of the goals is to study English. During these three months English centers usually have more customers (learners) and English teachers can see significant increase in the teaching hours they have.
June, July, and August means summer vacation and that is good and bad at the same time. It is bad because many students who are from countryside are coming back to their hometowns. So, if there are fewer students then is very unlikely to find a teaching job. For me personally, June is the worst period of the year when it comes to teaching. This year, in June, I am totally free.
But, it is also good. Saigon is a big city and there are many children and teenagers who take advantage of their vacation and try to study English. Many schools have a special English program for summer and they do need an English teacher at least for the summer period.
Public schools close their doors during summer vacation but again, they might have English summer programs. There are many public schools who hire foreigners for teaching English (usually through recruitment agencies) and the demand for English teacher is lower since they need the teacher only for the summer program that might last 1 month only. However, the demand rises again when the new school year starts in the second part of August.
In September everybody starts the new school year (in the second part of August actually). There is a greater amount of teaching English positions and I believe it is the best period of the year to find a teaching job. If you are interested in teaching English for public schools then the second part of August is the best period, otherwise probably after September 2nd (National Day of Vietnam).
At first glance December doesn’t seem to be the best time for finding an English teaching job since it is packed with holidays and festivals. But that is not true in Vietnam. Vietnamese “celebrate” only Christmas which means everybody goes out and block the traffic. Interesting enough, they think that the Christmas day is on December 24th. But, because the western world is packed with holidays during December, many English teachers who decide to come back to their countries are likely to do it in December (or maybe before Thanksgiving) and anyway Tet Holiday (Vietnamese New Year) is coming in January or February. I always feel strange in Vietnam during December holidays.
So, there is an increase in the demand for English teachers in this period of the year.
As a reminder, I want you to understand and always remember that having relations with other English teachers is very important in finding an English teaching job because they can recommend you to other schools. Make sure you let everybody know that you are looking for a job.