I am posting 3 articles today, 22 Nov. 2008:
TEFL in Taiwan: The Good
TEFL in Taiwan: The Bad
TEFL in Taiwan: The Ugly
N.B. The odds of my following up on any of these threads is very low!
The Good is presented below, after an aside requesting shareable info about schools.
I’ve been looking for a way of sharing info about schools. While there is a smattering of posts about schools, it is insignificant when compared to the number of schools and complaints out there. Websites’ apprehension (to law suits and loss of ads) is compounded by a tendency to lash out against critical complaints which (often hasty, and articulated for an assumed non-hostile readership) fall short of legal thresholds of proof! The transient, passing-thru nature of the complainants only adds to this: they turn their backs and never look back.
Pay-based blacklists won’t work, methinks. I’ve looked at Usenet, freenet, mailing lists, etc. Would anyone be interested in bartering READMEs? I’m not looking for a rant, a forum, or for a list of the wrongs committed against you; just a brief, 1 page, bullet point, plain-text outline of the good, the bad and the ugly of a school. For now, I’ve written 2 such files. I’ll barter them under the conditions that free bartering can continue, that the files are not to be modified, and that they must not be presented/posted for general access. Contact me at the internetDog domain which is not a com but an org, and you should contact ‘gbuswap’. The Subject line has to say “GBU Submission”, precisely, plus the school’s name. If the format/content within has problems, I’ll send you suggestions.
TEFL in Taiwan: The Good
The Taiwanese are the nicest people to foreign teachers (FTs) that one can imagine. Sometimes, I just want to give them a collective hug! There is a tremendous amount of goodwill here which one hopes, with apprehension, will not go the way of other countries’.
The Taiwanese are forever helpful eg going out of their way to help find someone in the office to translate for you. It is embarrassing when you realise the corresponding treatment they may receive back at your home country!
They are very welcoming towards, & open to meeting, foreigners.
You can respectfully observe the public minutiae of daily life and rituals w/o fear of offending the local hotheads – which could be the case in some other countries.
You’ll have lots of disposable income. Cost of living in Taiwan is not low: the locals do complain about inflation. But your income is so far above the national average that you can live very comfortably as well as put aside money. You’re getting above a professional’s wages.
Once you get settled in a not-too-bad school, you can certainly save significant money. It will take you more than 1 year, and may well take you a few years, to get to that point, but it will get there (I’m told). And the lifestyle is pretty good.
Many of the conveniences and foods of the West can be found where you live or at a nearby city.
There is a huge number of English schools in Taiwan. Every little village seems to have a few such schools!
It’s a cliche, but the mix of the modern and the traditional (esp. religious) make for a fascinating view. And it’s a small island that can be easy to explore.
Taiwan’s air is not polluted!
(Now pause. Take a deep breath (no pun). And read on.) Well, the air is not discernibly/any more polluted than any major Western cities you’ve been to.
I have certainly read official reports of pollution in Taiwan. But similar ones do exist about the FTs’ home countries; the very ones which they ignore, if not dismiss.
So why do people say this? I will not go into the causes, but will instead recount a specific case.
I once ran into a FT complaining about the air in a small town with no nearby sources of pollution. He talked as well of soot on his face and in his apartment, neither of which I had experienced. I asked him if he was riding a scooter. The answer was yes. By riding in a pack of scooters, you are effectively sitting in a tunnel of exhaust fumes.
If you break this habit long enough, then you can address the question of whether, outside that tunnel, the level of air pollution is discernibly more or less than that of the smog-infested Western cities you’ve come from. IMHO, ordinary respiratory organs cannot. Scientific equipment may well suggest otherwise, but I fully expect that their comparable judgements have existed for half the places I’ve lived in.
Either way, one thing is for sure: if the first thing you do upon arrival is to buy a decrepit 2-stroke scooter, then you’ve forfeited any right to complain about the problem you’re contributing to. You claim to know better, and can certainly afford better, so set an example! Slandering a generous nation, and dismissing responsible action with macho calls of ‘man up’ or ‘grow up and get a scooter’, makes you a hypocrite;
- If the school lays you off, then they have to give you 2 months’ notice (which is the typical notice period for premature contract cancellation), or instead give you severance pay. Any lay-off has to be with the same 2-month notice that you have to give them. The CLA has confirmed this.
(AFAIK: If they try to fire you by accusing you of misconduct, incompetence, failing a student survey, etc, then they have to give you written notices and provide opportunities for improvement and follow-up assessments; it is non-trivial to prove justifiable cause. Confirm with the CLA.)
- If you are an hourly worker, and they don’t give you enough hours, you are not bound by the 2-month notice. You can talk to the CLA, and walk.
(I suspect that, if you used to be full-time, and they then drastically cut your hours, then there may be grounds for arguing that this is a de facto lay-off. In that case, severance pay may be due. Confirm with the CLA.)