Chances are by this point in your ESL job search you’ve read a lot of negativity about DTLC, but you’re probably still thinking that working in Vietnam would be cool, and wondering if the Dang Tuan Language Center is as bad as your Google search is telling you.
Whatever issues DTLC has had in the past (whether they were genuine or inflated by a disgruntled former employee), my time at Dang Tuan was well-spent and my memories are pleasant ones. DTLC is legit, the much-touted “Fat Foreign Uncle” rocks, the staff at DTLC are completely supportive as well as a great deal of fun, the city of Hai Phong has a lot to offer, and the job itself is one that I’m glad to have taken.
I was able to teach in three very different settings: primary schools in very much a rural setting (where often we teachers were the first westerners the students interacted with, it was as if we were The Beatles, and every day was a blast), Secondary schools in the fairly large city of Hai Phong, and in what DTLC refers to as “the AB center”, loosely equated to a Korean-style hagwon. Each setting is dramatically different from the others, but all made me a stronger teacher. Working in different settings (oftentimes on the same day) prevented a monotonous rut, and that I’m very thankful for.
I am also thankful for the staff, interns and teachers that I was surrounded by. I liked Rodney (“Fat Foreign Uncle”) immediately during our initial Skype interview, and that never changed. He is a terrific coach, a wealth of teaching information, an expert on all things Vietnamese and a guy that you’ll want to hang out with. Same goes for all of the “Red Shirt Gang” (as a teacher you’ll be expected to wear a provided DTLC shirt, which is red), a great mix of Vietnamese teaching assistants, interns from all over the globe and a staff filled with much kindness and great smiles.
Due to circumstances back home I had to (very reluctantly) break my contract, turn in my red shirts and leave Hai Phong. The Dang Tuan Language Center was very understanding and kindly paid me for my time working with no nonsense and no passive-aggressiveness. DTLC was more than honourable, and I’m more than grateful.
Whatever cynicism you’ve read about Dang Tuan Language Center, I can assure you that working in Vietnam is indeed cool, and a position with DTLC is worth pursuing. You get to be a Beatle, and you’ll receive a lot of joyous enthusiasm. I hope to return to Vietnam someday and raise a glass with one of the Red Shirt Gang again, discussing time well-spent. Cheers.