Finishing Master's, plan to go to Taiwan

Asking where to start and what to expect I guess…

So I’m 26 from the US. Speak Mandarin fluently enough (HSK 5). I worked in the “buxiban” circuit in Shanghai for 3 years to teach English. All three years were spent at Giraffe Shanghai (which is a franchise of the Giraffe in Taiwan but other than teaching material everything’s pretty separate). Now I’m finishing my Master’s in Education and Society in China at the University of Hong Kong (my Bachelor’s was in English at University of Hawaii). I got a CELTA too.

So… I plan to move to southern Taiwan (preferably Kaohsiung, can do Tainan or Pingtung) after I finish my Master’s this summer. I’ll be needing a job. I like teaching and I’m not that big on bashing buxibans, buuuuut I would still prefer a different experience than my three years in Shanghai. I would be interested in teaching at a University to try something new, or teaching at a private elementary school to take advantage of my work experience.

However, I got no idea where to start. I was thinking of emailing some recruiters but I’m not sure which ones specialize with Taiwan. Yes, I’ve done a Google search already obviously, but Google searches for anything ESL related in Asia are so monetized that it’s hard to trust anything I find on there…

Also, as far as salary and benefits, what would I be looking at for someone with my experience and qualifications in Southern Taiwan? Unfortunately I only have buxiban experience and a CELTA, but adding Chinese fluency and a Masters should somewhat sweeten the deal right? Or at least make me more competitive in the job market?

Any and all advice would be helpful. Thanks~

to teach at elementary school, you need a teacher licence for the subject you teach from US.

As for Uni jobs, I think there are some recent threads in this forum.

IME buxiban experience and CELTA are, sadly, pretty much irrelevant. They might make the difference in an interview, but if there’s a PhD holder they will get the offer.

Uni salaries are crap. I think you’ll be looking at around 65k a month in Tainan.

Why do you wanna move to the south? Do you miss breathing in pollution from your time in Shanghai?

:rofl: Hilarious jokes aside, the AQI isn’t the greatest down there my dude, and I find the heat to be unbearable during the spring/summer/fall/winter.

Why not come to Taipei, or somewhere else in the North?

I got my Masters in the states and teach at a private uni in Kaohsiung.

You don’t get a uni job by trusting recruiters. Some may even lie to you and say they can get you one, but it’s BS. Recruiters are, by and large, scumbags that are looking to offload their least desirable buxibans jobs so to fill quotas and get commissions. They have no contact with any universities.

Unis generally don’t advertise on job boards anymore. I got mine by looking at different university websites until I saw one with a notice saying they were looking for new teachers. So it’s usually on their websites. Now is the time to apply for a September start. Deadlines are usually by May when they’ll start asking the applicants to do teaching demos and sit in for committee interviews. The uni jobs are in high demand, so expect a rigorous interviewing process and to be competing against a number of other applicants. I was. Social networking also counts for a lot. If you know someone already working at a uni, it can help you get your foot in the door. But I think people getting hired or interviewed on word-of-mouth recommendations is becoming more rare these days.

Like @BiggusDickus said they’ll pay between 60-65k NTD a month for a new full-time contract instructor without a PhD. It’s not great, but you only teach 14-16 hours a week, have no desk warming and get 3-4 months off a year, so I’m happy with it.

I could consider it if I don’t find a suitable job in the South. Doesn’t hurt to throw a wide net.

But since you asked… my girlfriend moved back to Kaohsiung for work, and after living in Shanghai and Hong Kong I kind of want to “experience” living and working in a smaller and quieter place.

Yeah it seems that way after surfing a few recruiter sites. Someone else sent me the MOE website which has University job listings but it also seems like most require PhDs. Not to mention I’m only in the process of completing my MEd, so I wouldn’t even have an MEd diploma/transcript to send in with my job application…

I might need to try and get a job at a private school first then. University job might be too much of a reach for now…

Why? You have the right qualifications for a uni job outside of Taipei.

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private or public, to get an ARC as an elementary/middle/high school teacher you need a teacher licence. exceptions are international schools.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Like I just said, I got a uni job with an MEd. You don’t need a PhD for most mid-level private universities outside of Taipei. A PhD just gets you a professorship or helps secure tenure.

No, you won’t get a uni job if you’re still doing your grad school courses. Personally if I were you I’d wait until the MEd is done before coming out.

There used to be a member called DrewCutz on this forum who teaches at a uni down in KH. Don’t seem to be able to tag him unfortunately.

I am he.

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The people I know here who have masters degrees in education have all found pretty good jobs at private schools, although all of them complain that the “system” sucks, i.e. management. There was a thread here recently about a private school called Kang Chiao where a lot of the pros and cons of private schools in general were covered. Each school kind of has its own (twisted) culture, and you just have to find one that you feel you can work with without going crazy.

However, the most decent paying gigs are the schools that are waaay out in the sticks. You might find yourself stuck in the mountains if you’re looking for a better than average salary.

One other thing I should mention — if you truly care about educating kids, and you have a personal investment in teaching as a means of finding fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment, it can be a little rough at private schools, because a lot of them are businesses first and foremost. Actually teaching the kids takes a backseat to delivering test scores.

Now, some people are just here to collect their check and go, and it doesn’t much matter to them, or the school they work for, whether the kids really learn something or not. They have no problem just jumping through whatever stupid hoops are put in front of them (or evading them without running into trouble) and accepting that as a foreign teacher, they are very replaceable, essentially a trained monkey, etc. But this can really kill the souls of people who believe in being a good teacher and in having a lasting impact on their students, because the system often works against you in this regard.

So that’s something to bear in mind. But, my reference is a middle school teacher at a private school. If you’re working with elementary age kids, it might still be a fun and rewarding experience.


Yeah I’m pretty used to this considering it’s the same situation in Mainland China, buuut I try to stay positive and think, a good teacher isn’t JUST someone who teaches to find a sense of accomplishment, a good teacher is someone who also knows how to work the system and make the best out of a given situation and STILL manage to give something useful to the students.

I mean, we all got needs. Public or private schools have to give the consumers what they want, management works to please the higher ups and not teachers, and teachers, as much as they may like teaching, are working for money. I don’t think it would be possible to find a perfect school where an idealized form of “education” exists. The trick is how to be a good teacher in the reality of what education IS rather than what it should be…

But maybe I’m just being pessimistic… I dunno for some reason being pessimistic helps me stay positive, helps my soul not get killed :wink:

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Sounds like you have the right attitude!

You haven’t mentioned it clearly, but you have or will have a valid US teacher licence, right? Otherwise, you cannot be a school teacher, unless using some loophole by marrying to your taiwanese gf.

Unfortunately I do not.

in that case, your option for teaching is Buxibans, international schools, or unis. Local private/public elementary/middle/high schools cannot get your work permit.


Appreciate the information. I thought private schools would be different but I guess not. I’ll narrow my job search to the three institutions you mentioned then.

When do you get your MEd? May? You said earlier it won’t be ready. Are you coming to Taiwan without it? Are you in a distance program or are you doing it in residency? Sorry for all the questions, but it’ll help me to give you more precise advice on your best options.