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New in Teaching

 
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t_panda03



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:52 am    Post subject: New in Teaching Reply with quote

I'm a UK Born Chinese interested in teaching in Taiwan I hold a Bsc degree and TEFL Certificate but have no teaching experience
I can also speak write and read Mandarin.

I have tried applying to major school chains such as Hess,Joy English schools Kojen only to be rejected with answer that shocked me such as

"I have many applicants with teaching experience , I have no time to entertain your application"

I've done research online and even spoke to some people who've teach abroad they've told me that teaching experience is not necessary or even a TEFL certificate.
Anyone else finding the job hunt difficult or is there something I'm missing?

Any advice or information are welcome
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: New in Teaching Reply with quote

t_panda03 wrote:
I'm a UK Born Chinese interested in teaching in Taiwan I hold a Bsc degree and TEFL Certificate but have no teaching experience
I can also speak write and read Mandarin.

I have tried applying to major school chains such as Hess,Joy English schools Kojen only to be rejected with answer that shocked me such as

"I have many applicants with teaching experience , I have no time to entertain your application"

I've done research online and even spoke to some people who've teach abroad they've told me that teaching experience is not necessary or even a TEFL certificate.
Anyone else finding the job hunt difficult or is there something I'm missing?

Any advice or information are welcome
When I advertised my job (buxiban, 15 hours a week, 600 NTD an hour, Kaohsiung), I got more than a dozen applications from a single ad placed on Kaohsiung Living. Most of the people who applied had teaching experience of some sort. Some of the people even had master's degrees! That's how the market is.

You may have heard that "it's easy to find a teaching job in Asia." That may be true for China (maybe even Korea), but it is NOT true for Taiwan. There is a huge glut of teachers in Taiwan thanks to the Internet and the Mandarin boom, and the jobs are drying up as the birth rate declines. You might want to try Mainland China for a year or so first to get experience, then try for Taiwan. Taiwan is not an easy place to find one's first TEFL job, and one might have to settle for scraps until he/she gets some experience.

It also sounds like you're trying to apply from outside of Taiwan. That approach is highly unlikely to work, especially considering that you have no experience. If you actually fly out to Taiwan, you'll have a much better shot.

Now, that said, all this talks of huge numbers of applicants might discourage you, but remember this -- most of the applicants for jobs turn out to be complete bozos. For example:
- People make blatant lies on their resumes (like claiming to be studying "Taiwanese" without any mention on the resume of Mandarin, the main language of Taiwan, whatsoever -- highly unlikely)
- People get an interview offer, but don't show up for whatever reason
- People come to the interview dressed inappropriately
- People come to the interview, but completely ignore basic instructions about what to do on the teaching demo (which pages to cover, which CD tracks to play)

Of the four people I selected to interview, only two actually showed up on time. One ended up showing up (at least an hour late) and the other didn't show up at all.

Of the three people that showed up to interview:

- One came in jeans and had a nose ring

- One claimed he was a "native speaker, born in Australia," but was obviously just a Taiwanese local who had studied English in Australia. His English was nowhere near native-level, which became abundantly apparent as I attempted to communicate with him on the phone about the interview and its location. His teaching demo was awful. Not only that, but after I notified him that he hadn't received a job, he spent the next year or so sending me various e-mails about non-job-related things (in one, he said he wanted to buy my PlayStation 3) and trying to get me to friend him on LinkedIn. Weirdo, seriously.

- One came and had an acceptable interview and a decent teaching demo -- but when offered the job, she wrote me an e-mail saying "The school is in an inconvenient and undesirable location, as well as the terms of employment are not acceptable to me."

So....I ended up giving the job to the girl with the jeans and the nose ring. Because she was the only person who showed up on time and gave a passable demo.

So...the moral of the story is...keep trying. 12 people may apply for a job, but most of those people are going to be complete bozos when it comes time to A) show up to the interview, and B) do even a semi-passable job at the interview.

Once I learned this, I attained much more inner peace for my Japan job hunt. And found a job in 12 days. Laughing

Here are some suggestions I have for you:

- Send out a ton of applications. I'd recommend sending out at least 50+. Come up with a standard cover e-mail and a just change it a bit for each job application. Make sure it is well-worded and spell-checked.

- Have the following things ready for a job interview:
1. A suit and tie if you're a guy, or the equivalent in dressiness if you're a girl.
2. A resume, or preferably multiple copies that you can hand to your interviewers.
3. A lesson already planned, ready to go, in case you're asked to give a demo and not told what you're going to teach.
4. A game that looks like it actually took some time to make (I fashioned a Valentine's Day poster board game that was a huge hit; so was my St. Patrick's Day board game); you get extra points if you obviously spent several hours drawing it yourself/investing a great deal of effort into it

- The job market in Taiwan is extremely tight. It is not a "degree and a pulse" situation anymore. Anything paying 45,000 NTD or more per month, and anything located in Kaohsiung or Taipei is going to be hyper-competitive, probably with dozens of candidates. However, if you're willing to settle for 35,000 ~ 45,000 NTD a month, competition drops dramatically, and if you're willing to put yourself slightly outside of the major cities, competition drops quite a bit.

- Very Rare Qualification #1: A Non-Online TEFL Certificate
None of my applicants had one. One woman had an online certificate, but online certs are pretty much worthless.

- Very Rare Qualification #2: Chinese Ability
Almost no one cited Chinese ability on their resume. Now, I know that this is controversial (some schools prefer a teacher who can't speak Chinese), but I think it's slightly more of an asset than a liability (the school won't have to hold your hand in daily life, and you'll be better at teaching/controlling very young/low-level classes, and it shows that you're intelligent, conscientious, and had more forethought than a guy who just one day decided "I think I'll move to Taiwan tomorrow"). Even if all you have is basic Chinese ability, take the HSK or TOP test, prove it, and stick it on your resume.
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Solar Strength



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 560
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:28 am    Post subject: Re: New in Teaching Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
most of the applicants for jobs turn out to be complete bozos. For example:
- People make blatant lies on their resumes (like claiming to be studying "Taiwanese" without any mention on the resume of Mandarin, the main language of Taiwan, whatsoever -- highly unlikely)
- People get an interview offer, but don't show up for whatever reason
- People come to the interview dressed inappropriately
- People come to the interview, but completely ignore basic instructions about what to do on the teaching demo (which pages to cover, which CD tracks to play)

Of the four people I selected to interview, only two actually showed up on time. One ended up showing up (at least an hour late) and the other didn't show up at all.

Of the three people that showed up to interview:

- One came in jeans and had a nose ring

- One claimed he was a "native speaker, born in Australia," but was obviously just a Taiwanese local who had studied English in Australia. His English was nowhere near native-level, which became abundantly apparent as I attempted to communicate with him on the phone about the interview and its location. His teaching demo was awful. Not only that, but after I notified him that he hadn't received a job, he spent the next year or so sending me various e-mails about non-job-related things (in one, he said he wanted to buy my PlayStation 3) and trying to get me to friend him on LinkedIn. Weirdo, seriously.

- One came and had an acceptable interview and a decent teaching demo -- but when offered the job, she wrote me an e-mail saying "The school is in an inconvenient and undesirable location, as well as the terms of employment are not acceptable to me."

So....I ended up giving the job to the girl with the jeans and the nose ring. Because she was the only person who showed up on time and gave a passable demo.

So...the moral of the story is...keep trying. 12 people may apply for a job, but most of those people are going to be complete bozos when it comes time to A) show up to the interview, and B) do even a semi-passable job at the interview.


What you wrote here is congruent with my personal observations and experience as an EFL teacher in Asia.

It also underscores how low the bar is set for EFL teachers in places like Taiwan, Thailand and Korea.

If 15 people apply for a job in Bangkok, you'd be fortunate if 1 or 2 are relatively normal people and not people who fraudulently misrepresent their education and experience. Many are alcoholics, criminals, pedophiles or hippy backpacker types who have serious reliability issues - suddenly stop showing up for work because they've blown town without even saying anything. Korea is similar, I suppose.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. Basically, the rule of thumb is this: if you're even getting to the interview stage, you stand a very good chance of getting hired. Most employers do not select more than maybe 4~8 people to interview, so even if 50 people applied, if you make it to the interview stage, the competition rate has dropped to between 4:1 and 8:1.

Sending out resumes and cover letters is easy. It need not take more than ~15 minutes per job offer once you get all your materials (photo, passport scan, resume, etc.) together. Interviews are of course much more taxing, and are likely to take up half a day when preparing/transportation/freshening up/waiting in the lobby/doing the interview/demo/getting home/etc. are factored in. This may seem time-consuming and discouraging, but remember, if you're even getting any interviews at all, then that's a really good sign.

There is one exception to this, however: "recruiters" who farm you out for free lessons, claiming it's a "demo." There are not actually any jobs on offer here. People are just going through the motions to get someone to substitute teach Teacher Mark's classes for free while he's back in Canada. Recruiters should never be trusted. They are, in general, the scum of the earth. I'm sure there's an honest recruiter somewhere, but I have yet to find him/her.

However, assuming you're applying to the ads directly and not having some shady recruiter farm you out to "interviews," any interview offers at all is a great sign. Just persist, follow my interview tips, and eventually, if you're not a weirdo with a fraudulent resume, you'll probably get hired.

And may I ask, how many resumes have you sent out? I recommend sending out at least 50, preferably 100.

And also, are you in Taiwan? If you're not, then that's your problem right there. If you're serious about living in Taiwan, buying a plane ticket and going there should be no problem. Most employers won't perceive you as serious about this unless you're standing on Taiwanese soil. Even the major chain schools routinely over-hire because they know that half the people won't show up, or will show up and will be total wackos (of course, this is really crummy when the people who show up aren't all wackos and some need to be fired because the company can't afford to employ them all).
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romanworld



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 289

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject: Re: New in Teaching Reply with quote

t_panda03 wrote:
I have tried applying to major school chains such as Hess,Joy English schools Kojen only to be rejected with answer that shocked me such as

"I have many applicants with teaching experience , I have no time to entertain your application"


Why "shocked"? You have no teaching experience and you expect to enter a market that is saturated with teachers and has the lowest birth rate in the world? Also, if you're of Chinese descent, you'll be at a disadvantage because buxiban owners want a white face to pull in those hard-to-find students. Interestingly enough, the guy who replied to your email is terse, but right. Consider yourself lucky you got a reply. Many don't.
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forest1979



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 507
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some very good advice from Rooster, in particular.

The TEFL job market is very, very tight now in Taiwan.

Coming to Taiwan to have a working holiday is a fact of history nowadays. Competition is fierce and employers can pick and choose who they want at will...and often that means someone already on the island with teaching experience. And yes, sadly, that could mean someone White.

Knowing Chinese is, to put it simply, as about as advantageous as having two heads. It's simply not much of an advantage. Teaching experience is now a must have unless you fancy a low paid job in a largely rural environment miles from anywhere!

As for chain schools, they pretty much have a mad reputation anyway, and if your research was thorough, you would know it is often the first port of call for applicants wanting to work in TW. In otherwords, they get an exaggerated amount of applicants, and as other posters here will verify, the volume of applicants they get is not down to the rates of pay, quality of work, etc., they offer!

To be honest, your strategy to find a job in Taiwan is too narrow given you have no experience. You need to rethink things.
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t_panda03



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the replies and valuable information especially from Rooster.

About CV's I've sent around 25- 30. I'm trying to aim for smaller cities to avoid the high competition and adverts specifically for first time teachers.

I do think I have undermined the teaching job situation in Taiwan.
Taking a TEFL course I thought it would improve my chances slightly.....also my course is online.........

About flying to Taiwan, I have thought of it but with no teaching experience and the number of rejections I'm receiving.. I'm not sure if it's a good idea.

As forest1979 and Rooster has suggested I may have to start looking into Mainland China instead.

Thank you for sharing your experience Rooster.

Good Luck for recruiters too.
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52skidoo



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My two cents.
I agree with what people are saying here.
Also would like to add that I have worked in a smaller city and the job was just ok. The morning classes with younger kids were great but evening classes with high school 'country' boys was terrible. They had zero respect for the teacher and zero desire to learn anything. They were climbing on their desks, pushing one another down the stairs, speaking Chinese in class almost non stop, etc. The school tried their best to help and added a few girls to the class, for free, thinking the boys would behave better but it just made things worse.
The school also farmed me out to another school about 30 kilometers away, I got payed but it wasn't in my contract, all that extra driving on a scooter, late at night in the rain with bad lighting , or no lighting in some places was very dangerous. Let's just say that teaching in smaller cities has a lot of drawbacks.
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7969



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5681
Location: South China, by the sea.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

t_panda03 wrote:
As forest1979 and Rooster has suggested I may have to start looking into Mainland China instead.

Many more options on the mainland. Visit the China forum and try your luck there.
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Taylor



Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 384
Location: Texas/Taiwan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi 52skidoo,

Great post. Thanks for including some interesting details!

Would you mind mentioning what county you were in for that job?

Taylor
Kaohsiung (10 years.... but a long time ago!)
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52skidoo



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Taylor,
I am still in Taiwan and the story was about working in Miao Li, which is mostly Hakka Chinese by culture not sure if that had anything to do with it but I see a great deal of difference between big city boys and country boys in Taiwan. The country boys are loads of fun but city boys have a lot more ability to focus on their lesson. Girls in general do very in class here.
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t_panda03



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still applying for teaching jobs but no success.

Is moving to Taiwan my only option??
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

t_panda03 wrote:
Still applying for teaching jobs but no success.

Is moving to Taiwan my only option??
In my opinion, yes.

I can only speak for when I hired someone, but I'll tell you this:
- I had to fill the job in a short space of time.
- I didn't have time to screw around with people who may or may not even come to Taiwan.
- Part of the interview process was a lesson demo (standard in Taiwan). How can you do a lesson demo if you're not even in Taiwan? Should people outside of Taiwan be exempt from this requirement just because they can't haul their keisters into Taiwan? Isn't that a bit unfair to the other people who will be coming in and giving full lesson demos for which they may have spent a lot of time preparing? And isn't it unfair to consider someone who bought a $2,000 plane ticket the same as someone who hasn't put forth the same financial commitment?

So...with a more than ample candidate pool of people already in Taiwan, I simply didn't even consider people outside of Taiwan. That may sound harsh, but I needed to find my replacement and only had a couple of weeks to do it. Hiring from outside the country wasn't even on the table.

T_panda03, no offense, but you seem to assume that having a job lined up before you enter Taiwan will give you some extra security. I'm here to tell you that it won't. Many EFL gigs frequently double-hire because they know Teacher X or Teacher Y won't show up. You could fly all the way to Taiwan as Teacher Y and then find out that Teacher X showed up, too. Then you'd be out of a job within days of landing.

This happened to me repeatedly when I hunted for a job on Mainland China. One second, it was "You're hired!" the next moment it was a face-saving excuse ("Oh, our principle looked at your passport, and he thinks you're too young." or "Actually, Baotou has suddenly stopped issuing Foreign Teacher Certificates.").

Alternatively, you might line up a job in advance, only to be offered an inferior contract to sign after you've landed. These things are commonplace (I've seen the latter happen personally -- a guy was promised 30 hours a week, arrived, and was given a 20-hour contract and told to sign it if he wanted a job).

Flying over to Taiwan is going to be a bit of a gamble whether or not you come with a job. If you are "hired" from overseas, it is better to think of it as a "50/50 shot at having a job when I get there" than an actual "job." With odds like that, you might as well just fly over and hunt in-country.
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