Illegal demos a red flag?


So I was offered to come in and interview for a position at a school that wants me to do a 20 minute demo in front of a class. I understand that this isn’t exactly legal (if its in front of kids that is). Is this a red flag that I should run the other way or is it just too common amongst the schools that it’s kind of necessary?


You risk being deported if caught. Probably a sign the school is either unaware of labor laws or doesn’t care.

You might try asking to give a demo in front of the staff only (I think that’s legal) and see what their reaction is. If they don’t care, you might want to look elsewhere.


It’s a red flag and too common.

Mr. Neck is correct: it’s legal if there are no actual students present.


Got ya.

Yeah, I’m getting a few replies from schools who are also offering to start off at 8-10 hours and then gradually increase up to 18. (which i wouldn’t mind if it turns out to be true)

I thought in order to be legal you had to work a minimum amount of hours per week? If they’re offering me only a few hours the first few weeks can I assume that this isn’t quite legal?


The minimum is 14 hours per week for the first employer, then 6 hours for each additional employer up to a maximum of 32 hours (i.e. no more than 4 employers).


Agh. Literally every school is asking for a demo. Wondering if I should apply to a chain if this is going to be a trend. hmmm


All the ones I applied to also asked for a demo. Private and public schools both asked for one as well. It’s so common that a majority of employers here consider it part of the interview process.

I agree with nonredneck, if you’re concerned just ask if you can demo for the staff and mention your concerns. Most importantly, be patient. It took weeding through dozens of offers before I found a suitable school.


For sure. Do you think its still possible to find a school that won’t have me do a demo in front of kids? Or is it so rampant its a laughable request? Still gonna try but I have some weeks so I’m not too rushed at the moment.

Appreciate the feedback!


I’ve never done a demo and I have worked at junior high schools, cram schools and have been a foreign teachers supervisor…

Most teachers are asked to do a demo because they come unprepared without anything to show for… Draft up a (demo) lesson plan, work it out well, preferably bring selfmade teaching materials and you will come across a lot more professional then when you show up empty handed…

I’m not saying thats what you did. Because I don’t know, but it will help!


Awesome suggestions. Thank you!


I teach at a very well regarded Uni. Still had to do a demo lesson before I was offered the job, and so at the time had no work permit or ARC. Legal? Probably not. Routine? Oh yeah.

I didn’t think twice about it. Afterall, your potential employer has to know you can actually teach. Unless you’re being set up, or applying to a buxiban that gets routinely raided I think you’re okay muddling your way through an impromptu 40 minute demo.


I would give them all the same answer: the WDA has stated very clearly that it’s illegal to do a “demo” with real students without a work permit (or exemption), it definitely is possible to get deported for doing it, and it doesn’t make sense for an applicant to take that kind of risk for a potential employer’s benefit.

The statement was on the WDA’s website in the FAQ section and should still be somewhere in there. If anyone is doubtful about the deportation part, I can quote an example that was unsuccessfully appealed to the Executive Yuan.


In theory, that’s probably the correct course of action (and the safest). However, in practice that could cost you the job you’re applying for as they might just shrug their shoulders and then ask the next available applicant to do the demo. It’s a tricky issue, especially since it seems many (most?) places just have it as part of their hiring process.


Being deported for giving a teaching demo is actually very stupid. It’s reasonable for an employer to want to see how you interact with the children before hiring you. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Taiwanese government makes it illegal.


Consider offering a demo video. Too late for some, but in the US it’s very common for teachers looking for jobs to offer video of them teaching in another situation – actual students or people who are the same age as students if possible. Even if you can grab some neighbor children and give them a 15-minute English lesson and make them smile and look enthusiastic by doing it, that might help. Bonus points if you can point to a grammar structure you’re reinforcing by doing the fun activity you’re showing.


Probably because they don’t want it to be used as an excuse when they catch people working illegally. “Oh but it’s just a demo, and there’s no paper trail to prove how many ‘demos’ this teacher has given (because we pay cash under the table).” Staff could be ordered to lie to cover it up. Parents would not be happy if students were formally interrogated, not to mention the students themselves.

It’s also a problem if the applicant is (wittingly or not) covering for an absent teacher’s entire lesson, without compensation and without a chance to pursue compensation.


Just had a school email me telling me that all private buxibans (not just public) now require foreign teachers to be state-certified… .

I’m gonna go ahead and call bs on that one.


Now that’s a new low for Taiwanese English schools that I’d never heard of; asking a potential teacher to come in to give demo, but in reality, he is being a substitute teacher without getting paid.


That’s some real life trolling right there.


Demos in front of students aren’t legal? Or did I misunderstand that?