Making Plans


I am looking for some tips on Teaching English in Taiwan. I have always been very interested in Chinese culture and especially the language, and after debating between China and Taiwan, I’ve finally made my decision, based on a number of factors.

I am currently in college, expecting to graduate with a bachelors in Finance, by May next year, and am starting to read many things (lots of information on here, thanks!) on the net about teaching English overseas. I have no experience teaching ESL. I did order a book that was arecommended read, via a thread on here. So hopefully that will give me a lot of insight on how exactly this is done.

As far as my ideal job/etc, I’m not looking for “the best pay” or anything, just want something decent, where I’ll get treated decent as an employee, and have the chance to experience Taiwan. I’m also looking for something in the eastern area (districts?) of Taipei, as I am making a good friend with someone (a native) over there (will be nice not to know absolutely no one).

Anyways, I have a few questions, as a newbie… depending on the answers to some, they kind of branch off into new questions…

  1. What is the best method for me to find a job (when the time comes)? Should I secure a job via email or telephone calls? If so, how early should I start looking?

Or - should I fly to Taiwan, stay at a hostel, and start looking for a job AFTER I arrive? To enter Taiwan (coming from America), will I need anything more than a passport (visitor visa)? And how long am I able to stay there until I absolutely need to have found a job with a working visa?

  1. What is the best place to get my feet wet? As a newbie, I’m sure there are not as many opportunities out there as opposed to an experienced person. Should I be looking for private tutoring, ESL chain schools, private schools, etc? The amount of resouces I have discovered on here, and other websites, has shown me an overwhelming amount of routes to take.

Thank you in advance for any advice you may offer. :smiley:

Well which one is it? Being treated decently as an employee and experiencing Taiwan are two mutually exclusive things, you know! :smiley:

Well yes, I did mean experiencing Taiwan outside of the job / while I am there teaching English. lol :stuck_out_tongue:

Based on where you’re coming from, a fresh college grad with no teaching experience or roots in Taiwan, I think your best bet is a chain school. I worked at one of the notorious chain schools, but I had an idea of what I was getting into and really enjoyed my time there. As a newcomer, I think it’s best not to go unless you already have a job lined up first. Taiwanese culture is very different from what you’re used to and a chain school can help soften your landing while giving you an opportunity to get your bearings. The pay is generally more consistent and definitely livable for Taiwan. If you’re really serious about teaching you can branch out from there. There are no guarantees mind you, horror stories happen all the time. A chain school merely reduces your chances of experiencing one.

Taipei is small geographically so as long as you’re in the Taipei area, even Taipei county, you’ll be reasonably close to your friend. Plus the Taiwanese are generally friendly (after they’ve gotten comfortable with you, usually after about three months) so it won’t be hard to make friends while you’re there. This is another benefit of working at a chain school, they’ll usually have some kind of initial training where you can befriend other foreign teachers. You WILL work like a dog, but hey, you wanted to experience Taiwan. There is no Taiwan outside of the job! :wink:

I am in a similiar situation as the OP. You mentioned that you had a book recommended to you to read before you go. What book is that?

I got this book, as a start:

Might read more depending on my time during the fall semester. But there were other books recommended at this website:
Main site (lots of info):

[quote=“brianUS”]Might read more depending on my time during the fall semester. But there were other books recommended at this website:
Main site (lots of info):[/quote]Yeah, as a starter book I’d recommend either the Harmer one or the Scrivener one that Hall Houston lists on that site. They’re often used as the main textbooks for the widely recognised introductory ELT courses Cambridge CELTA and Trinity Cert. TESOL.

which part of the US are you from? I am planning on making the plunge around the same time you are: in july '09.

My best friend did the same thing and lived in Taiwan for 2 years teaching English. He met his wife there and moved back to the states.

I was in a similar situation a year ago and I went with a locally owned and managed school in southern Taiwan. The school had its problems – no training and high turnover – that you would avoid in a chain school, but I enjoyed many freedoms that you may not have otherwise. Freedom turned out to be the most important element in regards to satisfaction and enjoyment.

I was put in a situation where I could engage the students with basically any rational method I could think of. By the end of the year I had some students speaking English naturally – that is, not as a response to questions – and nearly everyone was having a fun and educational experience. Between classes, during breaks, I spent a lot of time reading and talking with students, and during my last days there, my students’ appreciation started to show, with many pictures drawn for me, notes, and lots of questions. In hindsight, the kids were the defining memory of the last year. Not to say I did not have problems; a quick scan through my posts will illustrate some.

So, not teaching at a chain school worked for me, but of course small-scale schools do not necessarily correlate to freedom – it’s just something to think about.