The newbie thread


Dress code? This is the same as applying for any job in a (modern) country. Just do business casual. I really don't think a dress shirt and tie are needed. Also, don't consider a formal gown, especially you guys. However, surfer shorts and a tank top, or, as follows, will not get you very far unless you have one hell of a bod. Purple hair isn't going to make it. Just think about how you would dress for an interview in your home country. Dress and act accordingly.
As an aside, I recall once that I posted an ad in the local newspaper for an additional secretary. My then present secretary came in to my office telling me there was an applicant waiting to see me - without an appointment. Eva was chuckling and I knew there was somehing up.
I met the applicant who was dressed in a bikini with a towel over her shoulder accompanied by a female friend that was similarly dressed. She explained that they were headed to the beach and I was the first stop.
I enjoyed the show and the conversation but, of course she wasn't hired. If you are stupid at the interview, the potential employer can only expect you to be stupid on the job. Bottom line, dress appropriately and act accordingly.


Hi folks, I guess this is an old thread, and probably an old question. I just recently arrived in Taiwan (about 1 week ago), I have an MSc, TEFL certificate, and a Chinese language certificate at intermediate level. I've applied to around 10 different schools, just following the advice on this website and going into every English school I can find and giving them my CV. I'm in Taizhong at the moment.

The problem I'm having is that employers don't want to give me a work visa. I'm British so I get to stay in Taiwan for 90 days with no visa at all, I already had an interview (all in Chinese), but the guy told me "this is a part time position so I can't get you a work visa or an ARC". I've had that story twice now, and I haven't had any phone calls or replies from the other schools I applied to yet. I'm just wondering, if the school isn't willing to get me a work visa, what am I supposed to do? Should I take the job anyway? Then what do I do in 90 days when I have to leave the country? It's really frustrating, this girl I'm seeing here told me that it's because they don't want to pay taxes, so if they get me a work visa and an ARC then they would have to do that. I'm just really confused by it all.


You may have to do visa runs in the short term. Annoying, but most noobs have to go through the process and the job market isn't good at the moment. I guess it will be particularly difficult for you because you've arrived just after most schools will have filled full time positions. If you can find one school that can provide 14+ hours and sponsor you then you can use that to build up an income. It might mean you need to accept a lower paid position in the short term.

It's only been a week, don't worry too much. With a masters you could chance your arm and walk into the university asking about English instructor positions - you never know...

Oh - one other thing. Taiwanese bushiban owners rarely call you. You need to keep going in there. Don't expect to just drop off your cv and receive a phone call a couple of days later like in the UK.


That's interesting, I didn't realise that there was a time for when schools filled their positions otherwise I would have come sooner. The other interesting thing is that when I got my interview I did get a call a few days later, which was my one and only interview where I was told "because it's only a part time post I won't get you a work permit". What I find even stranger is that I've seen very, very few foreigners in the streets here.

So when should I go back in, they all gave me the same bullshit line "I'll give this to my supervisor and he'll call you back", so were they lying or what? Sometimes I hand in my CV and they ask me questions (sometimes in Chinese, other times in English), why they refuse to speak to me in their mother language I'll never know, seems to be the same "Chinese is just for Chinese people, and white people couldn't possibly learn our sacred and diffcult ancient language" bullshit attitude.


Not all schools, ninman. Some schools look to recruit new teachers in July and August for a September start. These are usually the so-called English 'immersion' schools. They are kindy during the day and elementary school aged children in the evening.

The bog-standard buxibans recruit all year round. Obviously someone has to leave for a position to become available. This is why, in my experience, it's important to keep walking into buxibans and asking about available teaching positions rather than waiting for the phone to ring.

I'd give the uni a crack, if I were you.


But if you do that won't they get rather annoyed and pissed off with you after a while?


I guess I'm just saying it's all a matter of persistence, ninman. I'm sure you'll find some decent work soon, don't get too disheartened. You've lived in China before, so you know that there is a cultural thing about not telling people what they don't want to hear. Therefore, many of the people you hand your cv to will say "We'll call you back" when they have no intention of doing so.

It's a tough market at the moment.


Thing is if you are working without an ARC, not only does it mean you have to do visa runs at your cost, it also means you have no health coverage but last and foremost it means you are working illegally and thus subject to deportation and could be banned from Taiwan for a year or longer.


I just got another phonecall asking me for an interview. I also have to give a 15 minute demo, which is extremely daunting since I have no frame of reference. It's for a conversation class, so I need to prepare something in the next 24 hours which constitutes a good quality 15 minute lesson. Pretty fightened about it all at the moment. I just hope they're not expecting too much during my demo.


You can do 15 man, good they didn't request 30 or 40mins. How old are the kids? If you go in prepared, it will fly by.


Yeah I'm actually beginning to wonder if it was 15 or 50 now, the guy was speaking English over the phone so maybe I didn't hear him totally clearly. I'm not teaching kids, it's a business English school, so I'm assuming everyone in there is over 18, it's called CEO. Of course I intend to be prepared, but I have absolutely no idea what to prepare. He just said a 15 minute demo for conversational English, which would be easy enough if I knew what the topic was, I guess the trick is to get the students to do most of the talking.


You choose the topic, how about geography? Write all 7 continents on the board, and have cards with the names of countries. After teaching which counties go where, you hand out the cards, call a country and the students must place them in the correct column(continent). You should also have a few sentence patterns ready to go for discussion. My last holiday was too..... My favorite thing about this country was........ I'd like to visit _________ for my next holiday. etc. You can also teach them that people and things are "FROM" Japan, but they "ARE" Japanese. This is a confusing point for many. It's quite common to hear "He is Canada's people" "This is Thailand's food"


Adult demo classes are sometimes the staff of the school pretending to be students. In this case a classic 'trick' they pull is to have the students scattered around the room. If you see this then bring the students closer to you. Other than that just stay relaxed, speak slowly and clearly, grade your English, smile a lot, make lots of eye contact etc. Try to repeat the names of students if you can, people love hearing their own name.

Whitetiger's idea sounds really good because it is usable for many different levels of ability. If you have a higher level class you could chuck in perfect tenses, conditionals and stuff. You could adapt it to have a selection of famous sites in various countries - pics of The Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, 101 Tower etc. Elicit the countries and then have the students talk about which they would like to visit and so on.

Arrive early and find out the number of students you are doing the demo to and what their level is. Also, don't just sit in the teacher's room. Take a look at the classroom you will be teaching in.

Good luck!


It sounds like a good idea but this Taiwanese girl I'm seeing said that sounds too much like it's for children. I guess it's because I really don't have any experience and little to no teacher training, but I find the idea of doing this extremely daunting, but maybe once it's over I'll feel a lot better about it.


I assume you are talking about the part where the students actually get up and place the country cards on the board. From my experience, the local adults have very limited knowledge of world geography, much less in English. Getting up and moving around can bring people out of their comfort zones. Anyway, you can go a million different ways with an exercise like that. Bring some enthusiasm to the class and engage the students. You'll do just fine I'm sure :wink: Jia you

P.S. IF it's a small class and only 15 minutes, focus on introductions(name, where they're from, hobbies, etc.) The students must listen and repeat something about the other students, possibly by introducing a student to the rest of the class. " This is Yoyo, he's from Yilan. He enjoys video games, cell phone bling and choreographed dance moves"


Will that be enough? Just introducing themselves to each other? I really feel like I need to teach them something, like maybe a grammatical point or a phrase or something like that. This girl suggested perhaps I discuss going on holiday, like how to exchange currency, names of various things at an airport that sort of stuff.


Certainly enough for 15 minutes. Remember, you should always have MORE than enough material planned, but feel free to stray from the plan, let it flow and go where it may. It's a conversation class, so if you get the students chatting it up, and they go off topic, all good. Being the first class, and having no idea of their levels, intros are suitable.


Thanks a lot for the advice, I'm totally shitting myself right now. I find the idea of teaching a bit scary, but when I'm getting totally thrown in at the deep end like this it just makes it 100 times worse. I read a great idea online, which is to go in with toilet paper and ask every student to take at least 3 sheets, then they have to say that many things about themselves to the whole class. But this Taiwanese girl said that it'll probably be just one person in the demo, which I think would be really unfair since it's totally different teaching just one person, you can't prepare the same activities that you would for multiple numbers of students.


Also, listen out for a few basic/persistent errors and draw students attention to these. Taiwanese students like teachers to correct their mistakes.


Good point Dougster. As far as the advice of your lady friend, never heard of a one student demo.