Eighty percent of the teachers who participated in a survey last year said that they want to find another job.
The survey was conducted by Nguyen Xuan Thoi, the investor of Worldkids Preschool in Ho Chi Minh City, for his research paper to graduate from a master’s program run by the Dutch Maastricht School of Management in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City.
The research about important factors affecting the recruitment of teachers at private preschools started last May.
Thoi said he was inspired by the questions of why teachers usually quit private preschools, and if the job’s pressure and salary have the most impact on their decision.
He randomly picked 300 teachers at several private preschools to carry out the survey.
The chosen teachers were of different ages and had different levels of salary, from nearly VND3 million (US$140) to more than VND10 million ($466) a month.
According to the survey, 54.5 percent said they feel honored to be a teacher, and 80 percent answered that they want another job.
About 75 percent said their salary was acceptable, and 53.4 percent felt satisfied with their welfare.
Thoi’s survey showed that factors which make private schools attractive to teachers include salary, workplace culture and environment, teaching motivation, and the chance to improve workmanship, among others.
Among them, the chance to improve workmanship and deserving positions at work are what teachers mainly focus on, according to the survey.
After the results of the survey were announced, many teachers expressed their opinions on the situation.
One common point is about the salary of preschool teachers.
“Currently, the salary of teachers in general and preschool teachers in particular is very low,” said Vo Truong Linh, from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education’s preschool department.
“Preschool teachers spend their whole day in class and have little chance to get more income from other jobs,” he added. In explaining why many teachers at private preschools want to find another job, Linh said many teachers, after being trained at private schools, want to move to public schools, because teachers there have more welfare.
“Many private schools want to have long-term development so they put a lot of investment into training the teaching teams,” Linh said.
“However, there is a trend that the majority of teachers want to teach at private schools first to improve their workmanship, and then they move to public schools for more stable welfare.”
Dang Thi Kim Anh, a student from the preschool department of Dong Thap University in the southern province of Dong Thap, shared her thoughts about her future after graduating.
“Teaching at preschools is a tough job with low income while we do not have much time for a private life since we have to put lot of time into preparing games for kids in class,” she said. “It’s hard for me to improve my workmanship at public schools, but private schools provide an unstable life.”
In addition, the pressure from the job is also one of the biggest problems.
N.H., a teacher at a private preschool in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City, said she has to suffer enormous pressure from parents and the school’s administrators, as well as from her students.
“Parents always want the best care for their children, but do not know how hard it is for us to fulfill our task,” H. complained.
“Every time our school receives an inspection delegation from educational agencies, the school’s administrators ask us to check our paperwork, however, we spend all day taking care of kids so we can only do the paperwork at night,” she added. “Sometimes I have to work late and get home at 10:00 pm.”
H. also added that many parents have a negative opinion of preschool teachers because they think that teachers could abuse their kids.
She also shared her intention to move to an elementary school.
Truong Thi Thoa, deputy principal of Giong Trom Town Preschool in southern Ben Tre Province, agreed that pressure could be the reason why preschool teachers want to quit their job.
According to Thoa, preschool teachers often work from six to eight hours per day at the school, not to mention the time spent attending meetings on weekends.
The remaining time of the day is used for preparing lesson plans and making studying tools.
Moreover, a preschool teacher is required to possess many skills from singing, dancing and painting to cooking, and organize activities related to those fields, which is extremely time-consuming.
Many teachers do not even have time to take care of their families.
Thoa added that some parents advocate for and spoil their kids, interfering with the teachers’ methods of education.
Truong Thi Thoa shared her wish that authorities will provide preschool teachers with more care and better welfare, as well as have specific policies for them.
“Our activities change every day and we always have to change and renew our studying tools with our own money,” Thoa said.
“Meanwhile, we also hope to receive more cooperation from parents so that we can join together to educate children.” In his research, Thoi suggested short-term plans to improve the situation.
“Having a good working environment helps teachers create a stable spirit and do their job well,” Thoi said.
“My personal experiences show that a school’s fair, detailed and clear policies, together with love and respect for teachers, are the ways to keep the teachers staying,” he added.
Dr. Truong Thi Lan Anh, an instructor of the master’s program of the Ducth Maastricht School of Management, said schools should pay attention to the “invisible” environment surrounding teachers.
“That’s the environment of culture, spirit and love,” she said. “Schools should also care about creating conditions for teachers and parents to cooperate, get to know and understand each other.”