Which is required for teaching in a public school: an education degree, a teaching license, or both?

Hi,

I’ve been applying at public schools, and recently accepted a position to teach at an English Village in Taipei at a government elementary school. However, I ran across something puzzling in the forums.

[quote]Every school on the island knows that they have to hire either certified teachers, or teachers with their own ARC’s, JFRV visas. The school likely can’t hire you for any other position because they’d have to justify hiring a foreigner over a Taiwanese for that job.[/quote] - 25 Jun 2012, 02:41 @ forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 0&t=111255

[quote]2. Government elementary and high schools can only offer legal employment opportunities to foreign teachers under limited circumstances. In these cases teachers need to be qualified teachers with a degree in education and a teaching licence back home. If you cannot meet these academic requirements but are offered a position in a government school then that position is most likely illegal.[/quote] - 09 Nov 2005, 05:48 @ forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 26#p452126

Which of the two is correct? Do I need a degree in education and a teaching license, or just any college degree and teaching license? I do not have a degree in education.

At a big wedding party a couple weeks ago attended by over 20 current and retired public school principals and vice principals, I asked a public elementary school principal about the teaching credential requirement. His elementary school has a pretty big English program in New Taipei City, I forget which school. Anyhow, he said that he cannot hire APRC holders or JFRV holders as English teachers unless they have a teaching certificate from their home country. I forgot to ask about education degree.

He also told me that it’s really tough, damn near impossible to get north Americans with the credentials, and schools are finding it easier to recruit and hire South Africans.

I visited Ping Hsi Elementary School a couple summers ago, as the principal is a friend of ours. He told me that they just can’t recruit people to teach out there. He told me what they offered at his school. $60,000 base salary, plus free housing on campus. You got the whole floor of one of their staff dorms on campus. A 10,000 NT housing allowance if you rent elsewhere. Forgot to ask about airfare,etc. School has a total enrollment of only about 100 students, first to sixth grade. A beautiful location, in an ex-coal mining town, just a 40 minute drive out from Taipei. Talk about an easy kick back job. When the choir entered the Taipei County English song competition, they didn’t just bring the choir to San He Junior high here in San Chung. The principal gave everyone the day off and brought the whole damn school. It was pretty cool.
Only problem with teaching there is that unless you liked being in the middle of nowhere, and real peace and quiet, it would be excruciatingly boring to live there. Either that or commute. Which is what the principal did. He made that long twisty, windy mountain road commute from Taipei every day. Ping Hsi has a law banning convenience stores. So no 7-11 food. No family mart. It’s too small to have a Wellcome supermarket. They don’t even have a gas station. The gas station is a China Petroleum tanker truck parked at the side of the road.

BTW, if anyone does have the required credentials and is interested in teaching at a public elementary school, shoot me a PM and I can try to put you in contact with schools that are looking to hire foreign teachers.

From what I have seen on the forum and in ads over the years, is that only a teaching license is required. It does not matter what your degree is.

OK, I just asked a public elementary school vice- principal.

She said that you need to have

  1. a teaching license from your home country or state
    2)you need to have completed a degree in education. 教育學程

Of course, if you had a APRC or JFRV, it would be possible to be hired to do part time work as say, part time sports coach, assistant for the choir (preparation for English song competition), speech coach, etc.

My understanding of it is:

  1. You need to meet the requirements to teach in your home state/province/region. That usually means an education degree and some additional form of certification.

  2. There are lots of grey areas in Taiwan. People seem to teach with APRCs or JFMVs, though I have no idea if that’s a legal route.

Regarding schools not being able to fill positions, there are several reasons for that. The first is that the package is crap. Sixty grand plus some other perks amounting to perhaps seventy-five per month. Sure, the cost of living is lower here, but foreign teachers abroad are not really going to know that. They’re going to calculate the package as being about 30,000USD/year, i.e. ridiculous. They’re also going to look at the number of days of vacation (ten, officially, plus public holidays) and say the same thing. They’re also going to compare these to other countries and see that Taiwan simply isn’t competitive. Plenty of places offer equal or better packages. For example, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Brunei, U.A.E., etc.

Secondly, it’s a step in the wrong direction. There’s no pension, no room for career advancement, etc. Working at an international school can advance someone’s career. A high school science teacher who comes here to teach English to elementary school students is commiting career suicide though. There are also often issues about meeting requirements for continued certification back home (especially regarding professional development hours).

Thirdly, the other issue that is all too common here is that the support network is absolutely atrocious. From the moment they are hired to the moment they leave, foreign teachers here often end up with little to no support from their colleagues or anyone else both in terms of professional needs and personal needs. What help they do receive is usually done completely from the perspective of a Taiwanese person, i.e. it’s not helpful at all. For example, what a Taiwanese person would consider acceptable accommodation is probably not what the average foreigner would consider acceptable accommodation. There is little to no understanding of what culture shock is, and how to mitigate it.

These issues (and more) conspire to make it very difficult to attract foreigners in the first place, but make it even harder to keep them. That’s why most of the foreign teachers I have met here have fallen into one of four categories to one degree or another: 1) young and on an adventure for perhaps a year or two, but not particularly experienced or professional; 2) those married to locals who may or may not have all sorts of their own issues; 3) general weirdos who have been floating around Asia on and off for the past decade or more and who frequently have all sorts of major issues, particularly alcoholism (there’s a fair overlap with the previous category here); 4) people at the end of their careers who are often past their used by date but who are either trying to milk a few more years out of the industry and/or are here for tax or health care reasons.

[quote=“neesh”]I asked a public elementary school principal about the teaching credential requirement. His elementary school has a pretty big English program in New Taipei City, I forget which school. Anyhow, he said that he cannot hire APRC holders or JFRV holders as English teachers unless they have a teaching certificate from their home country. I forgot to ask about education degree.

He also told me that it’s really tough, damn near impossible to get north Americans with the credentials, and schools are finding it easier to recruit and hire South Africans.

OK, I just asked a public elementary school vice- principal.

She said that you need to have

  1. a teaching license from your home country or state
    2)you need to have completed a degree in education. 教育學程

Of course, if you had a APRC or JFRV, it would be possible to be hired to do part time work as say, part time sports coach, assistant for the choir (preparation for English song competition), speech coach, etc.[/quote]

[quote=“GuyInTaiwan”]My understanding of it is:

  1. You need to meet the requirements to teach in your home state/province/region. That usually means an education degree and some additional form of certification.

  2. There are lots of grey areas in Taiwan. People seem to teach with APRCs or JFMVs, though I have no idea if that’s a legal route.[/quote]

Thank you for all of the responses, it sounds like the situation is incredibly complicated. The strange thing is that while I would meet the requirements to teach in the state I’m licensed in, I’m not sure if I meet the requirements in my home state. Of course, in the US, I could easily move to the state I’m licensed in, but I’m not sure how things read from the Taiwanese end of things.

Given that the situation is incredibly murky, and that I’m very focused on working legally, could the final word simply be whether or not I’m able to get a work permit? If I submit all of my degrees (none of which say ‘education’), and teaching license, etc, and I’m approved for a work permit at this public elementary school, am I legally working? Or, even if granted a work permit, could I still be declared to be illegally working at some point in the future?

Can’t answer your question, sorry.

[quote=“neesh”]
He also told me that it’s really tough, damn near impossible to get north Americans with the credentials, and schools are finding it easier to recruit and hire South Africans. [/quote]

One of the reasons for this (apart from the mass exodus of white South Africans from South Africa) is that a South African teaching certificate never expires. Teachers from most other jurisdictions lose their teaching license after a couple of years overseas.

That, and everything GuyinTaiwan said.

I think that once you’re in the system here though, it doesn’t matter if your certification expires. I have wondered about several of my former colleagues or current associates who have been here for long periods of time. Getting out and then getting back in might be a problem though. Again, all of this is pure speculation on my part though.

Does a TEFL certificate hold any weight here? I have my Bachelors degree in English but I don’t have the teaching licence. I am South African and I’ve been searching for a while to find a job that isn’t a cram school. I have had no luck.

A TEFL certificate holds as much weight as an anorexic, underweight, Etheopian electron with a bad case of dysentry.

Hahahahahaha,thank you

So it’s more highly regarded now than before then?

TEFL is irrelevant in government jobs. It won’t help you get one. It won’t affect your pay. Pay is according to a standard scale that is influenced by only two things: 1) level of degree held, 2) number of years in the Taiwanese system.

It’s pretty much irrelevant in buxiban jobs as well.

So it’s more highly regarded now than before then?

TEFL is irrelevant in government jobs. It won’t help you get one. It won’t affect your pay. Pay is according to a standard scale that is influenced by only two things: 1) level of degree held, 2) number of years in the Taiwanese system.[/quote]

My science is not great. I forget the name of the particle with zero mass.

So it’s more highly regarded now than before then?

TEFL is irrelevant in government jobs. It won’t help you get one. It won’t affect your pay. Pay is according to a standard scale that is influenced by only two things: 1) level of degree held, 2) number of years in the Taiwanese system.[/quote]

My science is not great. I forget the name of the particle with zero mass.[/quote]

Don’t look at me! I’m just an English teacher. I didn’t get this job by being smart! It’s been about twenty years since I studied science. If I ever knew it, I don’t now.

Thank you for everyone’s responses, they’ve been very informative!

For future reference to anyone else who might be in a similar situation, I was able to get the work permit with my teaching license (but without a BA in Education).

I know that the MOE generally does not recognize distance learning degrees, but what about a state-recognized certification program like this: abcte.org/

In completing the program, one would actually be certified to teach right off the bat in New Hampshire, and would only need to complete a few other tasks in other states. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? I’m wondering if the MOE would take the distance portion into consideration if it still allows you to teach legally in US public schools…

“He told me that they just can’t recruit people to teach out there. He told me what they offered at his school. $60,000 base salary, plus free housing on campus. You got the whole floor of one of their staff dorms on campus. A 10,000 NT housing allowance if you rent elsewhere. Forgot to ask about airfare,etc. School has a total enrollment of only about 100 students, first to sixth grade.”

“These issues (and more) conspire to make it very difficult to attract foreigners in the first place, but make it even harder to keep them.”

The thing is teaching in a lot of areas of the USA (south, middle states w/ no oil) will give you less $ left over than teaching in Taiwan or Korea, with the identified quality of life trade offs that have been posted on the boards. However, if you have a master’s plus and teach for a couple years, your step increases in higher paying districts will result in more left over than all the jobs I’ve seen posted except for maybe a DoD set-up. That said, I haven’t seen all the international school’s pay scales posted. If you go into admin in in the US schools, which is pretty easy to do, you get an even bigger bump. I don’t know how easy it is to get an admin job abroad or all their pay scales, so I won’t do a comparison there.

What I will say is that I’ve heard it’s hit or miss to get your teaching experience from abroad (Korea, Taiwan) counted as a salary step, year of experience for advanced certification, certification as an administrator. I think that last thing is the major barrier to recruiting more real certified teachers (not people with substitute teaching certs that are acceptable in Korea). If a teacher could go abroad for a 1-5 years and know that experience would be counted for salary increases when he/ she got back, more would do it. However, it would suck to teach abroad for 5 years and come back to the USA, only to be placed on the same salary step as you were on when you left the USA. That would be a big loss of money.

In the USA neither the district I work in, nor the districts in which colleagues I’ve asked about this work, have honored the contracted step increases in at least the last five years (all were major East Coast districts). Currently it’s a non-issue.

When comparing salaries, keep in mind most US school districts base the salary on approximately 190 day years with 7.5 hour days. If you work ESY/YRS your base hourly pay is significantly higher during that time.