If you are considering a move to Taiwan to teach English, then the good news is that there are a lot of schools and positions that are available all year round. This makes finding work as an ESL teacher in Taiwan fairly easy, but it isn’t until you look a little closer do things not look so simple. Teaching English in Taiwan is a great way to explore Taiwan and earn a living at the same time, but what kind of classes or students will you teach? Japan, Korea and China have a wide number of private schools, colleges and universities that hire teachers, so getting working teaching adults, teenagers or children is easy to do. This isn’t the case for Taiwan where there is one primary employer of foreign teachers, private schools. The main employers in the ESL industry in Taiwan are cram schools or more specifically cram schools for children.
The bulk of the learning English market in Taiwan consists of children aged 6 – 12 years of age. Most other Asian countries have students of all ages wanting to learn English, but this isn’t true for Taiwan. Because the market in Taiwan is made up primarily of children, this means that most places advertising for teachers are cram schools that have classes for children. Parents are obsessed with trying to give their children an edge and one perceived way of doing this is by sending them to English classes. Most children finish their day at public school around 3 or 4pm and then find their way to some kind of classes in the evening, of which one kind is English class. If you are looking online or on any job boards for work in Taiwan, you will notice that 99% of the positions advertised are for teaching children in cram schools.
So what is work in a cram school like? If teaching children isn’t your thing, then you would be best to strongly avoid teaching English in Taiwan. Most classes have anywhere from 10 to 30 students, with the majority of classes consisting of around 20 or so children. Classes run for usually two hours and cover fairly basic English usage. Most cram schools will want you to be lively and enthusiastic to keep the children entertained. A key point here is that cram schools are more interested in keeping children happy than helping them improve their English. Since cram schools are a business, their primary focus is on making money. You don’t have to be extremely educated or talented to teach in a cram school, just make sure the children love you and you’ll most likely never be without a job.
Teaching in a cram school might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but that truth is most ESL jobs in Taiwan are in the children’s market. If you enjoy children or would like a change, then teaching children could be right for you. Many people believe that teaching English to children offers more job satisfaction than anything else in the world. The same might be true for you also.
By TransitJan from Pixabay