School wind-down

Winding down to the school year’s end on June 30, the work is easy.

Basically, turn up on time, keep the students quiet and (pre)occupied, collect your pay.

Keeping them occupied can mean setting a simple written assignment,or showing them a movie. Both mostly void having to move or talk – perfect!

After today, there are only three more days at the school before summer break.

New Kid on the Block

Monday morning and a pale new face belonging to a South African appears in the teachers’ room.

Chances are fair to middling that this isn’t good news for Yours Truly. That because the young and stick-thin chap is apparently a full-timer.

‘Apparently’ because he’s taken up a teachers’ room berth among the full-timers, who get their own dedicated work-stations. The lower ranks, such as myself, have to scramble for whatever berths are vacant.

To get full-time status, it’s almost certain that his contract runs into the new school term, beginning in early August. That makes him the fourth full-timer.

That’s the same complement as when I started. They covered most, but not all, English classes, but one of them didn’t return after January. Which all means that the Old Kid ( me ) might be for the ( chopping ) block.

You would think I could just ask directly about the arrangements for next term, but it’s not so simple.

Office politics mean other teachers’ employment details are a no-go zone. I learned this in Thailand after I was persuaded into revealing my wage to another English-speaking teacher, a native Italian. Turned out that I – as a native English speaker – was earning around 10% more than him, which didn’t go down well.

Also, teaching schedules are handed down from On High ( HR and principal ) , so it’s unlikely that anyone in the teachers’ room knows next term’s schedule.

I asked HR about work ongoing after the month-long July break, but they deflected with a promise to inform me as soon as there was news.

So, it’s time to brush up the CV, and start firing it out, just in case.

Meantime, I’ve almost recovered from the computer melt-down of a month ago, and more on that in another post. So time to brush off the cobwebs and start putting in some online teaching hours as insurance.

Back to School

I learned an hour ago that my school is back from next Monday, May 4th!

I’ll be teaching Monday – Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 11.45 a.m. You might think this is cause for celebration, and it is. But, the news comes with a large dollop of nerves.

Here’s why;

  • Rustiness

    It will have been more than three months since I last stood in front of a bunch of teenagers playing the role of teacher. Yes, I’ve been teaching online, but that’s a cakewalk compared.

  • Heat

    Hearsay, and a website, has it that air-conditioners won’t be allowed in classrooms. Covid-19, you understand. It’s coming up toward the middle of summer here, with temperatures feeling like mid-30s °C by late morning.

  • Covid-19 changes

    Students and teachers have to wear masks at all times, and keep a(n anti-) social distance of 1.5 metres. I expect there’ll also be rigorous washing of hands etc. All told, a different game to when I last played in January.

  • Moving

    Ramping up the pressure a little more, I’ve committed to moving apartments. I have to do it a day or two before school starts.

On the Other Hand

This is what I signed up for. I’ve done it before. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Covid-19 and me part VII

The Vietnam government has just extended the social distancing order for Khanh Hoa province for another week, and maybe more.

Which means that school’s still out , as it has been since February 2.

Now, the earliest that schools will return here in Nha Trang is April 22, and likely later.

My Vietnamese friend ‘Henry’ and I are a little puzzled as to why Khanh Hoa has been put in the ‘high risk’ basket. There’ve been no new cases here since the province was declared virus-free after our one case was cured on February 26.

There are noises from the peanut gallery about school re-opening here in May, but these are coming from chrystal-ball gazing. For now, no-one knows.

Flights leaving Vietnam are few and far between, and a recently-announced NZ Govt.-organised flight from HaNoi to NZ would be nigh impossible to get to. Travel restrictions.

My Visa here is paid until June 1, so for now at least, I’m staying put, and working online.

COVID-19 and … me

The Covid-19 virus continues to throw spanners in the works of my attempts to earn a crust here.

Far be it from me to take it personally, but I understand I am the only one of my school’s foreign teachers whose students are still unwelcome at school due to virus fears.

The earliest possible restart date for me is now March 16.

Meantime, I’m doing what I can to pay my way by teaching online. It’s not easy, because the mainly Japanese students have jobs, of all things, which mean that the peak teaching hours are awful ( 4 a.m. – 6 a.m. and 6.00 pm – 9.30 pm ).

As it stands, if school is again delayed on March 15 or earlier, I will more than likely be forced to leave Vietnam.