You're making more than $1000/hr. tell me about yourself

I started a thread yesterday about the possibility of changing schools, which just ended up being a discussion about teaching philosophies.

That’s my fault. I gave too much explanation without cutting to the chase.

If you are making more than $1000/hr. teaching English at a school, I want to know some things about you.

When you got the job:

  1. Did you speak Chinese? At what level? Very well or enough to get by?

  2. How much teaching experience did you have?

  3. What’s the work like? A lot of outside, unpaid work?

I currently earn close to that but I don’t teach kids these days. I teach only adult conversation business English, and IELTS. My level of Chinese is crap, but my students appreciate that as they are there for the English not the Chinese.

I have 3+ years experience and an MA degree. Yes, there’s a lot of marking.

Unfortunately for you, you do need experience before you start to earn the $$$. By your own admission you have only done it a few months.

I don’t teach English much anymore. I hasten to add that I loved it and would be back at in a second in different circumstances.

I also didn’t teach at a private school.

I specialized in teaching writing to adults. And I specialized in teaching the same to civil servants and sometimes corporate employees. Most people can’t or don’t want to teach this. I found I was able to charge a significant premium–usually NT$1,500/hour. This also led to teaching conversation at a premium–my standard rate was NT$1,200/hour. I taught in English although I speak Chinese fluently. Speaking Chinese is very helpful in dealing with the administration who hires you and for reassring students that they really can communicate with you if necessary.

I rarely taught more than 20 hours a week because I found that teaching more cut down on quality and I like to do other things.

My advice is specialize and learn Chinese.

[quote=“Feiren”]ISpeaking Chinese is very helpful in dealing with the administration who hires you /quote]

Agreed. That alone deserves some premium.


I worked for one of Taipei’s more professional “Business English” schools. By the time I was making $1000 an hour there (inclusive of transportation), I had 7 years of experience, and fluent Chinese. There was even a period when I flew into Taichung from Taipei two evenings a week to teach corporate classes there, with my flights and travel time paid for. After I left the business English school to start my own (children’s) school, I taught privates for about a year. I charged $1k/hour for privates and $1200/hour for substitute classes. You’d be surprised how many buxibans will replace their $600/hour teacher with a legal (I have a JFRV ARC), experienced, reliable, Chinese-speaking teacher at twice the price if their regular teacher goes on vacation or has a fifth grandfather die back home. :wink:

Learn Chinese and develop a professional reputation. :sunglasses:

I spoke fluent Chinese when I came to Taiwan (it’s probably gotten worse since I’ve gotten here), and I’ve yet to make more than the somewhat standard 600NT/hour. If anything, my Chinese has been a burden. For instance, I get stuck translating speech contest speeches while my FOB Canadian co-worker who gets paid the same does not. Second, there was a period where I was looking for a job in Taizhong and I was consistently turned down because they thought I had too much “experience” (which could have been a sign that they were looking for a newbie to fuck around with/do a lot of extra work for free). Third, because my students know that I speak Chinese, it’s very difficult to get them to respond in English for certain types of questions, like defining English words using English instead of just blurting out the Chinese.

My corporate privates earn me a 1200 minimum and usually higher. (These days I won’t take anything new unless it’s bringing in 2000 or else is lucrative for some other reason) I’ll give them a quote based on the number of students; the higher the number of students, the lower the price per student. If you want to know how to teach such classes, see my post here on teaching 1-on-1’s (the same method works perfectly well for group privates, except it requires them to either share notes or photocopy them).

I also work for a HCBB (hardcore bushiban) and started at 1100 an hour there. Most HCBB’s pay well but do require significant Mandarin ability, though some will take you at a low level if you are currently studying it - see this blog for further info on such jobs.

I was earning over $1000/ teaching hour (less if you added my open door break times and prep time) teaching kids with an offer for a much higher rate to do some administrative work (being the only teacher who knew how to teach the program effectively at the time), but I left it for a job paying less than $700/hour because the school was/is going downhill (in quality and students) and the decisions they made about staffing defined just what kind of school they were trying to run.

In many ways I am glad I left, but giving up $65,000/mo. for 56 or so teaching hours compared to 80 teaching hours for less than that does hurt. Not enough to make me want to go back, though.

That was with 6 years’ teaching experience and lots of training and certification programs done on my own time and money while working for them. Plus being the only person who knew the program in and out helped. Chinese was not useful as there was no Chinese allowed in the classrooms. As a matter of fact, speaking Chinese was only useful in getting brownie points with the Chinese staff.

Interesting thread. I’m trying to currently decide whether to stay in ESL and work it a bit harder for interest and financial reward - despite what anyone says, $600, give or take a few shekels an hour, is not much money after 3/4 years at it. (And I prefer Western women :-)).

I wonder where those earning $1000 + come from. Any non-North American accents?

Interesting too, the split, maybe 2/3rds saying learn Chinese while the rest say it doesn’t matter.

I was reading an issue of Taiwanease recently and happened to see several classifieds offering NT$900/hour and others offering up to NT$70,000.

Now, I don’t know what their work load and unpaid hours are like, but they both said NEW TEACHERS WELCOME…

My natural accent is pure South Manchester UK, but like most people I guess, I adopt a teaching accent thats pretty hard to place. When I was looking for kids work I had a lot of point blank refusals for my lack of US accent (and for being too tall to teach kids :unamused: ). However, my UK accent has been helpful for IELTS work.