Teaching in Taiwan isn’t without its pitfalls and problems. Many schools and recruiters have only good things to say about working in Taiwan to potential employees. This isn’t to say that none of it is true, but the best thing you can do before making the move to Taiwan as an ESL teacher is to fully prepare yourself in advance. Taiwan teaching jobs are all pretty much the same and you will find that most schools and bosses follow the same basic modus-operandi. Here is a quick look at what it is really like to work in Taiwan as an English teacher and some of the main problems you will face on a daily basis regardless of what city or school you work in.
The biggest complaint most ESL teachers have in Taiwan is the complete disregard your employer will have for your personal opinion. This is part of the culture of Taiwan. Bosses are always right and they very rarely will take anything you say into consideration. This might not sound like much of a problem but if you are used to working for an employer who values your input, then working as a teacher in Taiwan can be frustrating at times. Most employees simply go to work and do what their boss says. There is very little feedback or input from employees and many believe that it is best to do whatever you are told to, even if you know that there is a better or more effecient alternative. Again, this can be frustrating especially if you have years of experience teaching and are taking orders from someone who has no formal ESL training and runs their school like a cash cow and is not concerned with actually educating students.
The other complaint some teachers have is that of being forced to do work or duties that aren’t included in the contract. It is true that teachers sign a contract which usually states the hours they work and the duties involved, but contracts in Taiwan commonly hold very little weight at all. This isn’t to say that all employers will break the terms of the contract, but it is not uncommon. A classic example here is that some schools will ask you to perform demo classes or teach on days that you aren’t required to. Of course you can say no but doing this is equivalent to asking to be fired. Don’t be surprised when it comes time to resign your contract that you are not asked to continue on teaching. Taiwanese employees know the rules of the game all too well as they typically work overtime without extra pay and perform many duties that are clearly unrelated to their position. Not doing so carries the risk of being fired and quickly replaced. The same is true for foreign English teachers.
These are just two of the problems associated with working in Taiwan. By no means are all schools and employers like this, but it is best if you know in advance what you may face. Many schools will attempt to take advantage of you, especially if you are new and fresh out of university. Doing your homework in advance means you can make the most of being an ESL teacher in Taiwan and enjoy your stay.
By 3dman_eu from Pixabay