Too Old to Teach English in Taiwan?

I am considering coming to Taiwan next year to teach English and study Chinese. I am now 44.

Would potential employers consider this ‘too old’ and reject my application out of hand?

I personally wouldn’t but there are some schools that might. Being 44 means that you might have to spend a bit more time looking for a place.

It is more important to look presentable. You should see some of the stuff that comes through my door. Shower, shave, bring along a resume, and make sure that the school you are applying to fits your teaching needs.

Best of luck.


Lado, a company in Taipei that specializes in corporate English classes, will hire people of any race/age/gender, but requires a minimum of three years experience, preferably in Taiwan. If you are doing this for your first time, at age 44, it’s not going to be easy.

Durins Bane is right, though. Be presentable, show up on time for interviews, and make sure your resume is error-free (I have seen countless resumes with glaring spelling and grammar errors - I discounted them right away).

Came here at 39 without a job. Had no trouble finding work. I agree with the above – as long as you look and act presentable you’ll have no trouble. In fact, I would think many employers might prefer someone with a little more experience and maturity, especially the adult students.

I’m the youngest of a dozen highly paid teachers at my school. I’m nearly 35. Average age is 40, I’d say. I think most people started in their late 20s, early 30s, but new teachers are hired in their late 30s, early 40s.

I think that as long as you look presentable (looking a bit younger than your age will help, but isn’t necessary) and give off an air of cool professionalism, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Funny I though it would be the opposite, since older implies more mature, responsible and stable

I was debating about whether or not to mention this, but I think it may add something to the discussion.

I have repeatedly observed a Taiwanese prejudice against age and non-standard physical appearances.

Check out the local human resource/job listings websites. In most cases, an applicant is required to post his or her age, weight, and height, among other personal details. A photo attached to the job application is usually required. Most job ads state clearly that anyone over 30-35 will not be considered. Some of the local companies I am familiar with simply won’t hire someone who is overweight, ugly, or over 30-35.

I think that there also exists a shortage in the market of qualified, native speakers of English who can take teaching positions. That means that foreigners are often exempted from the age and appearance prejudices, but to a certain exent, these prejudices will carry over. Certainly, an unfortunately, race is a factor when considering foreign hires.

I think the bottom line is that there are jobs available for older and/or chubbier applicants. Not as many jobs as there would be if you were under 30 and lean and mean, but jobs available nonetheless.

Not to mention blood type. Many places would hire a 40 yr old, but god forbid a Type 0

Its been a particularly bad day. The thought of atttempting to make sense of anymore Chinglishee tripe was just all too much leaving me pondering the relative merits of English teaching and then I stumbled on this thread.

Oh yeah, and facing 40 and skint.

Thank goodness for some reassuring replies!

Actually my father, a particularly well travelled man who took on a Cambridge cert. on his retirement, landed a job within a week of being here. The poor old bugger’s got a very tricky ticker and naturally this wasn’t picked up despite the scars running down the centre of his chest. About a month into his work he fell off the wagon, part of his lifelong battle with the bottle, and stuff me if the school didn’t want him back as soon as he got out of detox! He decided to split the island but I’m convinced the school would have him back in a moment. Maybe it was his blood type?

Now I don’t want to be sending the message that teaching jobs are a sheltered workshop but for chrissake the initial poster is 44 not a bleeding geriatric.

Come, find work, enjoy!


I believe that you are never too old to be a teacher (or to do anything you want to do.)

But here is something from “Cosmos,” a company looking for English teachers.


  1. Bachelor’s Degree is minimum
  2. Interested in teaching ESL
  3. Nationality: American, Canadian, British, New Zealander, Australian, South African and European with high interest in teaching Children

I don’t think you’d have much trouble finding a job teaching adults … teaching little kids I think would be more difficult … two older guys were hired at the kindergarten I used to work at, and both only made it a couple months.

Check out Ching Shan Language Institute ( the street from NTU in Kung-kuan. I know they’ve got a couple older teachers there.

[quote=“fee”]I believe that you are never too old to be a teacher (or to do anything you want to do.)

But here is something from “Cosmos,” a company looking for English teachers.


  1. Bachelor’s Degree is minimum
  2. Interested in teaching ESL
  3. Nationality: American, Canadian, British, New Zealander, Australian, South African and European with high interest in teaching Children

A close Australian friend of mine is a female in her early 50s. She has been teaching here successfully for years and makes a very good income teaching mostly business people. In some respects, such as social skills, teaching is one of those professions where age can be beneficial.

Right, Hexuan.

I was just pointing out a barrier that the original poster might have to face.

I agree that appearance is important, and I also think that the experience (in teaching, the business world, or life) is always a plus.

To teach kids, many schools prefer or even specify that you have to be under 45/40/35. Part of m,y job involves recruiting teachers. What’s more important than actual age is whether you look young and energetic. Soem older people are great teahcers, but some older men in particular just can’t relate to class full of little kids very well, and I think it’s partly to do with age.


The age preferences stated openly in Taiwan are just an open expression of many employers thoughts worldwide

Go for it. So far there is more than enough demand to counter any preference for younger (and better-looking, isn’t that another preference we all have to deal with?) teachers. Three out of four schools I worked at had at least a few late 30s and beyond teachers. You’re definitely not alone. Being older, it may take a bit more effort to build a social network than it would if you were 24. That’s true anywhere, I think. So don’t let it stop you!

I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to all the posters for their advice and encouragement.

To pick up on a few points made, I’d like to think that I look young for my age(but maybe I am just being vain). I would prefer to teach adults and I certainly wouldn’t dream of applying to a kindergarten. I hope that having extensive experience in the IT industry would be attractive to potential employers. I am a bit worried because I don’t know my blood type :smiley:

I also intend to take a Cert TEFL course in this country (the UK) before I come to Taiwan. I know this is not recognised in Taiwan but I want to do it for my own development.

I am looking forward to returning to Taiwan.


You were winding us up, were’nt you?

With the info in your last, excluding the young for your age (I’ve aged badly and see your being young for your age in a bad light ) you’ll be running a bloody chain of bushibans and hopefully turning away anybody under 40 with a north American accent at every opportunity within one or two years.


No, I’m not winding anybody up. Apart from what I have read on this site I have little knowledge of the teaching English market in Taiwan. That is why I am greatful that so many people have replied to my post.

Last year I studied from 3 months at Chinese Culture University. I enjoyed my time in Taiwan so much I would like to return for a longer stay. I was just making enquiries to rate my chances of earning a living to finance my stay.