Several questions for the long-term ESL teachers there!

Hi folks,

I’m getting married soon to my Peruvian gf. I am currently working in South Korea in a P.S (EPIK) saving up some cash etc.
We want to go to Taiwan in November after we get married. However, we are concerned as Taiwan is different to most other Asian countries
I have taught in (when reading forums such as this) such as having to go there to find work.
First of all, Peruvians need visas. I’m from the EU so I don’t need a visa to enter Taiwan.
But she will be my wife at that stage. She doesn’t really intend to work there, unless she can teach Spanish. She’s a qualified teacher herself in Peru.
But I am not sure how much demand there is for Spanish teachers there. Will a residency visa be difficult for her to get? Will schools help with immigration?

So without digressing too much, we’ll want to live there for 1 to 2 years. Is November a bad month to look for work there?
Furthermore, I might have to go there first to find work then have her follow me, is this a better option?
Making the move to Taiwan seems to be fraught with difficulties as there is little or no information on the internet besides this site and tealit. Therefore, I am trying
to muddle my way through all sorts of possibilities, when in fact speaking to people who have been there a while would have much more common sense answering these questions.

Finally, the starting salaries for chain schools like HESS, Shane and other schools seem to be very low. 600NT or so an hour?
I have a CELTA, good degree, and 4+ years experience teaching kids and adults alike with ome business English as well.
I am wondering how much should I essentially be looking for as a starting salary. I’m not going to go down the route of I really need a job and i’ll take anything route, rather
I’d like to take a few weeks, if necessary, to scope out places and if I had some type of idea where to look and how much to ask for it would be a good way to start planning for Taiwan.

Any, replies and info would be greatly appreciated.

Regards…

It would not be a big problem for you to get a job if you have experience with teaching etc., your wife will have issues with both work and visas though. There is a way to sponsor spouses on your ARC but they would not have a work permit through that method.

Taiwan offers scholarships to people studying MBAs, Chinese etc so that may also be something to check out.

Your idea of just coming for a year or two does not make much financial sense due to some of the difficulties you will encounter getting set-up and acclimated to the way things are done here along with language etc.

Well that’s the joy of travelling mate…I have lived in other “less” developed Asian countries and the way things were done there would have tried the patience of a saint.
But that’s the joys of it! To be honest, I am ready to leave Korea. The money and perks might be better but it’s not worth it. We can go and see somewhere more interesting
and above all with a better climate. It was regularly -20c here during the winter months. A tad too cold for me.
I’ve looked into the cost scenario of getting an apartment which ranges from $400-500 a month plus an extra 2 months up front? Doesn’t seem excessive.
Another grand or two for living expenses and we should be ok.
But thanks for the info.

[quote=“caoimhin76”]Hi folks,

I’m getting married soon to my Peruvian gf. I am currently working in South Korea in a P.S (EPIK) saving up some cash etc.
We want to go to Taiwan in November after we get married. However, we are concerned as Taiwan is different to most other Asian countries
I have taught in (when reading forums such as this) such as having to go there to find work.
First of all, Peruvians need visas. I’m from the EU so I don’t need a visa to enter Taiwan.
But she will be my wife at that stage. She doesn’t really intend to work there, unless she can teach Spanish. She’s a qualified teacher herself in Peru.
But I am not sure how much demand there is for Spanish teachers there. Will a residency visa be difficult for her to get? Will schools help with immigration?

So without digressing too much, we’ll want to live there for 1 to 2 years. Is November a bad month to look for work there?
Furthermore, I might have to go there first to find work then have her follow me, is this a better option?
Making the move to Taiwan seems to be fraught with difficulties as there is little or no information on the internet besides this site and tealit. Therefore, I am trying
to muddle my way through all sorts of possibilities, when in fact speaking to people who have been there a while would have much more common sense answering these questions.

Finally, the starting salaries for chain schools like HESS, Shane and other schools seem to be very low. 600NT or so an hour?
I have a CELTA, good degree, and 4+ years experience teaching kids and adults alike with ome business English as well.
I am wondering how much should I essentially be looking for as a starting salary. I’m not going to go down the route of I really need a job and I’ll take anything route, rather
I’d like to take a few weeks, if necessary, to scope out places and if I had some type of idea where to look and how much to ask for it would be a good way to start planning for Taiwan.

Any, replies and info would be greatly appreciated.

Regards…[/quote]

For Cram School teaching(which what you will be able to do, as you are not qualified for a public school position), your CELTA and “good degree” mean squat. Not being harsh, but that’s the way it is here.

As for a starting salary. Well, the market is down at the moment. I have seen teachers on this board whoring themselves out for NT 400 an hour. You will start anywhere between NT 550 and NT $ 650. There is also the lack of hours to be taken into consideration, but that’s another topic.

Well that’s fair enough.

cheers for the reality check!

[quote=“caoimhin76”]Well that’s fair enough.

cheers for the reality check![/quote]

I would stay in South Korea or move to China. If you have already been to China, its a large country and there are many different areas to try out for a new adventure.

Don’t get discouraged so fast. You do have a lot of experience and that does count for something at private schools. There are new private schools that are expanding and hiring. Many private schools will pay starting salary of 60,000 NT (2018USD) and up with attractive bonus packages. I know of a new bilingual Elementary and Junior High that is hiring for 2013-14 school year. They currently only go up to 4th grade (elementary) and 2nd year (Junior High), next year they will need a new batch of 5th and 6th grade teachers as well as 3rd year Junior High teachers. I know the principal personally and he is one of the best. I can’t give you a personal reference, as I do not know you, but I can at least point you in the right direction. PM me if you are interested and I can give you more info.

The first year you work here, you will be taxed at a high rate. If you stay longer, you will get a lot of that back. You said you want to stay for 2 years, so I don’t see that as a problem. The only problem I do see is that many schools want to interview you in person and see a demo. You are not here yet, so you have to commit before actually landing a decent job. I would suggest getting a starting job at a chain (easily done) and immediately start looking for private school positions. Look at newer private schools. Make sure you have a solid resume and reference letters from teachers, principals and parents…it will make a difference.

As far as teaching Spanish goes…sadly, outside of university level, nope. However, I do know for a fact that Spanish is becoming a popular second language choice for university students. I know several who are pursuing a degree in Spanish. This makes sense since a few of Taiwan’s friends are in central America and there are government jobs available for Spanish speaking Taiwanese. Having said that, I would suggest your wife could attach to your ARC as a spouse and tutor University students on the side to earn a few extra bucks.

My Taiwanese girlfriend has a Spanish degree and pines for a life in South America. The main advantage there is that Taiwanese people have racist hiring policies, and so prefer to hire “trustworthy” Taiwanese workers to be managers, while they leave the Central and South Americans to do the manual labor.

Only in Asia would ‘4 years +’ be considered ‘a lot of experience’!

hahaha indeed, but this is Asia and ESL teaching is usually a short-lived career.

My point is, you ain’t in the ‘experienced’ bracket and you ain’t in the ‘newbie’ bracket. It won’t be a disaster, but nobody’s going to be that interested in you either.

Thanks mate,

I’ll take that informative and insightful point on board.

Well, I have a lot more experience than most. You notice stuff, y’know? Take Quarters’ advice: he’s probably at about the same stage in his teaching career as yourself. Not sure if he has a CELTA though. I think he came to Taiwan to try to break into agriculture.

um…er…thats a tad bit presumptuous, dont ya think? :unamused:

No. Why would I have written it if I had thought that? The high paying gigs aren’t going to be scrambling for someone with a few years experience in Asia and an entry level qual. He’ll make a living but he won’t be raking it in. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a high school gig or something like that but can’t see him topping 70000 a month at least not for a good while. Do you? Remember he doesn’t have the I married a Taiwanese girl teaching diploma (JFRC) either.

Ultimately, it’s your call. Take whichever free advice fits your confirmation bias. Try Taiwan. It’ll be a new experience, at least.

[quote=“Ermintrude”]No. Why would I have written it if I had thought that? The high paying gigs aren’t going to be scrambling for someone with a few years experience in Asia and an entry level qual. He’ll make a living but he won’t be raking it in. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a high school gig or something like that but can’t see him topping 70000 a month at least not for a good while. Do you? Remember he doesn’t have the I married a Taiwanese girl teaching diploma (JFRC) either.

Ultimately, it’s your call. Take whichever free advice fits your confirmation bias. Try Taiwan. It’ll be a new experience, at least.[/quote]

The only qualifications that are higher than his would be:

A. having a teaching license from an English speaking country + University Degree…that’s kind of a given, of course.
B. being able to supply one’s own ARC through a JFRV or APRC
C. having a Masters Degree focused on linguistics of some sort

I think (A) and © would actually be over-qualified for most jobs here. Believe it or not, a lot of schools prefer not to have “highly” or “over” qualified teachers. There are many reasons for this, unable to easily “mold” a new teacher and expectations of a much higher salary are two examples. The best situation is to be somewhere in the middle; between under-qualified (FOB) and (A) or ©.

The trump card would be situation (B). Being able to supply your own ARC is a huge attraction for many schools.

Most people in category (A) will only accept jobs at International schools for the very high pay and benefit packages. These are by far the minority in Taiwan. [Pay = aprx 100,000 NT and up / mo.]
Most people in category © prefer University teaching jobs and public school jobs. Again, these are also a minority in Taiwan. [Pay = aprx 70-80,000 NT / mo.]
People in category (B) tend to flock to the private schools and public schools, elementary to senior high. [Pay = aprx 60-70,000 NT / mo.]
People lower than those three categories are the majority of teachers in Taiwan and fill up all the buxiban (cram school) jobs and left over private school jobs. [Pay = aprx 20-40,000 NT / mo.]

*the salary and wage estimates I listed are based on the current market conditions. Often times, buxiban teachers will need to teach at two different schools to get enough hours to make the higher amount

The OP has a few years teaching EFL, a University Degree and a desire to be here two years or longer. If he plays his cards right he could easily slip into a good private school job and not have to wade through all the buxiban muck.

These days, they are a dime a dozen.

I wouldn’t want to be a new teacher in Taiwan now.

A guy I know is just about to leave just five months into his contract. He was promised, and got, 25 hours a week with a chain school. However, he arrived in October so had to pay 20% tax and was only on 560 an hour. In short, he was trying to live on under 50k a month. He’s already got through $3k of savings as he likes to party, and that’s not including his flights. He’s basically well down.

Now, I know that a lot of posters will chime in that 50k is a lot in Taiwan. IMO it isn’t nowadays whether you’re Taiwanese or western. When you are 23 and looking to have a good time it’s absolutely fuck all. I’m 42 and I can’t imagine living on such a low income. Even if you are really careful with money I doubt you’ll save much on that - not with rents as high as they are and prices in general. Factor in not knowing the lie of the land and it’s a recipe for disaster.

As far as I’m concerned teaching in Taiwan is a terrible idea unless you are married to a Taiwanese or you’ve been here for a long time. I wouldn’t advise it to anyone. This is not me trying to protect my turf, or some shite like that. It’s me being totally honest and straight up. Do the math before you even dream of booking your flight.

If the OP wants anything positive then my only suggestion is to apply for a job with somewhere like the British Council. Four years post CELTA is good for that. Any job with a bog standard buxiban will not be a positive financial experience IMO.

[quote=“tomthorne”]I wouldn’t want to be a new teacher in Taiwan now.

A guy I know is just about to leave just five months into his contract. He was promised, and got, 25 hours a week with a chain school. However, he arrived in October so had to pay 20% tax and was only on 560 an hour. In short, he was trying to live on under 50k a month. He’s already got through $3k of savings as he likes to party, and that’s not including his flights. He’s basically well down.

Now, I know that a lot of posters will chime in that 50k is a lot in Taiwan. IMO it isn’t nowadays whether you’re Taiwanese or western. When you are 23 and looking to have a good time it’s absolutely fuck all. I’m 42 and I can’t imagine living on such a low income. Even if you are really careful with money I doubt you’ll save much on that - not with rents as high as they are and prices in general. Factor in not knowing the lie of the land and it’s a recipe for disaster.

As far as I’m concerned teaching in Taiwan is a terrible idea unless you are married to a Taiwanese or you’ve been here for a long time. I wouldn’t advise it to anyone. This is not me trying to protect my turf, or some shite like that. It’s me being totally honest and straight up. Do the math before you even dream of booking your flight.

If the OP wants anything positive then my only suggestion is to apply for a job with somewhere like the British Council. Four years post CELTA is good for that. Any job with a bog standard buxiban will not be a positive financial experience IMO.[/quote]

Wise words.
Everything is drying up or has dried up. If someone is looking for a year or two away from home to party and save a little cash, Taiwan is NOT the place to do that. Rents are very high in the cities and prices are going up and the good jobs are too few. 50K for one person is enough to teach and live and save a little, living a simple life…but not to be dating and partying.
If you come here with a bit of “starter money”, have some prior teaching experience in ESL, live simple life and don’t mind working your butt off the first 6 months to a year or so, then it is possible to scout out the better jobs and make some connections that can help you get your foot in the door to a better job.

If you are looking to “party” while living cheaply, go to Thailand, Vietnam or other S.E. Asian countries.
From what I hear, S. Korea and Japan are also starting to dry up as far as job opportunities go and overflow with people wanting to teach.

I can live, party a little bit, date, and save money on NT$30,000 (sometimes a bit less) per month. But if someone can’t live on the average salary that Taiwanese people in the same age bracket make (about NT$30,000), then he should take his whiny ass to some other country. At least then I won’t have staff pulling me out of my classes to translate some FOB’s standing on his ARC process.