Switching to being a part-time teacher

Hey Guys,

It’s me again. My full-time teaching job ends on July 15th, 2022. I’ve decided I’m not a fan of working 40 hours a week so I am wondering how I could switch to being a part-time teacher instead for the next school year. What’s the current number of hours needed to get a work permit for working part-time (is it 14)? And when should I start looking for jobs that starts this August/September?

I would totally agree with you that the 40 hour work week sucks. I got my APRC working 16 hours a week. I don’t know what the legal minimum amount of hours is, but in general it doesn’t matter because the school will just report whatever the necessary amount is. This is Taiwan. If you’ve been here a few years, then you’ll know that laws and contracts often mean very little to the ones in charge.

Anyhow, many schools try and waste your time and own you by locking you into 40 hour a week contracts. I avoided that when I started and avoid it right now. I was lucky to hook up with a small school. The only had 2 foreign teachers with one teaching the afternoon classes and the other teaching the evening classes. It was a sweet deal. A block of 4 hours, 4 times a week. No homework, no tests, no waste of time. They did try and sneak a clause into my contract about having to come in to work “a number of times a year” and not get paid for it. Since they couldn’t tell me how many times a year. I refused to sign and then they crossed it out. It came out to about 30 hours every year.

I’d suggest looking for a small school and even consider looking now. Put out feelers. Establish a relationship with them. Many schools are screwed and will probably go out of their way to accommodate you. Even your current school might accommodate you. Remember that as terrible as covid has been for millions around the world, it’s been pretty good for a lot of English teachers.

Thanks for the explanation and advice. I’ve taught in other countries before but I’m new to Taiwan. Taiwan functions pretty similar to China, South Korea, and Japan contract wise–a lot of employers treat contracts like it’s “optional” for them to follow. I work at three public elementary schools so it can be annoying because people don’t like to obey the law and often refuse to follow program protocols. The burnout is real when people believe they own you as a person since they pay you your salary. It’s exhausting to be a full-time teacher you have no time to do anything and you are constantly tired. Not a very good way to enjoy life.

I’ve been told that if I stay at the elementary level I would always end up working at three schools. I guess two of the schools are tolerable they’ll work with you. The problem is the third school they abuse their authority way too much they become real petty and salty when they don’t get their way. They try to punish you in subtle ways so that it wouldn’t be obvious what they’re doing. I don’t want to stay another year at this school they do too many sketchy things to screw people over. People at that school are toxic and narcissistic too so no thanks. Yeah, my advantage is that I’m already in Taiwan but then again if employers become discriminatory because they rather hire White folks then that’s going to be difficult to navigate through.

I’ll start looking around and see what is out there.

For a buxiban work permit, the minimum is 14 hours of “teaching related duties” (including lesson prep) per week, unless it’s a 2nd/3rd/4rth buxiban job in which case the minimum is 6, and the maximum for all of them combined is 32. (Source: regulations under the Employment Service Act. There’s a link in another thread somewhere.)

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Yeah, it never ceases to amaze me how Taiwanese bosses will shoot themselves in the foot and then blame everyone else. There’s something very cultural about it. Not that it doesn’t happen in the west (Donald Trump) but it happens here far more often. But, if you think you have it bad, locals have it much worse. Many spend a lifetime dealing with this crap.

As I said earlier, start looking around now. Regardless of how racist and stupid some locals can be, they need you more than you need them. Start asking around, talk to teachers working in other schools. There are schools that are well run. Sometimes by locals and sometimes by foreigners and if it’s a small enough school, they might want someone who can just work 16 hours a week. I lucked out and it made a huge difference. Good luck!

Yeah, I tell the locals they don’t always need to follow the instructions of their bosses, especially when they are forced to come to work during break without pay. Some never listen because they have been conditioned to care too darn much about other people’s opinions of them. If they want to accept bs because it’s a cultural practice then be my guest but I won’t be tolerating the abuse. It’s quite oppressive in a different way from the states.

I know they need native speakers more than I need them so that’s a plus. Do you work at a cram school then?. I’ve heard of teachers working part-time at a cram school and part-time at a public school, but I wasn’t sure which school was sponsoring their work permits. My guess was that it was the cram school making it possible for them to get their work permits. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I used to work at a cram school that sponsored me until I was able to apply for an APRC. Once I had that, things were a lot easier. I kept on working there, but also took on some part time gigs elsewhere. I finally quit last August. The year before I’d been approached by a broker who wanted me to work at a private high school. He offered me $650 and I told him to fuck off. A week later the principal of the school contacted me and asked me to come in and talk to him. He ended up offering me a good deal more and I’ve been teaching full time there but working part time. In other words. I teach my classes in the morning and then am done by 12:30. I did this all of last year while also working at the cram school. I finally got sick of the cram school and now it’s just mornings at the private high school and I hooked up with a “high endish” cram school that offers classes to kids going to some of the top private high schools. Since I have an APRC, I don’t have to worry about anyone sponsoring me.

Most high schools will probably only sponsor you if you come on full time because of the cost and hassle. Cram schools have more flexibility and so are probably more willing to bring you on for 16 hours or so. They might still try and waste your time by telling you that you have “office hours”. That might come out to another ….whatever number of hours they randomly decide to have you come in for. This is where you need to negotiate. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and let them know that you have other schools to consider. This might “encourage” them to waste less of your time. It’s a game that they play. I’m quite sure there’s a play book out there for cram school owners and managers on how to treat and negotiate with foreigners. I know there was one for how to treat south East Asian workers because some years ago there was a huge blow up when New Taipei City published a booklet on this. I’m assuming it was from a long time ago because it was pretty racist. They quickly retracted it and apologized. Idiots. Anyhow, as I said, it’s a game and they assume most foreigners don’t know about it so they take advantage of them. My first school told me that i didn’t need health insurance. If I got sick they’d just give me some money to see a doctor. It’s never ending. I sort of played along and then told them not to worry and that I’d just get it myself. Well, they freaked out and told me NOT to go down and get it myself. I feigned ignorance and a week later I had my health insurance card. It’s a game.

Thanks for the detailed information I really appreciate it. I’m aware of how much employers want to take advantage of our labor they assume we’re a bunch of idiots that won’t know better. Even public schools can be pretty sketchy. Alright I will look around and see what is out there. I don’t want to be this exhausted for another year so time to grind hard from now into the summer.

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You’re probably right, but last time I checked it was illegal. A buxiban can send teachers to work at external locations, but only when those locations are not other educational institutions (public/private schools, kindergartens, other buxibans).

I don’t see why not it’s unreasonable to not be able to work part-time at a cram school and public school but oh well not our call.

Apart from the obtuse work permit system, the rationale for the rule is that if the true nature of the situation (who’s teaching where) is disguised, the authorities have a hard time figuring out what’s going on, which can lead to problems like overcrowding in classrooms etc.

People who work in the public sector can’t have second jobs in TW. Technically that means they can’t even rent out second homes and have income from that. It surprises a lot of people here to hear that many teachers in the US have second jobs outside of teaching just to make ends meet. You legally can’t do it here. You work a public sector job and it’s your only job.

That’s unfortunate but it is what it is.