Thursday 27th April, Teacher Naomi

6:30am – Wake up as the sun rises and get ready for my penultimate day of the week teaching. It doesn’t take long to slip my work clothes on and I’m out the door (it’s too early for breakfast).

6:50 – Hop on my moped and make the 30 minute ride to school. Traffic isn’t so bad at this time as it’s early. Most locals start the day at the normal time of 9am, so I only have to battle with school kids and their parents attempting to get them to school before 7am. My Thursday school is slightly further away from the others that I teach at. It feels more rural and I pass a local market to get there, selling lots of fly infested meats (including dog, which is very obvious as the carcasses are still whole). It’s not what you want to see at 7am but it’s a side of Saigon I’d never get the chance to experience otherwise.

7:30am – Begin my first lesson of the day, following my Vietnamese teaching assistant into an already sticky with humidity class. It’s a grade 2 class of about 40 kids and as the little ones always tend to be, they’re excited when I arrive, waving enthusiastically. They greet me with a ‘Hello Teachaa Naomi, how are you today?’ in chorus (including well rehearsed hand actions). Today we’re learning to describe people; what kind of hair they have, the colour of their eyes, and so on. This class is 70 minutes long, with a 5 minute break half way through for me to cool down, drink some water and take a seat.

Look what the kids made out of rubbish!

8:45 – It’s break time and I retreat to the staff room for half an hour of peace. I might reply to some messages from back home or just read the news on my phone. Sometimes I’ll nibble on some crackers to see me through the next lesson.

9:25 – Another grade 2, 70 minute lesson, identical to the one before break time. This always tends to go smoother as I’ve practiced once before. However I’m more tired by this point and the day is warming up, so by the end of the lesson I’m a sweaty mess.

Sweaty teacher Lawrence

10:45 – I’m back on the bike and heading back home for lunch. All of the kids at school eat very early here, as the middle of the day is too hot for any teaching. After lunch they’ll take a long nap before afternoon classes commence.

11:30 – After changing into something more comfortable and downing some water, Lawrence and I make lunch in the flat. We have rice and vegetables bought from the supermarket earlier in the week (tomatoes and courgettes are the usual) with some soy sauce. We’re normally very hungry at this time, despite most people’s days in the UK just getting going. After washing up and repacking for our afternoon classes, we laze around and relax, chatting, reading, or maybe taking a quick dip in the pool.

13:10 – It’s time to head back to school on the bike. The sun is scorching and I can feel it beating down on my arms.

13:45 – I have a grade 3 lesson for 35 minutes right after lunch. They’re a little noisy and need reigning in every now and then, but it generally goes smoothly. I teach them about different items of clothing as per the curriculum. A 35 minute lesson always flies by and I struggle to feel like I teach them anything in such a short period of time.

Cheeky selfie with the kids
Cheeky selfie during the break

14:20 – It’s back to cheeky grade 2’s and the same 70 minute lesson I taught this morning, only this time the break in the middle is longer.

15:00 – Break time for half an hour in the staff room. I resent this half hour break as I’d much rather continue teaching straight through and get my day over sooner rather dragging it out.

15:30 – My last 35 minutes of the day teaching the remainder of my grade 2 class.

16:05 – Home time!

18:00 – Most lesson planning will have been finished by this point in the week so we normally relax after school or do a few other chores like washing or travel planning. Then it’s dinner time somewhere local. We go to our favourite Banh Cuon lady just 5 minutes walk away and devour the fragrant rice pancake sausage feast.


19:30 – We watch a film in bed after all packing for Friday morning classes are finished.

22:00 – It’s an early bed time for us ready for another 6:30am start tomorrow, and we’re knackered!