The Taiwan School Mentors List is a list of names of teachers who volunteer their time to answer questions about specific schools with which these teachers have personal experience. The aim of the list is to enable potential teachers to contact past or present teachers at a school to find out what the pro’s and con’s of working at the school really are, and to ask specific questions about working at the school that are not answered anywhere else. Some of the mentors have had positive experiences, while the experiences of others have been less than perfect. The list is meant to be the last step in securing work as a teacher in Taiwan, in as much as potential teachers have created a shortlist of possible employers, and can now check these employers out in more detail.
Although the list is only a recent addition to the site, we have received a lot of support so far, with around 95% of those invited to join the list actually putting their names down. We are now looking for more current and past teachers of schools here in Taiwan to put their names down.
If you want to have a look at the current list you can do so here.
If you would like to become a mentor then please either email us through the site or send me a PM here at forumosa.
Information required is as follows:
A username (any name is fine, either your real name or an alias)
A functioning email address that we can contact you on, and that will be used by users of the buxiban site (you can either use your current account, or create one specifically for mentoring purposes)
The name, branch name, and location of any schools that you feel you could offer information about - you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to have had experience that you think could be valuable to others.
Optional, but encouraged - a quick (or long) review of the school and your experiences there)
Mentors for most schools should probably expect to only get a handful of enquiries each month at the most. And mentors can have their name removed from the list at any time.
There is a lot of knowledge on this forum, and I hope that everyone will support the list so that newcomers will have more of an opportunity to find work that is suitable to their needs.
What you suggest is certainly a possibility, and is a downside to the Blacklist and Greenlist that we have acknowledged on our site. They are all open to abuse either by a teacher with sour grapes or rival schools. Having said that, there is some very valuable information available, and it would be a shame to discount everything on the possibility that it may be abused.
This is why it is important that teachers who have experiences in schools have a say. If we are lucky enough to have say five comments from five different people about a school then any bogus one would no doubt stand out, as it would likely go against the grain of what the other teachers were suggesting. I think a good example of this is the discussion that has been had about Kojen on boards in the past.
Personally I think that the biggest problem that we need to overcome is any suggestion that the teachers listed on the mentors list are actually representatives of the school. That would be misleading and is certainly not the intention of the list. The aim is for the list to be a contact point for teachers considering a school to be able to contact current and past teachers. Teachers opt in to be available to answer questions about schools, much the same way that a teacher may post an opinion here at forumosa. It is largely up to the recipient to decide whether the comments seem legitimate or not, and there are always forums such as forumosa where these teachers can come for more information or confirmation of what they have been told.
I certainly understand the concerns raised here, and these have been given due consideration, but it isn’t clear that the negative possibilities of the list outweigh the good.
That indeed would be a question I’d have. How can you assure me that they are in fact …not?
That would be misleading and is certainly not the intention of the list. The aim is for the list to be a contact point for teachers considering a school to be able to contact current and past teachers. Teachers opt in to be available to answer questions about schools, much the same way that a teacher may post an opinion here at forumosa.[/quote]
Does that go for the schools that suck too? There a couple of one star schools on your site…can I find out why if I so choose?
Ok, good point, so why the redundancy? Why do you think yours is better? And honestly, I’m curious…
and have some time to kill
god I feel like tetsuo
Well, this is one thing that bugs me. The truth may only truely be know after the fact…after a school has been blown up or shitcanned.
BTW, do the schools KNOW they are on your review list? If not, I think they should.
I know that you are a school owner, and I respect the views that you express on this site, even some of the comments that you have made in this post. I don’t agree that the site is open to as much abuse as you suggest that it is, nor do I agree that schools are somehow at a disadvantage by being listed on the site.
Anyone who has been teaching in Taiwan for more than a few years should have a pretty good idea of which schools are good and which ones aren’t. Additionally, anyone with even an ounce of experience here can spot legitimate complaints from rants. Feel free to have a look at the site and email me with any concerns that you may have about the information listed there, but I doubt that you will find many faults if any in the information listed within the school listings on that site.
Can people post totally unsupported rants on the site. Yes, they can. Provided that they do not say anything openly dafammatory, vulgar, or obviously incorrect. People are entitled to their opinions about schools, even if you or I don’t agree with these opinions. I think that most readers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves what is true and what isn’t, in most cases.
Additionally, the site gives equal emphasis to the promotion of good schools, as it does to comments about bad ones. For as long as I have been in Taiwan teachers have been asking for a resource that helps them research schools and teaching positions in Taiwan. Well www.buxiban.com is where they can do that. We provide the basic information about schools, and the teachers that teach there provide information about what it is like to actually teach at the school. I am not so sure why it is so difficult for you to accept that this actually works. Again, I welcome you to have a look at the comments posted on the site about schools and let me know if you find any inaccuracies.
As is stated on the site in a number of places, the comments are written by third parties and we can’t nor do we want to guarantee the accuracy of these comments. It would just not be feasible to do so. So it comes down to what’s reasonable, and I think that the buxiban site is more than reasonable.
On one end of the scale you could have a message board where anyone can post without even regsitering a username. You couldn’t really expect much from such a site, as there would be no accountability. I don’t see that such a site would have much validity.
On the other end of the scale you could have a site where people need to give you a copy of their passport and other identifying paperwork, a copy of their contract with the school, and a letter of employment from the school, all to verify who this person really is. I don’t expect that such a site would survive as it would be unlikely to have any posts on it.
The idea of buxiban is very simple. It is a source for information about schools in Taiwan. No one is guaranteeing that every post made by every person is 100% accurate. Are you suggesting that this is the case here at forumosa?
The aim is to have a place where teachers can post about their experiences with schools, and where schools can reply to these posts.
You ask whether schools are made aware about posts about their institution. In the case of serious complaints the answer is yes, we do contact the schools and make them aware of this.
Let me leave you with a question. What is your suggested alternative to buxiban.com for people researching teaching positions in Taiwan?
Hold your horses there…I never said that. I was simply curious about accountability issues and regulation of the site.
OK, fair enough.
It would fail…quickly…
Ok, that sounds fair to me. Are you going to edit out any posts that are just jump on the bandwagon posts from people with no affiliation or experience in said school? Otherwise, what’s new about your site? Everyone and their brother jumps in here…how do plan to manage the riff-raff?
Well, as an owner, let me tell you, what you may see as small, I may see as big. I think ANY school named needs to be informed asap.
My suggestion, at this late hour, would be to give inquiring teachers a litmus test: why are you here? And depending on their responses, direct them to the appropriate schools.
You sound like a good guy brian. Keep up the good work.
This is a difficult question to answer actually. The site is not supposed to be either pro-teacher nor pro-school. It is aimed at being an information source, and having applicability to both.
I personally am fully aware of problems that teachers can encounter, and I am equally aware that in some cases the teachers themselves create these problems with no fault of the school. This is why we try to do things two pronged. We provide the background information, and the teachers themselves provide the comments. As I mentioned before, as more teachers add their own comments, be they good or bad, it would become apparent to even a first time user that the comments of one particular poster differ significantly from the others, and therefore can likely be discounted.
We don’t moderate comments at all if possible, and when they are ‘edited’ notes are added as to why editing was undertaken. All posts are welcome, but we of course prefer well thought out and fair posts regardless of whether they are negative or positive in nature.The information on the site about posting pretty clearly states that the more detailed one is the more effectve their comments will be. When users post a comment such as ‘School A sucks!’ it won’t be posted on the site and they will receive an email requesting more information. Our hope is that they will reply with a more thoughtful post as their opinions could be valid.
As you seem to accept, even posts made on forumosa about schools are open to abuse. I suppose that in many peoples minds,the value of forumosa is that such posts can be dissected in the public forum if they have been unreasonable in any way. This has certainly happened in the past here, much to everyones credit, and the posters were revealed for what they are. The information here at forumosa is very current, but soon gets lost in the system, and I assume that it eventually gets purged for space reasons.
You have asked why buxiban is better than forumosa. Well I don’t think that it is, as I don’t see that there is really a comparison to be made. Both sites are quite different. Each has it’s value, and I have always felt that the two sites can compliment each other, rather than feel the need to compete with one another. This is the reason that we chose not to establish our own forum, but instead to refer users to the discussion on this site.
The value in buxiban is more as a archive database. Using a conventional message board such as here at forumosa, it can be difficult to search for and collect information about a certain school. At buxiban, all of this information has been collected and put together neatly in one place. Also, with over 2,000 schools listed on the Taiwan school database, buxiban is without a doubt the most exstensive English language list of schools ever seen on the island of Taiwan
In some cases yes. Basically it would be judged like this. If the new post didn’t offer any new information, indicated a lack of understanding of the school or situation, or was overtly offensive or in some other way out of line, then an email would be sent to the poster asking for more clarification. Trust me, we get our fair share of nutters over there, and this system seems to sort the wheat from the chaff as they see that they actually need to provide justification for their post. I don’t see that these types of posts are too much of an issue.
The biggest issue is people who post well, but with an agenda. It is my belief that while this may go unnoticed at first, with more people adding their opinions about schools, this will change, and these posts will become apparent for what they are.
I agree that the schools perspective of such a site would be totally different from the perspective of teachers. It is my hope that we can establish a free flow of information with schools through email alerts that lets the schools respond immediately to comments made as this is the only way to have real balance. This would also be ideal for the user as it would enable them to get an idea about both sides of the story. I believe though that the schools that have taken the time to contact us with their concerns in the past have been more than happy that the site is not anti-school. In cases where a school has negative comments written about it and posted on the site, we encourage that school to ask current or past teachers to submit their own more positive comments to balance the negative ones. In many cases the schools do this, and these positive comments are placed right alongside the negative ones for user comparison.
I don’t believe that we are in a position to determine who is right and who is wrong in each case. To this end it is difficult for us to decide which submissions should stand and which shouldn’t. This would be totally arbitrary. My personal preference is to list all but the most outrageous of comments, and encourage schools or other teachers at that school to reply to these claims. A single post is unlikely to affect the rating of a school. Repeated complaints or compliments about the same issue certainly would affect the rating of a school, and this is more reasn for the requirement of volumes of posts. Provided that a poster lays out the reasons behind his or her post, we will allow it.
Although not entirely against this idea, it does seem quite a time consuming way to do things.I would say honestly that if teachers were paying for this time as they wanted the best possible selection of schools for their needs, then we could do this. We may even offer this as a special service. But I don’t think that it would be terribly feasible for us to do this for every user who is considering coming to Taiwan. If it was adopted as a practice on the buxiban site than I fear that more than likely these users would be sent a list of chain schools or something of the like, as it would be next to impossible for us to consider going through the list of what is now thousands of schools.
While I can’t really comment as to whether or not I am a good guy, I can assure you that when it comes to this issue I am very thorough and fair. School owners and of course teachers, are welcome to contact me with any concerns they may have about listings or any other aspect of the site.
Finally, don’t forget the mentors list everyone- I know that there are a lot of teachers here, and even the smallest, most insignificant pieces of advice that you could offer would be welcomed by a newbie hungry for any information he or she can get.