Quitting a Teaching Job and Leaving Taiwan

Hello all,

I have browsed around the forums a bit, and I know that my topic has been discussed at least a few times previously, but I wanted to know if anybody could give me advice on the situation I could potentially be experiencing down the road a bit.

I’m coming to Taipei in February, and I would really like to get a job teaching English full-time. The problem is that I don’t know if I can stay for a full year. I have some legitimate reasons that may require me to return to the US in late July/early August for good. What I’m wondering is this: For someone who is probably only going to be in Taiwan for 5-6 months, what is your advice on pursuing work? I would really like to work as many hours as possible (40 would be GREAT) and I definitely plan on getting my own living-space (size is not much of a concern. I can live in a small place.)

So, if you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Thanks!

I’d be quite surprised if this could financially work out for you - and if you want to work 40 hours a week, I guess financial reasons are your sole reasons for coming here.

If you arrive in February, you may be able to get up to working 20-25 hours by April or so. I’m not sure if finding 40 hours is even possible these days: long ago (as in 2000) I was working about 30 hours a week, and while I was getting a lot of money (at higher salaries and better exchanges rates than today!), I was running around like mad from job to job; I don’t think it would have been possible to work 40 hours, because all my “time off” was in 2-hour chunks that couldn’t really be filled. But that was a time when there were opportunities everywhere, and that’s not the case today. I’d guess you won’t actually have financially profited from your time here until perhaps June, or even July-August if including plane fare: to work that many hours, you’d probably need to buy a scooter in order to move around fast enough, which would just be adding to your start-up costs (and would likely make no financial sense). By the end of it you’ll probably have netted less than you would at a minimum wage job in the States.

On the plus side, you probably won’t care at all about legality, so I suppose that offers up some opportunities, although I guess I can’t condone that on this website.

If you’re interested in just having fun for 5-6 months, go to Southeast Asia or India. If you’re interested in working hard and making some cash, perhaps go to Alberta’s tar sands or something (depending on skills). I’m afraid Taiwan is no longer the kind of place you can fly into, make a lot of money for six months, and then leave: I’m not sure if any countries are good for that these days. Perhaps search through some of FarFlungScot’s posts - I gather he’s been here a few months, and is having quite a bit of trouble finding good sustainable work.

You have to go to countries where most Westerners aren’t willing to go – the Middle East – to make that kind of profit nowadays.

I’d also rethink your definition of fulltime because Taiwan teaching gigs aren’t 40 hours a week. They’re usually much less than that and there may well be unpaid prep time.

If you can find suitable subbing hours maybe take them although much like a previous poster said Taiwan is no longer all that lucrative for a short-termer. Hell, most long-termers often haven’t really started making money until their second year.

My wife used to do 37 classroom hours (for one school so no running about) and it just about burned her out. When you add the 20 or so hours or prep to that, you’re looking at a 60 hour week. Not fun.

Oh, hours like that are definitely terrible and unsustainable - but if someone is looking to work their ass off and make quite a bit of money, it’s the kind of thing you could probably do for six months. However, I really doubt finding that many hours is possible for a Westerner newly-arrived in Taiwan.

Is it possible to move to the Middle East short term and work? I know you can make more money teaching there, but I’m not sure how flexible it is. Not that I have any plans to leave Taiwan - just curious.

[quote=“toddsternd”]Hello all, I have browsed around the forums a bit, and I know that my topic has been discussed at least a few times previously, but I wanted to know if anybody could give me advice on the situation I could potentially be experiencing down the road a bit.

I’m coming to Taipei in February, and I would really like to get a job teaching English full-time. The problem is that I don’t know if I can stay for a full year. I have some legitimate reasons that may require me to return to the US in late July/early August for good. What I’m wondering is this: For someone who is probably only going to be in Taiwan for 5-6 months, what is your advice on pursuing work? I would really like to work as many hours as possible (40 would be GREAT) and I definitely plan on getting my own living-space (size is not much of a concern. I can live in a small place.) So, if you were in my shoes, what would you do? Thanks![/quote]

If you cannot commit to a contract then just don’t come. Its really bad for owners of schools to get someone who has no intention of fulfiling their contract. Just stay in America and dont come here would be better.

I knew a guy that taught for Kojen down in Khh several years back that taught 40 hours a week for about 2 years and drank a lot too. How he managed to pull it off that long I have no clue (maybe drinking actually helped). I think I would have lasted maybe a week. He could have been a green beret instead, or maybe even the Green Lantern.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I think I was a little misleading in my original post: I would be pretty happy if I were to just break even. Mostly what I am worried about are legal ramifications: being “black listed” or facing a huge fine or something like that. I already have my plane ticket, and I’ve got a few good friends living in Taipei, so I suppose I’ll show up and look around for a while, and if it seems infeasible I’ll just go home (or somewhere else.) It definitely sounds like getting 40 hours is nearly impossible.

Thanks again!

I believe that if you quit within the first 12 months of working in Taiwan the school can contact the Council of Labour Affairs and tell them that you left without warning. That’s how people get blacklisted. Here’s a guy who knows what he’s talking about:

taiwanease.com/en/forums/a-t … t9024.html

You won’t get a fine or anything. You just won’t be able to teach legally in Taiwan again. I won’t get into a moral lecture other than to second aboriginal girl’s comment that it really does screw the school owner around when teachers do a runner mid-contract. Many people do it, though. You might be able to be upfront with them and say that you are only looking to work for 6 months. It’s mid-year for many schools and they may well require someone for a short period. It could be worth trying that first and then going down the bullshitting route only if lots of schools reject you.

I did that with a school, except it was for 9 months - the school was fine with it. I’m not sure how common that is, and 6 months is a pretty brief time for a school to want to bother itself with visas.

Well, I suppose what I’d better do then is just be upfront. There is a small chance that things won’t work out the way I think they’re going to in the states and I’ll be ale to stay the full year. I guess I’ll do some interviews and see what comes of it. I guess I really should have thought this through more! It was much easier in mainland China – I managed to get a 7-month contract with no fuss at all.

Mainland China needs every teacher it can get. In Taiwan there are too many teachers competing for too few hours. If you tell them that you won’t be here for the entire year then you likely won’t get anything better than an illegal kindy job.

To answer your original question - you can’t get in trouble for quitting a teaching job provided that you give advance notice. A LOT of teachers switch jobs in their first year because they took a job at a crappy buxiban. Or at least it’s crappy in their opinion since they have no experience and probably no clue as to what they are supposed to be doing.