NT$40,000 / month when rent in a safe, clean, reasonably sized to raise a family home (outside of Taipei) is going to be at least NT$20,000, is too low. I know its the “average income” here, but it’s ignoring bonuses and the benefits that Taiwanese get that foreigners are excluded from. If you’re teaching 22 classes a week, required to be at a school for 40, and volunteering (doing unpaid would be paid work) for another 2-4, you’re already pushing minimum wage in any developed country.
This goes back to they’re teaching in public schools. NT$40,000 / month is fine to a college grad with no student loans and no concerns about finances when they return to the US. Hence my slightly uncalled for comment about rich kids doing Fulbright. I know you can defer student loans while on Fulbright, but there’s a good chance you’ve got a nice chunk of interest building up while you’re not paying, which means anyone concerned about their finances isn’t going to take the job (sorry, “exchange opportunity”) at Fulbright. You can survive off that much, especially when you’re sharing a crap apartment and your rent is probably NT$3,000/ month, but you’re not saving much money when you have to cover all your living expenses or else you’re not doing much traveling/ actually seeing the place you’ve come to experience. Hence my whole “schools can find people who are willing to work for little pay” comment, which I think got moved to a different thread. If Taiwanese schools and the education bureau only cares about having white faces (fact. we all know this is their main goal or else they’dve long ago accepted Indian and Filipino English teachers), then they can save all the time and hassle by having Fulbright ETAs in their schools at $NT40,000/ month for only the time they’re teaching here and leave Fulbright to figure out all the living stuff for whatever “value added charge” they want to charge ETAs for, vs. FETs at (min.) NT$62,450 / month paid for mid Aug - July, plus airfare NT$80,000 x2, plus housing stipend at NT5,000-10,000/month, plus annual month pay bonus, health care, and labor insurance. It’s more than twice as much to hire an FET than an ETA, yet FETs will demand the contract is followed to call their friends at MOE to make sure the contract is followed.
From my conversations with ETAs, it sounds like the contract they signed and what they’re doing are two very different things. I also sense this odd loyalty where they are unwilling to speak up about the fact that they’re not doing what they signed in the contract. Like, by bringing up the mass of labor violations/ totally ignoring of the contract, they’re going to screw over their entire future or something. I only care because it screws over the rest of us when they do that because it lets the schools think they can walk all over all of us and just don’t offer jobs to anyone but the willing-to-work-for-zero-pay ETAs.
The country government where I’m at says that the point is a “teaching exchange”, wherein the local teacher and the ETA exchange their ideas and teaching strategies, so both can end the year with new ideas. If you’re coming in with a background in art history, pre-med, or international affairs, you’re hardly coming in with EFL teaching strategies that can be exchanged, especially if you’re an American who has had little exposure to a world language classroom.
Even a crap cram school would, ideally, have more training in EFL teaching than Fulbright gives. Add to this the number of ETAs who are tossed into a school that doesn’t have an official English teacher in the first place. When I first started teaching world language in the US, I had a whole team of world language teachers to guide me through the process of things that work and bluntly inform me of what doesn’t. I figured out how to teach quite quickly, because I was being held to high standards and being supported the whole way. That was on top of my teaching classes that I had to take and classroom observation hours to get a teaching license. Being dumped in the classroom and expected to “figure it out” is fine in a cram school where the boss will either figure out how to train their foreign teacher to the satisfaction of the parents or lose money and fire them. What is a public school supposed to do when they’ve signed a contract with a program that doesn’t really care what the foreign teacher is doing or how much they know about teaching or their application of it?
Perhaps more to the point: it doesn’t matter what works best for the students or what they want/need, it’s not what Fulbright applied to the government for the ETAs to do and it’s not what the ETAs applied to come to Taiwan to do. If they want to do something other than what they program claims to do, they should file the appropriate paperwork and wait for their application to be declined like everyone else, and the contract that the ETAs signed should reflect that.
[quote=“nz, post:2, topic:189263”]
I don’t know where to find this information. It used to be easy to find and 15 minutes of searching has turned up nothing. I remember seeing something about volunteering while on a student visa not being allowed, but, as I can’t find evidence either way, I’ll pretend it is allowed.