Am i a babysitter or a teacher or?


standard buxiban setting, a couple weeks in. struggling to understand what is expected of me… none of the students have records, i have no idea what they know or don’t know, there’s no curriculum and i didn’t get to observe the teacher before me, admin’s advice is to just do whatever with them… am i meant to just occupy them or am i actually trying to improve their english? how do i even accomplish either of those? :man_shrugging:


Buxibans in Taiwan are largely glorified babysitting, except with the difficulty stats turned up cause you can’t communicate with them.


Most kindergartens here care more about keeping parents happy than the kids actually learning things.


May I suggest using the free time to sharpen up your Mandarin skills, maybe it could help you gain more responsibilities to make your life less… anti-climactic.


That’s actually the main reason I’m in Taiwan, is to learn a new language. Teaching is a means to that end, both residency-wise and money-wise during that transition. Believe me, I wish I had free time in which to do this, but right now coming up with English language activities to fill 4-6 hrs/ day for wildly varying levels and one on one students, when there are no curricula or notes on their level left behind, has been the main occupation. Hoping that improves…



Sorry. I mean, if you know what a standard buxiban setting is I think that’s no surprise. It’s a combination of both. Yeah, you’re holding them until the folx get off work, but they aren’t paying for day care or they’d just dump them in an anchinban or day care or with grandma for the day. They’re paying you to teach, so it’s up to you to figure out the situation for each student and do the best you can. Your ‘best’ does depend a lot on the school and its curriculum, but any half-decent teacher can squeeze a bit of progress even from a bad school.
Also, the ‘main’ reason I’m here is not to teach, but during the two or three hours I’m in the room, that’s my main reason. I get it done and get back to what I really care about, but having another goal is no excuse not to put your all into those little people in front of you when you’re at work.


Ah I gotcha. Well, if you’re determined enough given it’s your primary reason for being there, you’ll be fine. This situation definitely blows, though, but the motivation will count I can tell you.

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May I suggest using the free time to sharpen up your teaching skills. Are you here to learn mandarin or teaching? If the latter, change your job and work at a more professional school. If the former, continue babysitting and sign up at a language school.


Is this your first time teaching? If so, yes, no curriculum is far from ideal. There are many buxiban that have training and curriculum so don’t let this sour you on the entire experience. I don’t see where it says you are teaching kindy. If you are, or even teaching elementary, I can give you some practical advice for lesson topics and resources.

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thanks for the lecture? as I said above, I’m literally spending my free time making course materials tailored to (my guesses of) students’ levels and designing curricula.


yes, it is mostly elementary. a couple kindergarten level classes and some mixed upper-elementary. i’d appreciate resources, thank you for the offer. seems most people just want to lecture… :roll_eyes:



This place never changes.

Not sure about your age group. But for 4-6 hours of quality lessons with kids you don’t know squat about, try this:

Get a bunch of files for each kid for record keeping. Then give them a phonemic awareness assessment to find their deficits. If they honestly don’t know anything, no big deal. Here’s a few phonemic awareness assessments for different ages.

Then, you know their individual needs. Make groups. If they are all beginners, awsome. Less planning. Do you have a “Chinese Teacher” who assists you in class?

Ok, then go here:
This is a goldmine of phonemic lessons, like all done for you lessons, in easy how to.
I’m legit in NY, and we use this in our district. It’s totally free.

So, divide and conquer. Teach to small groups if you can. A CT could run drills with the others, and some could do individual rote/busy work. Re-assess them every quarter/tuition date and re-group them, rinse and repeat. And mix in a story time. Kids like being read to, and it will provide an opportunity to learn/practice your Mandarin.

Oh, and as a former successful buxiban owner, no, yer not there to babysit. Do your job and teach English. Should be easy. You seem to want to. Good work days go by a lot faster than bad work days.


My cynical two cents is that the vast majority of schools are happy that the kids are happy and don’t complain and parents don’t demand any better. Many parents are happy to drop off xiaomei and xiaowangzi and skedaddle hoping they learn something.

When I first arrived I tried a few schools and found them to be similar, never learned anything from the schools to help me be useful.

Got out of that immediately and moved to adults, much easier and they actually want to be there.

Off topic Edit : great to see some familiar faces … jdsmith and Chris


Babysitter, class clown, entertainer …


It’s edutainment. Takes a while to get the hang of it.

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Not sure if I got the right or the wrong buxiban in that I’m expected to do my job well. Two fresh-ish (Chinese) teachers have already resigned out of stress since I started.


You forgot “enforcer”


Possibly, but if one’s plan is also to stay longormedium term and maintain one’s sanity, one might want to got a tad more professionally invested. Lots of buxibans set a low bar. Unless you can actually play UNO and finger paint each and every class…and even then…snot worth it in my book. I’d get fall asleep in class bored but quick.

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Hehe versatility is the key.

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Too true.

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