Please hear my tale, and advise!

Hello all, I’ve been a lurker here on forumosa recently, as I’ve been interested in finding legal English teaching work in Taiwan for some time. But, it’s been hard… I don’t have much teaching experience and I’m asian… and I want legal work. I’ve been here for 6 months now, I only recently found a place that seemed okay… this is after applying and inquiring to over 100 schools in the Taipei area, and some even an hour and a half away from. First off, I am a Taiwanese American from the States, recently graduated in Psychology. My family moved to Taiwan around the same time I graduated. I came along with full interests in becoming fluent in Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese not only because of the personal need, but the better work potentials this will give me later. I plan to go to graduate business school later. I plan to be in Taiwan for the next 2 years, at least.

Okay, now for the question… the work I recently found was at a small buxiban in Taipei. I called in enquiring about a job advertising hours from 2-4, and 4:30-6:00 that would provide a work permit and ARC from the classified ads for Chinapost. I went in, gave my resume, did an interview, and gave a 20 minute demonstration in front of what would soon become my class (of which, now I know is illegal to do). They ‘hired’ me that same day and wanted me to start ‘work’ the next week of Monday, saying they wanted to give me a ‘trial run’ before they gave more hours and such. The first day was fine, went through smooth. The second day, I learned that there was no way I was going to get more hours to meet the work permit requirements because all of the other teachers were well established and had been working there for years. Thus, my problem… I’m working illegally and would still be 6 months to years down the road at this place. The third day, the police came and interrogated for an hour and I was sent a message not to come too early… I was really shooken up because the police coming so soon after I started working was fishy. I still taught class. The fourth day (today), I walked in to tell my boss they need to find a new teacher. I am not wiling to risk deportation. I told them I don’t even want to be paid for the time I have put in. But, they want me to keep working until they find a replacement. I want to know what I will be risking by simply not going in anymore. I have not signed a contract with them. But, I did just yesterday send a message signed introducing myself and saying that I was the students’ new teacher to their parents. And they could always just inform the authorities and pay the measly slap of a wrist fine right? What should I do? I could really use the help and advice… I want to do away with this business as quickly as possible and avoid any dangers from my dreams. Thank you all in advance… I know, I’m a stupid naive newbie caught in a time Taiwan’s cracking down on foreign workers…

Nothing that I can see, especially if you don’t mind kissing what you’ve already earned goodbye. If they call you, tell 'em to fuck off and quit bothering you. Tell 'em your father has hired a lawyer. Tell 'em you’ve already contacted the Council of Labor Affairs about their illegal hiring practices. They’re screwing you over, so have a little fun at their expense.
And don’t give up hope – there are plenty of Asian-****es teaching here. Some of them even post on Forumosa.
Keep your chin up.

Since they can’t give you an ARC which they promised, there’s no reason for you to be overly nice. You may want to consider giving them two weeks, but that would be just as a gesture of good will. But since they tried to get you to just come in and teach without a contract, they weren’t being nice themselves.

In terms of what you would risk not continuing working there? Well, the fine they would get would be much more serious than what you would face. It is highly improbable they would report you.

If you happen to get caught (which is unlikely), just don’t sign anything.

You might want to consider a larger chain school. You won’t have to worry about legality very much. Try getting on with Hess or Kojen. Work there for a year and switch-- unless you like working in those places.

Even if you suddenly disappear, the school is not going to report you because of the hassles involved. No school is going to call up the fuzz and say, “Hi, I hired this ABC illegally. Please catch and deport this person. Now…how much do I owe you?” Schools that break laws by having demos and making teachers work before they get their ARCs (in other words, all cram schools) don’t make phone calls to the police unless something pretty bad is going on, like violence or serious theft.

Does that mean you should just disappear? Well…if you are being treated ok and the kids aren’t too evil, it’ll probably be ok to stay until they find a replacement. Your ethnicity makes you a very dull catch, to be frank. That’s the bright side. :s

You really ought to be paid, though. Since you told them on day four that you didn’t even want to be paid for the work you already did, those hours could be lost, though not for sure. It would be a good idea to clarify this with the management. You could broach the subject after a day or two by saying something like, “Is payday at the end or the beginning of the month?..How many hours have I done?..”

A hundred schools? :astonished:

Thank you very much for the replies. I feel much better. I will return tomorrow to give back the school materials they gave me and not look back. I feel most badly for the kids, however… they were a good bunch, and I liked them. I will focus future efforts in finding work at the more reputable chain schools next time and keep at it, even though my impressions of the English teaching industry has fallen a bit from this experience. I am thankful to walk to be able to walk away before treading too deep. Maybe private tutoring would be in the best interests of no hassles and avoiding bs.