Not enough jobs to go around

I’ve just found out from a friend who was let go at our kindergarten that she’s having a lot of trouble finding any work, even with her 3 years of Taiwan ESL experience (female with magical Californian accent too!!). Seems that each interview no longer comprises of half a dozen (if that) applicants turning up for jobs but well and truly over over. Has anyone else noticed this or having trouble yourself landing work? I just had a look at TEALIT’s teachers available board and there were 51 people seeking work in the past 4 days :astonished: Seems to me the well is drying up, or did it dry up years ago?

I can’t speak intelligently of the exact statistics or trends in the field, but I can offer personal anecdotal evidence. I’ve seen a rather huge number of furriners in Taipei this year. Seems that post-SARS Taiwan is more happening than ever, and it seems to be attracting people by the, well, boatload. :wink:

(And guess what type of work 95% of them are seeking…)

with all the new arrivals, there are lots of “teachers” to hire at base salary … people with experience who demand higher compensation may well be out on their asses from schools who don’t give a shyte about real teaching, and just want the “face”.

I have a friend who owns a preschool, and she has told me a couple of times that she has friends who own buxibans who are interested in having me teach for them. But working at Kojen, I simply don’t have the time or opportunity.

I’ve had a couple of offers for privates which I haven’t been able to take up either. From where I’m standing, there’s more work than available time.

I have work and people come up to me in the street and offer me jobs - some sound desperate! Doesn’t make sense :loco:

I think a lot depends on where you are and the time you are looking. I’m guessing right now is a bad time because we are closing in on year end and nobody wants to hire now. But I can see the point about glass ceilings due to large amounts of newcomers and little care for experience or ability.

It could also be that the people approaching you (both of you) aren’t looking for a full time teacher, just someone to teach a few classes a week. This isn’t really going to help someone who is looking for a work permit to stay in the country legally. So although there is work out there it’s not the kind that these people need??

I do see the job pool drying up a bit. There are a lot of 5 hours here 5 hours there type work. But at least in Kaohsiung there doesn’t seem to be much. I think it is because the schools are having a tough time attracting more students and foreigners who do have a good gig are staying longer. I don’t see much of a turnaround of jobs.

I saw an ad on another, less reputable :wink: , website that gave off warning bells and whistles. I don’t know if it is okay to post this link, but [color=red]can anyone point out why this ad feels wrong?[/color]

I think that teachers who are at the top of their respective salary scales should make sure that they justify their high salaries. I am beginning to see those teachers on the top end of the pay scale having less hours or not having their contracts renewed altogether. I know that I look at higher salaries as an investment in the teacher’s experience, not as time served. If I don’t get what I have invested in a high salary, sorry they are gone. Why should I pay the big bucks to someone if I can get someone to do the same job cheaper? I have not done this yet, but I would not hesitate to do so if the situation requires it.

Sounds harsh? If you are a teacher, perhaps. If you are in my position, no. I have tried to make it clear to the teachers on where I stand. I have also tried to let them understand “ESL schools economics”. A healthy school is in everybody’s interest.

I once interviewed a furriner as a favour for the boss of the buxiban my wife works at.
He wanted a 1000 an hour pay because “Obviously I should get more pay than someone
who has just arrived.” He’d been here 12 years. This guy was the dullest plank
you’ve ever met and I knew the junior high school students would find him a big turn off.

Actually, schools want enthusiastic teachers more than anything. Someone young and fresh off
the boat is a lot more appealing to a school than a jaded walnut head with zero classroom
charisma who has been here forever. Often it’s not a question of pay or teaching experience;
Schools just don’t want boring bastards. What they want is lively or funny teachers who
their students will like.

No matter what the current market is like, your average buxiban owner does not want the following types of teacher:

  1. Male teachers who constantly flirt with students and staff.
  2. Teachers who don’t prepare anything for class.
  3. Teachers who can’t answer basic questions about English and don’t have much of a clue about teaching
  4. Teachers who obviously don’t give a shit.
  5. Teachers who frequently call in sick, especially at the last minute.
  6. Teachers who are ‘cold’ or boring.
  7. Teachers who lose their temper in class.
  8. Very fat teachers. If you’re big you really have to make up for this ‘defect’
    in other areas, such as teaching ability, humour, sheer likability.
  9. Old teachers. Same as above. You have to compensate with your winning personality. Young, attractive teachers
    just don’t have to try so hard.

Conclusion: ipeople skills are more important than teaching skills/experience in the teaching industry in Taiwan. ( DUH! )

Not sure if ‘people skills’ come into play with several requirements on that list. Alas, too many schools are looking for young, eye candy play things. Unfortunately, many of the best teachers won’t fit that bill. Shocking, but true - a lot of ‘classes’ are more edutainment than education. :wink:

[quote=“Spack”]
No matter what the current market is like, your average buxiban owner does not want the following types of teacher:

  1. Male teachers who constantly flirt with students and staff.
  2. Teachers who don’t prepare anything for class.
  3. Teachers who can’t answer basic questions about English and don’t have much of a clue about teaching
  4. Teachers who obviously don’t give a shit.
  5. Teachers who frequently call in sick, especially at the last minute.
  6. Teachers who are ‘cold’ or boring.
  7. Teachers who lose their temper in class.
  8. Very fat teachers. If you’re big you really have to make up for this ‘defect’
    in other areas, such as teaching ability, humour, sheer likability.
  9. Old teachers. Same as above. You have to compensate with your winning personality. Young, attractive teachers
    just don’t have to try so hard.

Conclusion: ipeople skills are more important than teaching skills/experience in the teaching industry in Taiwan. ( DUH! )[/quote]

Whoah. You hear people talk about this Bizarro World Taiwan where teachers “have it easy”, but a glance at that list shows that the standards required for foreign teachers in Taiwan are much higher than the standards for teachers back home. Imagine walking into an interview for a teaching position in North America and getting turned away because “you too fat” or “you too old” or “children say you so boring” or “children scared, say you too angry”. Spack’s post underlines the clueless lack of professionalism in the buxiban industry. Spack could have summed up that list with one rule:

  1. We are not really looking for a real teacher. What we want is a paid circus clown to keep the children happy.

And people have the nerve to assume that my job as an English teacher is so “easy”. How many of you engineers, businessmen, copy editors, whatever, match up to all those requirements on Spack’s list? Yeah, bloody likely - you couldn’t hack it.

Well, the ad seems to take a very parental view of teachers, mandating how many hours they must be on campus because they have determined how many prep hours everyone must do. The next thing for me would be the salary thing. I don’t like salary jobs. Salary divided by total number of hours in these types of jobs always works out to below average per hour. Some people like the stability of always earning the same I guess.

To address your point about experienced teachers. In almost any industry, a skilled and experienced workforce is a credit to a business. They tend to be more reliable, better at what they do and more efficient. They create a better product, in short. Though their wage demand may be higher, experienced people seldom cost their employers anything. They tend to make their employers far more than the difference in their salaries. On the other hand, inexperienced people require training and, in the period in which they are still learning, create an inferior product. Nowhere else is this more evident than in the English teaching industry.

These are just tendencies, of course. There are deviations. Some experienced teachers really are just people who’ve put in the time. A bad teacher with five years experience is just an individual who hasn’t figured out he needs a career change yet. Some new teachers are naturals and bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

However, I think Taiwan adds another factor worth considering. I think one of the biggest qualifications for teaching here is the ability to live in this country and show some staying power. Simply put, those who have worked for you for a while are commited to Taiwan and likey aren’t going to leave suddenly. With newly arrived people, the risk is greater that they will decide they don’t like it here and want to go home. Sometimes they make the move suddenly, occasionally without telling anyone. The risk of this happening is signifigantly reduced when your staff have been here a while.

Of course, it is true we all have to justify our wage demands with performance. I wouldn’t expect an employer to pay me anything more if I didn’t provide them with some value for that extra money.

Spack - The administrators might not like teachers who flirt with their students but the students sure like it. The compass points north no matter what people say.

Maybe some do like it. But what about the ones who don’t? A lot of female students find their teacher’s constant flirtation creepy and tiresome.
Most of the time they’re just too polite to say anything.

I think it is very important to keep in mind that ESL schools are a profit making venture. Gotta keep the students in class and happy.

When I was back home in October, I helped a 3rd grade student with her homework. I was appalled at the standards that her teacher set out for her homework. I would never accept an answer that was not written in a complete sentence. From what I have seen, many of the standards we have in Taiwan exceed those set in the West.

With the ad that I linked to, I found it disturbing that they want a full two hours of prep time when they have a curriculum already set up (two hours, no way…what are those two hours really being used for?). I also found it disturbing that they offer a week’s paid vacation (Guess who is teaching the hours when the teacher is on vacation? The other salaried teachers. Okay, do it once and it is no problem…what if there are ten teachers in the program? Then we are looking at those teaching hours going from 26 to…I dunno…36 hours a week…ten weeks a year…with no extra loot for the teacher). The ad also seemed to slap teachers around before they even started working. Like, there are no other schools in Taiwan with a set of standards?

Another aspect of the AD I found “wrong” was that they mentioned jobs throughout the year. How can that be? I know for a fact that a school can guess when they need a teacher, but to say that they have positions open througout the year? No way…and so the warning bells go off.

I would have to say that the elementary students who make up 100% of my student population would most certainly frown upon their teachers flirting with them. Your compass is broken.

The point is that most of the requirements on the list are related to people skills.
As for teaching skills, you just have to appear to be passably competent. I say ‘appear’ because it is perfectly possible to hold down a teaching job as long as you’re able to waffle and fudge.
If jobs are drying up, the quacks out there will just have to brush up on the bullshitting skills that have got them this far.

Spack comically wrote [quote]If jobs are drying up, the quacks out there will just have to brush up on the bullshitting skills that have got them this far.[/quote] :bravo:

I too think there’s still work to be found but there it seems that every man and his dog are going for the gigs. It certainly isn’t like when l first got here in walked into my jobs and got them because of ;

a) my dashing looks and young age
b) being engaged to a Taiwan xiaojie
c) superb personality

There’s just more of us ‘foreigners’ around now. You can’t toss your ciggy over the balcony these days without sinjing a foreigner’s scone.

He that gets hurt will be he that has stalled.

It’s really no surprise to me that more and more people are flocking to Taiwan for work. As so many things are discouraging people from staying home and working (U.S. economy gone to the shitter, average U.S. employee works more than 45 hours per week, often without overtime compensation, etc.), why wouldn’t they run for the ‘better’ alternatives?

I tend to question the notion of ‘good’ jobs, too. In the time I was there ('98-'99), I saw far more jobs than possible applicants, had regular job proposals offered to me while walking down the street, etc. However, I never babysat, I mean ‘taught’, at a kindergarten or ‘little tykes’ cram school.

My work consisted mostly of contracted teaching jobs through teaching agencies (ie. Berlitz), teaching to adults and occasionally private tutoring to older kids/teens. If that sort of work is drying up, then I’m a bit concerned as I’m planning on being back there soon. Anyone know anything about the status of the non-mainstream teaching jobs? And how does all of this weigh OUTSIDE the greater Taipei area, say in Taizhong or other cities?