Being Picky - Teaching Jobs

How much you want to bet they’ll try to lowball the OP for 500 an hour, citing inexperience for such a measly pay rate?

His only possible ace-in-the-hole is I bet there’s less westerners coming here looking for teaching jobs since the coronavirus thing blew up.

My suggestion would be to not undersell yourself. Many managers and bosses couldn’t care less about experience and whether you have a TEFL or what ever. They need to fill a position and a white face with a degree is most often what they care most about. It’s a stupid and shortsighted way of hiring, but if all you care about is short term profits and appearances, then …

I had no teaching experience when I started. But, I did have years of experience working in other areas and I used this to teach very effectively. I’m also quite confident and comfortable in front of people so for me it was a breeze. The thing you need to be aware of is the willingness of management to nickel and dime you and try and get you to sign a contract (often with illegal terms) that makes no sense or is just not good.

It’s a game to them that many from the west are not familiar or comfortable with. I always suggest when going on interviews to bring along some business cards from other schools. “Conveniently” drop one or two of them while interviewing so that they know you’re looking elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to act a bit naive as a way to see how they respond. I did this when the school that hired me told me that I didn’t need to get health insurance (of course this is illegal but they assume most foreigners don’t know this). They said that if I got sick, they’d just give me some money to go and see a doctor. This is total bullshit. So, my response was, “oh, don’t worry about it, I’ll just go and get it myself “. This elicited a panicky “no, no, no, don’t do that. Just wait”. Guess what I received a week later? A brand new health insurance card. Had I gone to get my own insurance, the school would have then gotten into serious trouble.

Be picky. Take your time and ask around. If you’re not sure about a contract, ask questions. As I mentioned earlier many schools will include illegal or unfair terms as a way to screw you. My contract included a clause that stated I’d have to come to work and not get paid several times a year. I asked them what “several” meant, but they wouldn’t give me a number. So, I said to them, “when I’m not here you don’t pay me right? So, when I am here, you pay me. My time is money.” Their response was.”ok, ok, ok” and they crossed it out of the contract. It turned out that those “several “ hours were 25 to 30 in a years. That’s a lot of money and time. I was lucky here because the semester was about to start and they really needed someone. Play the game. Schools that are desperate are more willing to negotiate. But, you should also ask yourself why they are so desperate. This might point to other problems which unfortunately are quite common in many Taiwanese companies.

Good luck!


In all honesty, the time to be picky is BEFORE you arrive on Taiwan soil rather than after you arrive. In my case, I had over two years of experience as an early childhood educator as well as two years of experience in elementary schools in my home country. It must be noted that this was probably over 15 years ago so the online resources were not so abundant as they are these days.

However, due to my experience and the the content of my resume and cover letter, I received more than one offer. As such I could be choosy. For one company, which for this the sake of this post will be nameless, I had a choice between working in Taipei or Tainan, with housing provided for working in Tainan, which is a less convenient place to live for some people.

I did my interview online, actually over the phone, and did very well. I was quite happy for the most part at my school and found out that, compared to other bigger branches, the school was more honest and straightforward with me.

So, although I don’t know your exact situation, I would recommend that you try to find a school before you arrive which makes everything much more convenient (finding housing, acquiring a work permit, getting your Healthcare card and your Arc).

Preparation is everything. Try to highlight your strengths. As it turns out, my experience as an early childhood educator gave me an excellent opportunity to be a teacher at a kindergarten, (小班), which no one else was qualified for. I had a happy year there before I left.

I left mostly because the administration had no concept of what early childhood education should be and I was, perhaps, a bit arrogant in my approach to dealing with the situation. Nevertheless, I was not cheated out of money and I was provided with everything I needed.

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