I have heard from many teachers in Taiwan advising me not to sign any contract before I got to Taiwan. Is it really bad signing contracts before my arrival? What are the things to expect if a contract is signed? I have had a couple of schools offered contracts via e-mail, but I am not sure if it is ok to sign them
Yes because you are signing the contract without seeing anything (the school, Taiwan, the working conditions), thus trusting the school at its word. You also do not have any visibility on whether the school is crap and run by a prick
Don’t sign anything. Tell the school that you would like to see their school etc first, if they have got a problem with that, then they may be working a sweat shop or something, so it would be better not to sign
Most of these schools are run by business people, that would walk all over you if you leave yourself open to it. Nothing personal just business after all
The only reason I would ever sign a contract from overseas would be to get a “soft landing”. This means you will be met at the airport and given a week or 2 of free accomadations in the school’s Tao-Fen (dorm).
IMHO, this is too high a price to pay for signing up for a year without having met the school director or having talked to some other teachers’. It is easy to finf a bus from the airport into Taipei. You can find lots of hostel advice on this site. Then just start walking, as Alien says, in ever widening orbits. Go into every school you see to work on your demo and negotiation skills. Once you have seen a healthy cross section of schools, you can start to make a decision as to where you’d like to work and with what age group. The younger the student, the more money you will make. I teach adults. Money isn’t everything.