Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life of ... Brian Lalor: Feature

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life of ... Brian Lalor: Feature

Article excerpt

A deep respect for education is one of many reasons why Vietnam is such a rewarding place to work. But will this English teacher at an international school ever get used to the smog in Hanoi?

I no longer need an alarm clock. After 10 years of teaching, I just know when I have to get up. I grab my phone and tiptoe out of the room, so as not to wake my sleeping wife and baby.

It is 5.30am and the locals are already out exercising. My morning routine is a swim and four chapters of the Bible. Then I get dressed, jump on my scooter and weave through the Hanoi traffic. I arrive at Singapore International School just before 8am.

Most Hanoians live very different lives to those of my students. The average wage is about $200 (Pounds 120) a month, but children at international schools usually come from affluent families. It is not uncommon to see them being driven to school in an expensive vehicle such as a Mercedes- Benz.

My fifth-grade students are full of life. I have playground duty most mornings and enjoy welcoming the 10- and 11-year-olds and their parents. Family is very important in Asia. One of the keys to successful teaching here is to build strong relationships with students and their families. Parents in developing countries invest a lot of money in their children's education and it is our duty to give them the best possible experience.

Students at my school learn Vietnamese and English. The day usually begins with an English lesson. I have 18 students in my class and they are seated in three groups of six. …

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