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Pros & Cons of Teaching in Taiwan
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Globe Trekker 2012



Joined: 20 Jan 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:36 pm    Post subject: Pros & Cons of Teaching in Taiwan Reply with quote

I have beenn able to learn a lot about working hours and salaries through the ads, but how about people's experiences of working and living in Taiwan? What would you say are the pros & cons?

Just by looking at the postings here, Taiwan seems to be of a calmer place that South Korea (where teachers report a lot of heated experiences with employers & kimchi). Mind you, some teachers really love Korea for the adventures.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are looking for a one year adventure, then I think that Taiwan is a good choice. If you are looking for somewhere to stay long term, then I recommend looking somewhere else.
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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pros: you're in Taiwan

Cons: you're in Taiwan
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creztor



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All in fairness, if you are looking for something long term then why bother with EFL? If you become a certified teacher in your home country you will more than likely end up earning MUCH more than you ever would in TEFL plus you have the opportunity to climb up the ladder if you so desire.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe things are different in Canada but it can be a challenge to secure a teaching job in the United States even if one is certified. They are laying off teachers in the U.S.
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creztor



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And we aren't all from the USA. Plus, what do you think is going to happen to the EFL industry when all these exporting countries find that the US/EUR and other countries cut back heavily on buying the $2 shit they export? EFL positions, at least those filled by foreigners and in low level positions like cram schools, are going to be the first that get hit. Mr and Mrs Lin will be forced between taking little Chen out of English or Chinese and math cram school classes, and I know what they'll pick.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

creztor wrote:
All in fairness, if you are looking for something long term then why bother with EFL? If you become a certified teacher in your home country you will more than likely end up earning MUCH more than you ever would in TEFL plus you have the opportunity to climb up the ladder if you so desire.


I doubt that too many people would want to spend 25 to 30 years teaching children from English speaking countries, no matter if it is England, Canada, Ireland, Australia, or the US.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to take issue with the "can't climb the ladder [in Taiwanese TEFL]" thing. I don't agree with that.

Okay, so you start out as a buxiban teacher just like virtually everyone else...

...you could work for a chain school like Hess and get raises and promotions, like becoming Head NST or working for corporate (not that I advocate working for Hess, but many foreign teachers have done just that and climbed the ladder).

...you could get an MA TESOL or MA Applied Linguistics while living in Taiwan and move up to college/uni teaching.

...you could start your own cram school and become Mr. Laoban.

...you could live in Taiwan for at least five years, earn your APRC (or citizenship, or get married and get a JFRV), and go after more lucrative and higher-paying gigs.

So there. Four ways to "climb the ladder" of Taiwanese EFL.

It's true that you won't be able to climb the ladder at a mom & pop buxiban, but as I have just demonstrated, you CAN climb the ladder of Taiwanese EFL, but it will take a certain drive for self-improvement that quite frankly, most EFL teachers don't have. However, I have personally met people who have done all four of these things.

And...that's not even including the plethora of non-teaching jobs you could theoretically do once you have fluent Chinese and an APRC (if you're driven like that, most people aren't).
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creztor



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starting your own school is definitely not climbing the ladder in my books. As soon as you do that you are out of the EFL game and are an entrepreneur/EFL teacher. Am I being anal? Maybe, but to me you are no longer just an EFL teacher as you have suddenly become a boss who is running his own business and your concerns extend beyond just teaching. There is definitely a chance you "could" find more lucrative things with an APRC, but the vast majority of people are never going to do this. Yes, I like generalizing and talking about absolutes Smile

I am not saying there is NO ladder to climb in EFL, something my post obviously just ignored and I should have been a little clearer, my bad, but if you want money and a "career" to boot then EFL is generally pointless. People would be much better off getting certified and then staying as teachers in their home country OR going to work overseas in an international school etc. There are definitely many MORE pay rungs to climb just as a teacher back home, plus you'll be much more respected than the typical sticky ball throwing buxiban teacher in Taiwan. You also have the opportunity, slim and obviously not for all, of becoming a head teacher or maybe even a principal if that really floats your boat.

What's that? There's more to life than money? Definitely, but I think a lot of people get into EFL thinking there is some career to advance, but for the most part there isn't. However, as always, if you are REALLY determined then I am SURE someone could do VERY well EFL and be able to set themselves up nicely, but, again, I love to generalize and it just doesn't happen.
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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here, Here...

I think that the general lack of respect that most owners / managers have for their teachers (western or asian) definitely restricts the average EFL teacher from looking at this as anything more than a way to make reasonable money in an environment where income (that is significantly lower than the average in the west) affords you a much better lifestyle than it would in your western country of choice.

There are no significant rewards for dedication / loyalty here. If you think there are just ask your boss for a raise / tell him that you want a week of paid vacation and see how they react. It's why previous teaching experience counts for so little - I don't care what you did for them, what have you done for ME lately??

At the school where I am teaching adults and kids, three VERY senior teachers have quit or been 'let go' because their usefulness had diminished i.e there were more popular / energetic / personable teachers available. Their hours dwindled to almost zero so that they were forced to do / say something and seek alternate employment.

These teachers, on average, had been working for this school for 8 years each. Thanks for coming out...

You're only appreciated so long as you're a benefit, the past is irrelevant, whatever you did then makes no difference now and don't forget - no matter how good you think you are - no matter how popular you are with your students - you can be replaced at the drop of a hat.

Why would you choose to make this working environment your 'career'?
For me, it's a way to save money for trips in S.E Asia and beyond - but it's getting really, really old...
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yamahuh wrote:
Here, Here...

I think that the general lack of respect that most owners / managers have for their teachers (western or asian) definitely restricts the average EFL teacher from looking at this as anything more than a way to make reasonable money in an environment where income (that is significantly lower than the average in the west) affords you a much better lifestyle than it would in your western country of choice.

There are no significant rewards for dedication / loyalty here. If you think there are just ask your boss for a raise / tell him that you want a week of paid vacation and see how they react. It's why previous teaching experience counts for so little - I don't care what you did for them, what have you done for ME lately??

At the school where I am teaching adults and kids, three VERY senior teachers have quit or been 'let go' because their usefulness had diminished i.e there were more popular / energetic / personable teachers available. Their hours dwindled to almost zero so that they were forced to do / say something and seek alternate employment.

These teachers, on average, had been working for this school for 8 years each. Thanks for coming out...

You're only appreciated so long as you're a benefit, the past is irrelevant, whatever you did then makes no difference now and don't forget - no matter how good you think you are - no matter how popular you are with your students - you can be replaced at the drop of a hat.

Why would you choose to make this working environment your 'career'?
For me, it's a way to save money for trips in S.E Asia and beyond - but it's getting really, really old...


Only an idiot tries to move up in Asian EFL by being really dedicated to his current job.

In order to move up in Asian EFL, you have to improve yourself -- MA TESOL, MA Applied Linguistics, or a degree in education (preferably with valid teacher's license).

Or if you don't like to study, save up lots of capital and start your own school.

Aside from a few HNSTs at Hess or that sort of thing, most people who think they'll get promoted at their current buxiban are chumps.

The way to move up in the Asian EFL game is to improve yourself (education, capital, etc.) and change jobs.

And honestly, why should someone get paid more just for having seniority? Does he/she produce anything that a younger/less senior teacher doesn't? Is he/she somehow more deserving of money/benefits strictly because he/she was born first? In my opinion, the answer is a loud, resounding "NO."
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yamahuh



Joined: 23 Apr 2004
Posts: 1026
Location: Karaoke Hell

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just not going to get into it with you Rooster - partly because it's been a long day and I'm tired, partly because I just can't be bothered but mostly because I just don't care enough one way or the other Wink
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yamahuh wrote:
I'm just not going to get into it with you Rooster - partly because it's been a long day and I'm tired, partly because I just can't be bothered but mostly because I just don't care enough one way or the other Wink
Okay.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3823
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
yamahuh wrote:
Here, Here...

I think that the general lack of respect that most owners / managers have for their teachers (western or asian) definitely restricts the average EFL teacher from looking at this as anything more than a way to make reasonable money in an environment where income (that is significantly lower than the average in the west) affords you a much better lifestyle than it would in your western country of choice.

There are no significant rewards for dedication / loyalty here. If you think there are just ask your boss for a raise / tell him that you want a week of paid vacation and see how they react. It's why previous teaching experience counts for so little - I don't care what you did for them, what have you done for ME lately??

At the school where I am teaching adults and kids, three VERY senior teachers have quit or been 'let go' because their usefulness had diminished i.e there were more popular / energetic / personable teachers available. Their hours dwindled to almost zero so that they were forced to do / say something and seek alternate employment.

These teachers, on average, had been working for this school for 8 years each. Thanks for coming out...

You're only appreciated so long as you're a benefit, the past is irrelevant, whatever you did then makes no difference now and don't forget - no matter how good you think you are - no matter how popular you are with your students - you can be replaced at the drop of a hat.

Why would you choose to make this working environment your 'career'?
For me, it's a way to save money for trips in S.E Asia and beyond - but it's getting really, really old...


Only an idiot tries to move up in Asian EFL by being really dedicated to his current job.

In order to move up in Asian EFL, you have to improve yourself -- MA TESOL, MA Applied Linguistics, or a degree in education (preferably with valid teacher's license).

Or if you don't like to study, save up lots of capital and start your own school.

Aside from a few HNSTs at Hess or that sort of thing, most people who think they'll get promoted at their current buxiban are chumps.

The way to move up in the Asian EFL game is to improve yourself (education, capital, etc.) and change jobs.

And honestly, why should someone get paid more just for having seniority? Does he/she produce anything that a younger/less senior teacher doesn't? Is he/she somehow more deserving of money/benefits strictly because he/she was born first? In my opinion, the answer is a loud, resounding "NO."


Start your own school. Unless you uncover some area in a small town with no schools, that isn't a good idea. The number of students are decreasing due to low birth rates and there are buixbans on every corner.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JZer wrote:
Start your own school. Unless you uncover some area in a small town with no schools, that isn't a good idea. The number of students are decreasing due to low birth rates and there are buixbans on every corner.

Oh man, not the good ol' "low birth rate" cop-out again.

Look, I'm not disagreeing that the birth rate is low. But English teachers in Taiwan blame everything on the low birth rate when actually it's far more complicated than that.

Your hours are dropping? Low birth rate.
Your boss is treating you like a doormat? Low birth rate.
Your students are all quitting? Low birth rate.
You missed the bus this morning? Low birth rate.
Your girlfriend dumped you? Low birth rate.
You got arrested after drinking a whole bottle of mijiu and getting in a fight? Low birth rate.

First of all, the birth rate may be lower, but Taiwanese people's expendable incomes are higher than ever!

The buxibans that are being hurt by the low birth rate are the ones that set up their business plans before the birth rate dropped. Their business models were designed for a 2.0 or 1.8 birth rate. Such businesses made lots of errors (purchasing/renting a large piece of real estate, counting on profit margin x, hiring too many staff) that YOU don't have to make.

The key to starting a cram school these days is to make it small and dynamic and adapt it to today's demographics and today's needs. Design it with today's conditions in mind, not the conditions of 20 years ago.

The New, Dynamic Cram School for the 2010s:
1. Small real estate (fewer students, so no need for a big building like the "old school" cram schools that are stuck paying high rents with lots of empty classrooms)
2. Fewer staff -- why have 20 staff when the actual number of students currently enrolled only warrants 10?
3. More automation and use of computers (most buxiban owners don't really know how to use a computer, and automation for certain repetitive parts could REALLY improve the buxiban industry)
4. More classes for adults and senior citizens, whose numbers, unlike the children, are NOT decreasing (and may be traveling the world and want to learn some English)

I think if a person keeps the above four points in mind, he can make a smaller, lighter, faster, more dynamic cram school that can run circles around the old, clunky "dinosaur" cram schools.

Seriously, this is like 65 million years ago. Most cram schools right now are like dinosaurs -- big, inefficient, and requiring lots of food (new students) to survive. Be a mouse. Be small, light, and low-maintenance, and survive on grains, nuts, and berries while all the dinosaurs are freezing/starving to death.
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