Recently, I signed a 6 month contract with Language Link with whom I will be working evenings and full weekends on Lang Ha in the Dong Da District. I must say, it’s on a whole new level compared to the public schools I teach or have taught for previously.
First impressions are directed immediately to the professionalism of the place. The staff, particulary the Vietnamese staff in reception, dress smart, the layout of the centre is immaculate, the resource centre is unbelievable – basically a whole library dedicated to resources for lessons (projects, activities, games, course books, supplements, materials needed for particular activities and games, etc.)
I was shown around the building and noticed that the classes are all of similar layout, colour scheme and size, except for the pre-starters class (which is a huge, incredible looking, play-friendly room designed for the 6 and 7 year olds who are merely there to be introduced to a classroom environment). The classrooms are pretty unexciting with bare white walls, a grey notice board, a whiteboard, a map, and a phonics chart and a row of seats against the wall on both sides of the room. However, a little creativity can go a long way and a lesson doesn’t have to be as boring as the room.
When I first started working at Language Link, I must say that the current teaching staff were not the most welcoming of people. I accept that people must come and go, and for the more long-term colleagues, it must get pretty tedious having to be friendly and chatty to newcomers. But, frankly, they made me feel pretty unwelcome and pretty isolated. However, as the weeks have progressed and I too have made some more effort in talking to people, I must say first impressions are not all that, and the teachers at Language Link are, on the whole, pretty lovely.
I have already taught many different classes here, from pre-starters, up to Profession English Adults. PE Adults have been my most challenging class so far – I am expected to give them a business-based lesson, and honestly I have never felt so stressed and pressured as I do when planning for their class. I panic so much about having to give them a good lesson, because they are aware of my age, experience, and the fact that it is them who are paying for these lessons, not their parents. I usually spend my entire day planning for this lesson. I have to say though, that since teaching this class (who are actually all awesome, and I’m sure I’m being silly stressing out about it so much), I have actually found my teenagers’ classes (which originally terrified me), have become a doddle. I feel they are finally warming to me and we have started to banter and feel more comfortable around each other.
Without a doubt, I find my favourite level in Language Link is Movers 3 & 4. These kids age from 8 to 11, and are truly remarkable kids. I have many classes of this level thankfully, and they all use the same, awesome book (Family & Friends 4 – I definitely recommend the Family & Friends books for any level!)
One other thing I really appreciate in this centre is the small classes – averaging at around 16 students per class – a definite improvement from the 60 students per class at NgocKhanhPrimary School!!
In just a little over a month of working at Language Link, I have already had parents meetings, had to write reports on students I barely know, grade them, and have had to learn yet another 200+ new students’ names. I am extremely happy to have bagged this job, as it has been by far the most educational experience for me, the most stress-free, and so far, the most rewarding. Due to this being an internationally recognized company with centres all over the world, I hope that, should I teach elsewhere, this job will set me in good stead for any future teaching career.