Am I a dumbsh*t for teaching at KOJEN (formerly ELSI)?

I’ve had several variations of this same conversation recently:

A: So how long have you been in Taiwan?
B(me): Oh, about 7 years.
A: And where do you teach?
B: At Kojen.
A: WHAT??? Are you out of your frickin mind??? Are you mentally handicapped, or what?
B: Uh…

Please keep in mind, however, that I don’t and won’t teach kiddies!

You’ve been there for 7 years. What are you, a dumbshit? :wink:
Seriously, if you’ve been there all that time, I’d guess you must be reasonably content, right? Therefore, the correct response would be:
“I’m fairly happy there and I earn enough to meet my needs in a work environment that suits me. Anyway, why on earth should my choice of work-place be any fucking concern of yours?”
I’ve found over the last 25 or so years (admittedly not in the teaching profession) that there’s a lot more to happiness than the hourly rate (if indeed the “dumbshit” comment was in reference to NT$100 per hour less than you could get elsewhere – I’ve no idea about pay scales in buxibans).

It is very important to be happy what you are doing and where you are working.

If you are happy at Kojen then what other people think really doesn’t matter.

You are quite right. Actually, if I were really content working there, I probably wouldn’t give a shit whether anyone thought I was a dumbass for that particular reason. Unfortunately, there’s more to it than that. Basically, in addition to the fact that I don’t make much compared to your average kids teacher, the higher-ups in the company have recently made a series of decisions which are not only idiodic but also highly insulting to the senior staff at the branch where I work. So let me re-phrase my question:


Finding a school with a management that you respect and that respects you… hmm… usually the best you can hope for is a school that let’s do you do what works for you and the students, gives you enough hours, and doesn’t ask for unpaid, pointless, extra work. But you probably already know that.

Other options for teaching adults? I’ll share two places I worked at:

Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC) - new location on Chung Hsiao E. Rd. near that temple station. Lots of former Kojen teachers and lots of long-time teachers as well. They might still have classes at the old site on NTU campus near the northern gate.

Milton Language Institute - presumably still on Chung Shan N. Rd just north of Ming Sheng. Similar class format as that at LTTC, but only a few foreign teachers.

Both of these schools have been around in some shape or form for decades and your Kojen experience would be useful at both as well.

So you’ve stayed for years in one place because you like it, and money isn’t everything. Now your working environment is changing, and they’re not paying you as much as you would like to accomodate the downside? Now you’re wondering if you should go somewhere else? Doesn’t sound too dumb to me.

There are jobs teaching adults that offer flexibility, support, a pleasant atmosphere, AND good money. The trouble is that they don’t usually give you the hours you want initially. You have to get your foot in the door, and then they will give you more classes as they come available.

I started a job a while back teaching just one class a week, and after a few weeks they started loading up my schedule. I actually had to turn down work from them at 900/hr - teaching adults - because it clashed with other commitments. (That was more than they usually pay me.) And they’re really nice people - I’ve been there nearly 4 months now and never had so much as a difference of opinion.

It took a while to find that job, and I had to waste an awful lot of time meeting with wankers I would never work for - including the NT$1300/hr job teaching IELTS prep! If money is the only thing then it’s out there, but I would rather be happy in my work, as Admiral Yamamoto put it.

Saying that, there seemed to be an awful lot of people offering 530-600 per hour for 1-2 hours at a time. It was hard to stick to my guns and keep saying no until the offers improved, but I’m glad I did.

The other job I have is teaching high school. Block hours and students you can talk to - sometimes! You’ve probably missed the boat for that kind of work as the school year has just started, but there’s still work out there. A pal of mine just got a coupla hours a night at 800/hr. Some other people I know are making 70,000/month for 22hrs over 4 days a week. Western boss, no BS that I’m aware of.

Start looking, dude. It’s out there, and it does you good to do something different once in a while.

I have no idea how much Kojen pays you but as Sandman said if you’ve been there for 7 years and are still happy, that would mean a lot more than an extra few dollars and a bucket full of new hassles. I worked at Hess for longer than I care to remember and you should have heard the comments I got from people. Money didn’t really matter and I enjoyed the experience and the children. Maybe you could dip your toe in the water and get a class or two at other places to see if you like them.

Be happy :smiley:

Answer: Yes

If you have been there for seven years and are still a teacher, you have to think about what sort of ambition is driving you. Back when I was teaching, after about four or five years I was directing and organizing material, training teachers and overseeing hiring and so on. I mean maybe you have a love of the simple classroom experience, but by this time you should be accomplished enough to be climbing the ladder. Being the boss is not only more interesting, you can try to make a difference in how the students learn. How much bitching have you read or heard about bad schools’ management? Aspire to be a manager and make a difference.

“People without ambitions are like furniture.”
My first homestay “Dad” in 1985.

You’re right, Wolf, in that folks who complain about management might do better to give it a go themselves and prove it can be done better. However, dedicated teachers are also a value. Managers often complain about teachers who aren’t committed to teaching, who only ask for more money regardless of their performance or contribution to the school. In schools, teachers and managers need each other. If not everyone aspires to management, that’s okay. Still, your words can help motivate those interested in management who haven’t gotten around to doing anything about it and could use a little kick in the butt to get moving.

Actually, I am training teachers, writing materials, and directing a school…but my wages are still pitifully average… Also, the split schedule we work sucks, and as I said before, the CEO and VP somehow manage to be conniving and moronic at the same time! Well, listen to me bitching. It’s obvious I’m fed up with this place. I guess I just need to get off my ass and figure out where to go next.

Unless you are enamored with teaching, I’d highly recommend you waste no time getting out of that gig. Editing and writing is the next step.

Wolf, I think you’re wrong to think that most people would prefer management, training, writing or editing to teaching.

After a few year’s teaching I did a year in management, recruting, training etc, and I must say, that although overall it was a good experience, I’m very happy to be back ‘just’ teaching again. All the bullshit and politics and differences between expectations of parents, students, teachers, Taiwanese and foreigners, in the education field here can bve a real drag. Now that I’m back ‘just’ teaching, I don’t want to be involved with the management or planning of my schools. I’m much happier just doing my job and being able to avoid all that shite.

As for editing work here, I hardly see that as a ‘step-up’. It’s mroe of an alternative for those without any other special skills, who don’t really like teaching (or want a change). That’s fine for those who like it, but it seems to me that in most cases editors here have to work longer hours and they pay is no higher (and often less) than teaching. Also i did an editing course once back home, and came to the conclusion that editing seems like pretty tedious work. Each to their own of course, but I don’t really like the attitude that some people here have which is like “X years and you’re still teaching English”? Some of us actually prefer it.


One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
True, if you like something, do it by all means. Society runs that way. I’m glad that someone likes to collect my garbage and keep the electricity working; jobs I would rather not do myself.
I just sensed some frustration with this poster and thought that trying something different could be an avenue for him. Also, editing and writing, done well, can be a stepping stone to greater things. A number of people who started here in Taiwan have gone on to greater things in various countries. Working your way up to writing for Time or Newsweek, for example, beats hammering “The ball is red” into third-graders. But if a person is comfortable with that, great.

Take whatever parts of your dream you can find and cobble together reality.

Teaching (time actually in the classroom) can be an enjoyable enough job. The out-of-classroom bullshit that goes with it here is what I dislike.

Is that VP a Chinese American?

I had an interview with the arrogant bastard and walked out. I cut it short and just left.

What a complete moron.

No respect for the company at all.

AVOID Kojen unless you want to be underpaid and treated like a 17 year old high school student.

It sounds like you didn’t actually work for Kojen. Like anywhere, one’s experience at a chain school depends a lot on the personnel at a particular branch at a particular time. I’ve met a number of people who found working at Kojen pleasant enough to stay there for several years. That’s not the say that the school is ideal or hasn’t treated some teachers badly. I’ve also met people who’ve had lots of trouble with the management and left. There are inherent pros and cons of working at a large chain school as well as differences between different managers. I

Oy Vay, Vay…so…I am guessing that you’ve just returned from a long vacation, somewhere in the Himilayas perhaps? You’ve lost a lot of weight but gained a moral sense that will not allow you to be blindly cowed by the ineptitude of Kojen. Sure, you are familiar with the material and the system, but does that mean its right? Move on, seek higher greener pastures…listen to your friends, especially the one that used to work for Kojen, but now has the best adult teaching job in Taipei…just keep your girlfriend away from him…she likes him a little too uch, don’t ya know…

In response to your initial question. Yes!

Vay wrote:[quote]…the higher-ups in the company have recently made a series of decisions which are not only idiodic but also highly insulting to the senior staff at the branch where I work.[/quote]

What exactly have they done that is “highly insulting”?

Sorry Vay…turns out I had you mixed up with someone else. This probably didn’t make much sense to you. :blush:

What did you decide to do?