Teach English in Laos – the following comments are from English teachers who have taught, or currently teach English in Laos.
If you are planning to teach English in Laos, here is some advice regarding students. Due to the culture of saving face, Lao students are considered shy and are not usually brave to share ideas. Therefore, teachers need to make themselves familiar and get to know students as much as you can. Once you know them well and they feel comfortable studying with you, they will participate more. Hope to see you in Laos.
Most local English “schools” will pay foreigners between $6 and $10 per lesson (of up to 90 mins). Classes are sometimes held in the morning but are mostly in the evenings. Due to the low income levels in Lao a teacher may only have a few lessons per week – possibly enough to cover a single persons basic existence. There are several expats and foreigners who have married local girls who are happy to “teach’ for a few extra bucks. There are a few regular schools that require teachers of English and Mandarin (a growing Chinese population). Lao is laid back and a nice place to chill out. Don’t get uptight that many things don’t happen when you expect them to. Timeliness and reliability are not traits that make Lao so laid back.
I grew up in Laos and went to school there. I know the teaching and learning system well. I came to America at the age of 20 and started to learn English. It is very hard. However, I graduated from CSU Stanislaus and got the teaching credential. I taught in California for a few years, not teaching at the moment, and thinking about teaching overseas.
1. Teaching English in America and teaching English in Laos may be two different ball games. Be prepared to suffer a little bit in terms of living conditions (depends on where you want to teach/stay).
2. Learn the language if possible, so you can understand them even though you can not talk back.
3. Beware of cultural differences. Children do not look at the teacher in the eyes when the teacher is in command. It is disrespectful to look. A child may look downcast, but he/she is listening and paying attention. So, don’t try, “Look at me, I am talking to you.”
4. All teachers are highly respected. They have the right to control the student in and out of the classroom or school.
5. Students in Laos are very well behaved, they are never expected to talk back or argue against the teacher. This the system there.
6. Students can deserve physical punishment depending on what problem they cause. (According to my experience 20 years ago in Laos).
7. Discipline, even though you believe in Western ways, try to adjust to their system it will give you a class of zero discipline problems.
8. You will not hear a complaint from the parents.
What else? In terms of personal security and cleanliness, you have to suffer a bit. Hope this helps.
I was teaching English in Thailand and always went to Laos for my Non B Visa. At the end of my contract I decided to stay in Laos and had no idea how to get a job there, cause the internet doesn’t give much info about it. On the second day in Laos, Vientiane I found a job in a good school. Here’s how I did it.
1. Stay in a guesthouse and rent a mountainbike or motorbike.
2. Go to the next minimart and get yourself a map of the city and start to circle all schools on it.
3. Make plenty of copies of your CV’s and start to distribute them in every school. That’s it!
Salary depends on your experience and qualifications. Usually around 850 -1000 USD.