Anyone in the TFETP program here? How do you feel about the new housing subsidy rule?

This is not true. You’re thinking of the Fulbright Program.

All I can say is that I have attended an MOE FET meeting and we were addressed by the US State Department educational representative who said as much. If she was lying, it was up to the local MOE bigwigs present to correct her, but they didn’t…

Curious, why do you think it’s much better?

You say administration is done at a regional level, and that’s true to some extent, but what’s this “Central” region you speak of? As I understood it there was only a North and South center, and below those was each city/county’s ETRC (English Teaching Resource Center).

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Share your sentiments. The FETs working in the TFETP certainly don’t feel it’s any better - if anything - it’s worse!

If you guys want to keep your jobs and thrive, I hope you can—based on the example above—figure out how to use dashes properly. I have enough things to deal with in postsecondary education without getting my students to unlearn what they’ve been mistaught in the public system! :grin:



Sounds like a typical moron talking out of their ass about foreign teachers. I don’t know how someone from the US State Department could make a statement like that, unless something has changed in Taiwan’s own education bureau’s funding but no formal announcements were made.

I sound rude but that’s where I’m at with the government and 100% of the people working for them. No one “in charge” here actually knows anything about the various foreign teacher/ “teacher”programs and they don’t care to learn.

Fulbright is a US government soft power program. They also get a shitload of funding from Formosa Plastics, which is just a McMassive ethical problem that should end them yesterday, on top of Fulbright’s many other gaslighting and cult-like behavior problems. The “teachers” in Fulbright have a BA in anything and US passport and need pass no other requirements to join. The idea is to make Taiwanese children like Americans so we don’t go to war with each other when we grow up. FET/TFETP is an MOE program, run and funded by the Taiwan MOE, with an alleged goal of teaching children English. (Jokes!) They hire people with teacher’s licenses, which is not the same thing as saying “actual teachers”, as the work-arounds are many.

The person from the U.S. State Department probably thought they were speaking to a room full of Fulbrights, and nobody bothered to correct them. This kind of thing happens often.

Last semester we had an foreign English teacher (TFETP people + others) meeting in Pingtung and the head of the local education bureau kept talking about “another MOE teacher meeting” that was taking place in another location nearby. It took as a while to realize that he was talking about Fulbrights, and that he either didn’t know or didn’t care that there was a difference between the two groups.

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We literally are all the same to them. They do not care what the difference is or how much more one group could contribute than the other, and they will end up with increasingly less opportunity for English proficiency the longer they think that way. (And I’m not even an FET anymore…)

To be fair, this doesn’t seem all that different than the American bureaucracy :joy:

Actually in America it’s worse because you often need a credit score to rent a nice place. Sometimes the place will work with you if you offer to pay a bigger deposit, but there are no laws that say they have to work with you. If you are a foreign teacher in America you’d have this issue I imagine.

If you have an immigrant work visa and the right qualifications, you’re being paid a local salary as a teacher in the US. That’s going to come with the same benefits, etc. as anyone else. If you’re a Filipino temp worker as a teacher, which means you’ve been granted a non immigrant visa, you’re probably being housed in slightly better conditions than Taiwan offers the same type of worker of that nationality and paid what turns out to be lower than federal wage. But you’ll hear a lot from local school board officials about how much they benefit the students with their different culture and great work ethic and ability to stretch their income enough to be able to still send money home!

If i may, not on topic but i applied and I’ve got some questions.

Currently I’m waiting on placement as a TA. How long does this usually take? It’s been well over a month since the interview and then there was 1-1.5 weeks before acceptance and declaration to continue with application process.

The site says there’s a 5000ntd subsidy for housing which is void if i turn down the room the school might provide me – how often do the schools actually provide housing? I imagine it’s rather rare, but idk. I’d much rather sublet an apartment with some Taiwanese to increase my language learning speed, so hoping this won’t happen.

Any other things i should know? Appreciate it.

To be honest, I don’t have much information on the process of getting placement as a TA in the program. I would have to say that I’m more involved with some of the training programs for the FETs, and even then some of the timelines are a bit vague. My only experience that I can speak cop is based on one of my students, who comes from Indonesia, who had applied to be a TA in the program. I wrote her a very nice letter of recommendation, but she’s a mother of two and a graduate of our undergraduate program in English teaching. I even knew one of the interviewers. From her response, she was disappointed at how long it took to finally find out where she would be placed as a TA. As she already has her residence and a husband and a family in a specific city, she was unwilling and unable to accept the placement that she was given. Not to criticize the program, but it does appear that placements are prioritized according to schools rather than according to teachers. Moreover it does appear that the wait time between application, interview, and placement announcements are longer than many applicants expect. I cannot say much about the subsidies for TAs, although the information you mentioned does seem to be in line with other policies associated with the program overall.

I agree with your rationale and living with Taiwanese in order to enhance your learning of the local languages. Also, as a TA, there should be more flexibility in some of your scheduling. Having also been involved with the program from the school side, as an advisor to an elementary school, I can understand that there may be some accommodations provided. However, in many cases I do not believe that there will be this kind of housing provided. From my experience, very few schools can offer this kind of arrangement.

I wish you all the best in this process and hope that you get a placement that is beneficial to you and allows you to be a blessing to the students that you are entrusted with.

Note: I have no affiliation with the program itself, receive no financial benefits from them, and might actually do things a bit differently if I were given more responsibilities with them.

I have a very low opinion of the Moe. After everything that’s happened, even if I hadn’t started my PhD, I’d still quit.

The Moe has sent a very clear message that they don’t care about foreign teachers at all.

By the way, if there’s any issues at the school level and the contract like you finish your degree, get married or the Moe just gives the school the wrong amount of money, they will refuse to fix it. They will force the school to use school funds to fix the issue. If you’re not at a good school this can potentially make the school hate you.

Luckily I’m at a good school that’s willing to do a lot for me. They always help me and work with me. But the Moe is simply a nightmare to deal with.

Now, if anyone asks if they should teach in Taiwan I’ll tell them flatly no, it’s not worth it

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Thanks a ton for the response! One more question, since you have some degree of familiarity with the program. What do the TAs usually do? Will I actually be teaching or will I be hiding in a room grading stuff all day? Do they basically use the TAs as cheaper versions of teachers, or are they really TAs in the more conventional sense - that is, working alongside a teacher?

Appreciate all the help. Hopefully it turns out well!

Thanks for the question. As I mentioned I don’t do much work with TAs, but the guidelines for work are flexible enough that schools often have more choice in assigning tasks. Depending on the school, this could range from correcting homework and tutoring students to being in charge of teaching classes (or parts of classes). In my experience, schools are mostly willing to adjust responsibilities based on your preferences and experiences.

Yes. As someone above indicated, what FETs and ETAs do is attempt to bring order to a disorganized mess. This usually results in ETAs being treated exactly the same as FETs – for less money. If you stay in a school for a while you can attempt to work people, places and things to your advantage, but this is a long process that can last for years and hinges upon your coworkers staying in their positions.

The FET (TFETP) program is chaos now. They recently gave up on their portal. We have a big online meeting at the beginning of the semester, several speakers stress the fact that we’ll have to turn various assignments/documents in via uploading to the portal, and then they promptly give up on both the portal and the assignments.

Last year I transferred from one part of Pingtung County to another. It took geological amounts of time for this to happen. It wasn’t the county government’s fault, it was the people in Taipei.

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What the hell is wrong with the MOE? It’s almost like it’s populated at the bureacratic level by Chinese nationalist ideologues who drag their feet to implement these kinds of internationally facing / English-focused initiatives.


Thanks for the input. I genuinely do wonder how it can be so hard to get a working FET system set up. Wild to me. Probably just mismanagement and understaffing, so I’m understanding, but it’s definitely a pain. But ultimately, I applied to the TA position for this exact reason – it gets me in the door, since I’m just a cheaper teacher, and once I’ve got a year of experience, I can ‘upgrade’ to the teaching position.

Do you know how much freedom are we given to do lesson planning? I understand that a lot of it seems to be teaching for tests, but are we generally allowed to do whatever beyond that? Since I’m taking the CELTA right now, I’d really like to put the LP skills I’ve got to proper use.

Since it sounds like you’re in the program, what does the placement process look like? It seems like they just send you a school you’re to be placed at and then you talk to them about contract – is this correct? Or do they try and offer multiple options for placement? Do you have any negotiation options? Etc, questions like these. Since I’d like to take Chinese classes, I’d like to be able to request certain time slots off to do so (as long as they don’t interfere with teaching, obviously). Otherwise, as a teacher/TA, how many hours of in-the-class teaching are you likely to do? I know the workday is 9-5 but is a lot of that set aside for lesson planning for next day or are you going to have to do that in the off time? I’d rather like to spend as much time as possible not doing work outside of hours so I can work on language acquisition and experiencing TW.

I know that’s a lot of questions. I really appreciate all and any help. I’m just trying to get an idea of what might lie ahead.

It was WAY better (for most, not all) foreign teachers when the program was run more on the city/county level. This resulted in several different FET programs that were more responsive to local foreign teachers’ needs and differences in school environments. What we have now is at worst a few people in a distant office making inscrutable decisions and at best a slow, unresponsive bureaucracy that’s slowly making itself irrelevant. Sorry to be depressing but there it is.

Freedom with regard to lesson planning varies from school to school. Even more so for TAs. Some schools will leave you to it, other schools will regard you as little more than a “walking CD,” fit only for reciting vocabulary words in class. You’ll probably think I’m joking but I’ve actually seen it in Tainan. The local teacher (not even an English teacher) planned the entire lesson and guided the students through it. When she decided she was ready she called the “foreign teacher” over and had him recite the day’s vocabulary. In a 45 minute junior high English class that was all he did.

You should have some leeway with regard to picking schools. Schools apply (sometimes compete with other local schools) for an FET or ETA in one of several programs, (TFETP, Fulbright, county programs, etc.), and after you’re hired by the MOE they’ll let you know where they can send you. If you’re applying through something like Teach Taiwan they’ll also know what schools have openings.

Your “time slots” question would be best addressed to the school where you’re working. Just be aware that some schools will say NO. I wouldn’t expect to have vast amounts of time outside of school hours. If you’re new they’ll want you there.

Work hours and number of classes vary. Some people negotiate for a shorter day, different work hours (earlier or later) or a different number of classes, but this is usually done AFTER a contract is signed, and is often not put into writing. Don’t expect guarantees, but if your relationship with the school is good there’s wiggle room.

Honestly, from what you’ve said above I think you might be happier with a cram school job. You’ll probably have a lot more flexibility.

Since I’ve worked for the MOE (8 years), the contract has been getting worse and worse every year. They seem to be penny pinching wherever they can. I suspect that the 2023/4 contract will be even worse. The contract that they offer just isn’t competitive anymore. Get out while you can.