I agree with Brian. However, I think there are quite a few people who prefer coming to Taiwan with a job lined up. From what I’ve heard, Kojen’s probably a good bet. If someone comes to Taiwan without any prior experience teaching there or personal connections, they’re pretty likely to end up at a crap school anyway, since there are so many of them out there. I hear of bad experiences and poor pay from all sorts of schools, not just chains. To hold out for a good school with good pay and good hours takes not only time (and money lost to lack of employment), but the ability to judge if its a good school with good pay and good hours (which is rather subjective anyway). So, for newbies, I still think chain schools aren’t a bad place to get started. Of course, if you HATE following a set curriculum or are VERY IDEALISTIC about how language should be taught and schools run, definitely avoid chains.
Like all chains, branches differ, some better, some worse, and it’s a bit of a crap shoot coming site unseen. But I’ve met LOTS of teachers who started out at Kojen. And while there were complaints and reasons for deciding to leave Kojen (odd hours, travel between branches, conflict with supervisors, dislike of curriculum), many of these teachers had a good enough experience to want to continue teaching. The school is reputed to have lots of resources in terms of lesson planning, supplementation and activities, so as a newbie, you’ve got less to worry about in terms of what to cover and how to get through your classes without putting everyone to sleep, and when you do finally leave Kojen (as everyone does sooner or later), you’ve got a bag tricks to pull from wherever you teach in the future.
(Brian - betel nut-chewing men in grungy tank tops and flip-flops; rice fields criss-crossed with roads and dotted with two-story, white bathroom-tiled, concrete-balustraded cube-shaped houses; karaoke in a white tiled living room with a black leather couch - what isn’t there to love about small towns?)