CFL (Chinese as a Foreign Language, duiwai hanyu jiaoxue – dueyway hannyeu jiaushyue) teachers in Taiwan are a mixed bag. As far as I can tell, there are two types of teachers at Shida:
1] Older ones who got their jobs by virtue of knowing the right people (guanxi – guan.shih) and having a tolerable northern accent. Some of them turned out to have a talent for teaching and have accumulated valuable experience. Unfortunately, classes taught by dedicated teachers with a knack for teaching are not easy to get into.
2] There is also a new generation of younger teachers (some of whom have done undergraduate work in English or Linguistics) with MAs in CFL , but not so much experience. I have experience with both.
I came to Taiwan as a graduate student at NTU (MA in Chinese Lit) thirty years ago and never had to attend a language school except very briefly when my 4-year visa ran out. The MTC teacher I was assigned pretended to be from Beijing but I immediately caught her sprinkling Rs where they didn’t belong – she soon admitted that she ws NOT from Beijing, but she had briefly studied in Peip’ing (Beiping/Beeipyng – the old name for Beijing) many years before. When I wrote some essays on Chinese linguistics, she corrected non-existent mistakes (she couldn’t recognize technical terms in Chinese linguistics), which was rather frustrating, as I wound up being the teacher so to speak (I had to fill in the gaps in her knowledge). I was very polite and made the best of a less than ideal situation by sticking to topics she could handle so that I could learn a little. I was basically killing time, but that’s life!
A few years ago, I audited some classes (but became too busy to continue and register as a full-time student) in the Graduate Institute of Teaching Chinese: ntnu.edu.tw/tcsl/English/complete.htm and got to know a different aspect of Shida. The GITC faculty consists of a team of dedicated and well-trained professors teaching enthusiastic young graduate students (almost all women) about modern Chinese linguistics, computer technology and the latest pedagogical techniques. What’s more, many teacher-trainees are sent abroad for practical experience. If your teacher is a graduate of this program, you will probably be much more satisfied.