A few questions from a hopeful black teacher

Ok so Ive scoured this board on and off for a few months now, lurking in the backround using variations of the words: black,teacher, hire in the search box but have yet to see a thread with these specific questions.I plan on going to Taiwan next June right after I graduate with a BA. Im an american and I´ve had and will have had experience tutoring inner city kids in pubilc elementary schools, if that helps with answering any. Here goes:

  1. Is is better for a potential black teacher to aquire a teaching position at home or on the ground in Taiwan?
  2. Is there an actual list of school in Taiwan that are open to hiring black teachers?
    3.Would it be better to look for schools that hire black teachers in more urban areas ie Taipei or Kaoshing or in more rural areas?
  3. Photo or no photo for the resume?
  4. Franchise i.e. Hess, Joy, et al or smaller school or foreign run buxiban?
  5. Some sort of Esl Tesol TEFl ect. certification or none?
  6. Would mandarin ability hurt or help me in my job search?

From what ive read here and over at Daves and other places, there dosn´t seem to be a lot of posts that answer these specific questions; at least not about Taiwan. I have read all the stuff about racism or whatever so Ive been forewarned :smiley: . It´d just be nice to get some clarity with these questions. Id really appreciate hearing from black teachers already in Taiwan, since those are the people who have been through it. Thanks in advance for your comments.

Hi querdenker,
Welcome to Forumosa! Already planning for next June - you’re certainly more organized than most folks who turn up here.
There are several black American forumosans; Namahottie (now back in the U.S.), ImanIOU (a great teacher who doesn’t post that much on this forum these days), and Miltownkid (also back in the States).

  1. Is is better for a potential black teacher to acquire a teaching position at home or on the ground in Taiwan?
    Opinion is divided on this issue.
  2. Is there an actual list of school in Taiwan that are open to hiring black teachers?
    Not that I know of.
    3.Would it be better to look for schools that hire black teachers in more urban areas ie Taipei or Kaoshing or in more rural areas?
    Pretty much the same for employment; Rural areas are more desperate, but the big cities more open to non-whites. For your sanity, a big city would be better.
  3. Photo or no photo for the resume?
    It’s a common request for resumes. Choose a “lighter” picture.
  4. Franchise i.e. Hess, Joy, et al or smaller school or foreign run buxiban?
    Foreign would be better but there are relatively few.
  5. Some sort of Esl Tesol TEFl ect. certification or none?
    Good if you have it, but not worth the expense if you don’t.
  6. Would Mandarin ability hurt or help me in my job search?
    It is a plus, but doesn’t make that much difference.

John (not black but being hairy also a minority of a minority in Taiwan)

I work for one of the major chain schools in Taichung City. My school employs one black woman, and she seems to be well-liked and respected by students, colleagues and bosses alike. A chain school is probably the way to go since they seem to always be hiring.

I have two black friends with teaching experience in Taiwan and they were both successful. They were both very personable and good-looking, so I don’t know how representative their experience is. One has left but one is still here, but they were both very successful in what they were doing.

I’m not going to lie…I have heard that there is discrimination. I mean I have black curly hair and I once went for an interview where they asked me if it was possible to stop curling my hair because I look too black and I am from South-Africa so the parents may think I’m black. I got so mad that I told them that my hair is natural and that I am black. (but I’m not) When I came here mannnny years ago blonde people got jobs first…(looks more foreign)

Then again, I knew a guy who is Jamaican-Canadian…with golden dreadlocks down to his bum…and half an arm. And he got jobs.

I would put a photo because why bother wasting your time…at least then you know people that are interested don’t care about your colour.

It’s all about what school you walk into…even what chain of a school you walk into. I know a British girl that got asked to speak better English, not with the funny accent. And I worked at a school for 3 years where they forced me to speak American English.(and I cant unlearn it…its terrible!!) I’m still trying to get my british accent back, but I say bathroom instead of baaaaaaafroom automatically now…and ppl back home laugh at me:(

I can vouch for Kid Castle if you submit your resume to their head office in Hsindian. Check out their website, I’m guessing the information will be on there.
There is a lot less discrimination towards dark skinned people here these days than there was ten years ago, that’s for sure, but it isn’t all gone. I think many Taiwanese are much better traveled than they used to be, so acceptance is rising. I’ve never heard of any serious discrimination issues however and I’ve never heard of violence or pay being held, anything like that, so don’t worry too much. Taiwan is still probably one of the best places in Asia for you to start. It may be so that you might get pipped to the post by the same qualified white person when applying for a job, but experience and personality generally outranks skin colour here by far. The last person any Taiwan employer wants is an unreliable and ill mannered one, so if you can master those two, then you are competing with the best of them. Taipei city may be more accepting, but Taipei county can sometimes have a greater lack of teachers, or beyond Taipei altogether better still. I’m certain that certain areas are in short supply of teachers, so I guarantee that you’ll get a job with the right attitude and paperwork.
With no experience you may be looking at pay between 500nt per hour and 700nt. Each school will have their own budget depending on their outgoings and number of students, so don’t assume they should all offer as much as Watsisname or whoever you’ve heard of down the road. Get some experience under your belt before asking for pay rises, and be sure you are popular, that way you won’t seem unreasonable. Once you start teaching a schools kids well, they won’t want you to go and it wont matter what colour you are.

A lot of buxibans tend to be racist. That being said, if you come with enough money to live for two or three months, you should be able to find something that works. Usually, the chain schools are a good place to start; if you put in a year at a chain school and get some private students on the side, you should be able to get a better gig in your second year. Some minorities have no problems and others really need to work to find a niche.

Overall, if you have a good boss and you’re a good teacher, you should have no problems once you’re hired. The parents may be leery at first, but once you’ve won the hearts of their children, you should be fine (this goes for all teachers, but you MAY have to work harder to impress them at first). Stick to a city; the gawk factor is MUCH higher and the people much ruder in rural areas; you’re more likely to be treated more respectfully in cities.

All the best in Taiwan; keep us posted!

Seeing your post instantly reminded me of this thread by Persephone from 2005.
I remembered because it spun off a controversial discussion on racism and I got into a fight with Jaboney and DB over it. I kicked their sorry little asses, of course, but that’s besides the point :smiley:

Persephone is still active on Forumosa, although not daily, so you might have to wait for her to come on. I’d send her a PM if I were you, she’s very nice, both here and IRL.

I only know two black guys. Both had overall positive experiences of teaching in Taiwan. They’re both light-skinned, attractive, though (so not sure how important that factor was) but they also both have a good personality, smile a lot.

I’m sure it’s a hurdle, but like with anything or anyone, once you get in, it’s up to you to make sure that you’re liked. From what I’ve heard from my white teacher friends, every teacher fights the popularity battle (for the good jobs), no matter how white they are. With evening class adults, for example, you can be blond and blue-eyed, if they don’t like your personality, they’ll go to another class and your boss will know why. So I’ve been told. Correct me if I’m wrong, teachers.

Welcome here and good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  1. Is is better for a potential black teacher to aquire a teaching position at home or on the ground in Taiwan?
    It is much better to find a position at home. I knew several excellent black teachers with years of Taiwan teaching experience who had a VERY hard time landing jobs.
  2. Is there an actual list of school in Taiwan that are open to hiring black teachers?
    I don’t know of a list, but the big chain schools like Hess and Joy are pretty good about hiring minorities. I worked at Hess.
    3.Would it be better to look for schools that hire black teachers in more urban areas ie Taipei or Kaoshing or in more rural areas?
    I agree that you’d be better off in an urban area, but I have no experience teaching in rural areas. Contrary to conventional wisdom though, I found Taipei to be less tolerant than the surrounding county and rural areas.
  3. Photo or no photo for the resume?
    Photo definitely. The blacker the better. Why waste your time?
  4. Franchise i.e. Hess, Joy, et al or smaller school or foreign run buxiban?
    To start, go with a chain, unless you have real good info (read: input from a black teacher) on a smaller school.
  5. Some sort of Esl Tesol TEFl ect. certification or none?
    No idea if this is helpful. I didn’t have one.
  6. Would Mandarin ability hurt or help me in my job search?
    Do you have Mandarin ability? This would be a huge help in networking, and networking is more powerful in Taiwan than in the States, but I don’t think it would directly affect getting a position. Use it if you got it, but don’t waste too much time trying to acquire it if you don’t. Just go for the basics.

Feel free to pm me if you need more details, like where to find a decent barber (if you need one that is) and stuff like that. Also keep an eye out for Namahottie, Persephone and ImanIOU. I haven’t seen miltownkid around for a bit but he’d be a good source of info too.

Get a job before you come. Chain schools are the best bet for teachers with a potential ‘problem’ - sorry, but being black, too old, fat, of Asian ancestry, etc. can be construed as problems in the Taiwanese buxiban. If you get a job with Kojen (or ELSI), make sure you get the guaranteed full-time hours contract, because I have met many Kojen teachers who ended up with only 2 or 3 teaching hours a week for a couple of months at first. If you’re tall, you may be in luck - the students here sometimes view black men as cool basketball player or rap star types.

Ditto. Get your gig set up and signed before you board the plane or you’ll tire of the quaint cultural superiority of the Taiwanese real fast.

The Taiwanese won’t know what ‘inner-city kids’ means. Just list the experience as having worked in the public school system. It does look good on your resume, as I worked in the Chicago Public Schools for 2 years. You won’t run into any bad-ass kids like you do in public schools, but the classroom management skills you gain transfer well. And TW schools like to know you have it, because YOU"LL need it. :slight_smile:

[quote]1. Is is better for a potential black teacher to aquire a teaching position at home or on the ground in Taiwan?[/quote] In Taiwan, IMO. Contracts are a fucked up thing in TW (pardon my french) but it’s better to have it done there than at home. I don’t know where you’re at but contact the local Taiwan representative office and find out about how to apply for multiple entry visa. This can be changed once you’re there.

[quote]2. Is there an actual list of school in Taiwan that are open to hiring black teachers?[/quote] No. You really want to focus more on any school that is blacklisted here or anywhere else. While yes, you’ll gonna run into some racism there, you’re a guy and it’s nothing like in the States. You;'ll be able to brush it off quickly and enjoy the TWese.

It’s not about schools that will hire blacks per say, but where you want to live and your earning goals. I’ve lived in both cities and had success with both and I did have schools turn me down in both cities because I was black. Funny story–When I first got to Kaoshiung in 2002, I applied at a buxiban that was owned by a Havard-educated guy. He had a MA in something, and loved to point it out during our interview. So, I do the interview, and talk about the school. Suddenly, he tells me that he can’t hire me because the fire station is across the road and if they find out he has foreigners working for him, he’s gonna lose his license. :unamused: :laughing: My advice: If it sounds like bs, then it’s bs and keep moving. You have an education, you have experience, you have a choice.

[quote]4. Photo or no photo for the resume?[/quote] if you apply from home, no photo. I never sent a photo. My beauty is to much for a 4x4 passport photo :laughing:

[quote]5. Franchise i.e. Hess, Joy, et al or smaller school or foreign run buxiban?[/quote]I worked at a private school, and a few buxibans. I preferred private school. Set salary, set hours :blah: :blah: but buxibans can be good also. You can create flexibility with your hours, especially if you find a good one:i.e. the manager is on the up and up about educating the kids and not entertaining them. That’s why you should come over and do interviews before taking a contract. You want to feel them out as well as letting them feel you out.

[quote]6. Some sort of Esl Tesol TEFl ect. certification or none?[/quote] Some want them. I didn’t need it. But I was certified to teach in Chicago so it made a difference when I applied at my school.

[quote]7. Would Mandarin ability hurt or help me in my job search?[/quote]Nope, not a bit.

Just make sure you have enough money to have a “F.U. Plan” if things don’t work out or you need to do a visa run. Schools will not pay for that. Once you’re in TW and if you’re in Taipei go to some of the F.com happy hours. People are really generous about helping out or giving directions/guidance. Have any more questions, pm me.

That’s true, do not under estimate the power of smiling over there…IT WILL take you a long way. :smiley:

No way, unless you’re comparing TW to Alabama or something. Taiwanese racism on average is definitely more severe than in the US.

No way, unless you’re comparing TW to Alabama or something. Taiwanese racism on average is definitely more severe than in the US.[/quote]

You know, I’ve always found Southerns far more generous than Northerns when it comes dealing with race. You know, a chance to make a good first impression. In the North, it’s made for you.

I didn’t think so. I find it far more frustrating to be in the US and have to constantly prove myself, or deal with asinine questions and looks( :astonished: She speaks proper English :unamused: and She doesn’t have any kids) than I did there. There are assholes everywhere in the world, but at least in Taiwan, I could gain a wide enough audience to dispel any ideas.

“Asinine questions?” I thought you were talking about Taiwan for a second! :slight_smile: I can see what you mean though. I haven’t experienced much of that kind of racism in the States. I find myself dealing more with the quiet racism that locks you out of opportunities than the asinine questions type.

I’ve found the old adage of “In the North they don’t mind you high but they mind you near but in the South they don’t mind you near but they mind you high” to still apply. I find the former easier to deal with. At least people will attempt to be polite and keep their ideas to themselves. There seems to be a narrow band of acceptable roles for black people in the South. I find that if you don’t conform to what they think is “your place” things can become ah, unpleasant.

In Taiwan I experienced more of a circa 1950’s racism halfway between my Northern and Southern experiences. Usually it took the form of “we don’t serve your kind around here” or invisible man syndrome. It was most irritating when out with whites because I couldn’t pretend it was because I was a foreigner. This really heightened my race consciousness while in Taiwan. On the flip side, yeah, Taiwanese didn’t follow me around the 7-11 watching for me to steal something and no one threatened me with violence.

I can’t give a passionate response to the experience of racism as I tend to be pretty oblivious to such things…I’m more likely to blame any unusual behavior on myself or believe whatever excuse is given to me. In my world, everyone likes me until irrefutable evidence is given to the contrary. And then, if it does become apparent that my race is an issue, oh well–too bad for them. :loco: I have lots of other friends and opportunities available to me. :rainbow: I don’t think about racism much in my daily life. I can’t say I’ve felt any hostility as a result of my race here or any type of glass ceiling. Mostly, just stupid questions and ridiculous assumptions about my innate athletic, dancing, or singing ability–the same assumptions they have for aboriginal taiwanese, btw.

As far as whether or not to get a job before you come, I would recommend against it. You should definitely feel out your school environment and potential employer before signing any contract. You may find out that you don’t like the accomodations they’ve picked out for you, or they can’t give you the number of hours you were promised, or that you simply don’t like the personality of your coworkers. All of these will make a huge difference in whether or not you will have a successful experience in Taiwan.

Instead, I would recommend that you send out several resumes–with photos–to prospective employers and arrange all your interviews for within the first two weeks of your arrival. Do the interviews after you’ve given yourself a couple of days to recover from jet lag, get acqainted with the layout of the city, and talk to some other expats living in the area. That way you’ll be rested and prepared to ward off BS.

If you’re applying to a buxiban, you don’t need any experience, TESOL certification, or Mandarin language ability. Just go in a nice business casual outfit and a big smile. The ability to build some sort of rapport with the children you pass in the hall will also be looked on favorably. The ability to speak some Chinese may be helpful to build rapport with the secretaries and parents, making you a more valuable employee. However, being able to speak Chinese is not necessary or expected–expecially in a large chain school like Hess, Kojen, or Joy.

Come with three months or so of savings. I don’t think you will have a tough time finding a job, but you may have a tough time finding a job you like–depending on your expectations. I didn’t.

Also, when you rent an apartment, you have give one to two months of rent as a deposit–in addition to the first month’s rent. So, set some money aside for that.

All in all, I think you’ll be just fine in Taiwan, so don’t worry too much. Set up your interviews, save up some money, and show up with a smile!

Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.

Hi there. I happened to have caught your post while perusing the boards and thought I’d reply…

  1. Is is better for a potential black teacher to aquire a teaching position at home or on the ground in Taiwan?

I started my job search about 6 months before coming here (and joined this website when the other ones weren’t panning out). I had a degree in linguistics, a university-sponsored TESOL certificate and almost a year of part-time ESL teaching experience at my university. About three weeks before my hell-or-high-water date of arrival, I finally got an interview over the phone. I stayed with that school for my first 5 years until I became disappointed with their change in philosophy.

  1. Is there an actual list of school in Taiwan that are open to hiring black teachers?

There isn’t a list of schools that I know of (although there is a blacklist of schools… ha, ha…). I work for Columbia which does not discriminate on race and has opened new branches when many other schools are shutting down.

3.Would it be better to look for schools that hire black teachers in more urban areas ie Taipei or Kaoshing or in more rural areas?

I don’t know about rural areas for sure, but they are more likely to be less picky because it’s harder to attract foreigners there. Then again, more urban Taiwanese are used to seeing different kinds of foreigners and so they are less likely to throw a fuss against a non-BHBE Waiguoren teaching their little ones.

  1. Photo or no photo for the resume?

I absolutely would go with a photo on the resume as it weeds out the timewasters. I used to send my picture after my resume when I got tons of enthusiastic responses, only to have them suddenly have no more positions or to completely disappear and have developed a specialized blindness to my emails. I also remember when I was in the market for a new school and walked into a Jumpstart (this with 6 years’ teaching experience under my belt) for an interview, having not sent my photo to them and they literally jumped when they saw me at their door, handed me an application and later told me that my application was rejected because “the boss’s word was final” without giving any real justification. Meanwhile, I have earned head teacher positions at both of the schools I’ve worked at and run workshops for my co-workers, including for those who hold teaching certs back home. As I’ve said, it’s better to weed out the schools who are only hiring teachers on looks and not qualifications or work ethics. You know, the kind of schools that are shutting down left and right.
5. Franchise i.e. Hess, Joy, et al or smaller school or foreign run buxiban?

Smaller schools will appreciate you but are hard to predict and many of them are closing down because the number of students has severely dropped. Foreign-run schools can be touch or go although they tend to be run pretty well if the person is dedicated to their school. Franchises and chains make me shudder, offer pay way below market, and in my experience with their former students produce the same quality product as food franchises (the McDonalds versus Alleycats versus the mom and pop shops)

  1. Some sort of Esl Tesol TEFl ect. certification or none?

It makes you more competitive in the market in addition for helping you be more prepared to handle the classroom. I highly recommend getting one (something that lasts four weeks or 100 hours… the 1-week “courses” are a waste of money).

  1. Would Mandarin ability hurt or help me in my job search?

It helps, but many schools will ask that you don’t let students know you can speak.

Let me know if you want more advice.

To add on to what ImaniOU wrote…

A TESOL cert is definitely not required, but it does help in the sense that it will make you more prepared and more comfortable.

ImaniOU is right: if you can speak Chinese, many schools will ask you not to let your students know. At chain schools, it’s usually forbidden to speak Chinese in the classroom.

I would also like to add that, depending on your goals, the money at a chain school is not bad. On the surface, it may appear that they don’t pay a lot, but…

[ul]1. It often happens that jobs that pay more per hour, require more unpaid time from you–office hours, prep time, staff meetings, or weekend concerts, etc.
2. They also may require more work from you because they don’t have an established cookie cutter, fail-proof, curriculumn designed to help new teachers be successful. You will have to do more preparation for those schools that pay more money per hour.
3. They have fewer hours per week to offer–meaning you will have to look elsewhere to earn money to reach your saving goals. [/ul]

In short, a higher paying school may be not only a difficult job to find, but more of headache than it’s worth when you’re just getting started and don’t know where you are or what you’re doing.

Ai-yo. My Engrish so bad la!

Okay now that I am not pressed for battery time, here’s some more…

Play up your prior experience back home, especially that you worked in the public school system. It won’t really matter whether or not you are certified and it will definitely help in negotiating better pay.

Be prepared to have to do demos when you get here for most schools. A demo is a 15-20 -minute mini-lesson where the school can see how well you get along with kids, usually performed with a class of students, but sometimes it’s done with the local staff pretending to be students. If you can, try to get them to tell you what lesson you’ll be preparing for. If nothing else, bring a kit (colorful whiteboard markers, name tag stickers, and maybe even a wad of blu-tak to stick flashcards or manipulatives to the board or wall). If you come prepared, it gets you even more points with the school. The secret combination seems to be energy + slightly slowed down speech from my experience.

People will recommend getting privates, but I don’t recommend searching for them until you have established a routine, have learned a little about getting around town (which ever town you settle in), and feel comfortable with your major job before adding on second or third jobs.

Don’t let yourself get down about rejections. It’s nothing personal; some people still hold fast to the mentality that parents want a teacher who looks like Barbie or Ken. As I’ve said, the market is shrinking and schools who are not giving parents quality - as evidenced when their kid takes the GEPT and not only fails it, but has somehow developed a Romanian accent in the process (one of my “Canadian” co-workers had parents call her on her Eastern European accent the first day of school) - and only look at the wrapping and not the gift of their teachers (or lack thereof) are bleeding students and closing down. Schools who pay attention to a teacher’s potential and talent tend to be the ones who are educating kids and not serving as glorified babysitting services for gullible or naïve parents. If they can’t see a good thing when they see it, fuck 'em.

Good luck to you!