ESL jobs in Taiwan are typically part-time. Most teachers end up working about 20 to 30 hours a week and typically work in the evenings. While this is much less than the typical 40 hour work week you might expect back home in a normal 9 – 5 job, it doesn’t mean that teaching 20 hours a week in Taiwan isn’t without complications. What many teachers end up discovering is that they put in a lot of unpaid hours, and typically end up working much more than the number of class hours they get paid for. If you aren’t careful when looking for a job as an English teacher in Taiwan you may end up with one that has a lot of unpaid hours.
So what is the number one complaint teachers have in regards to unpaid hours? The biggest culprit is time spent correcting homework and grading tests. Most cram schools leave out or do not go into much detail about the kind of work you have to do outside of your teaching hours. If you teach four hours a day then many schools will require you to spend at least one hour marking homework. When this is taken into consideration you are working five hours and only getting paid for four. It is much worse when exams come along. You can expect to spend two to three hours marking exams and I have never met a teacher who got excited at the idea of knowing that next week one of their classes had a major test.
The other problem regarding unpaid hours is that most schools require you to turn up at least half an hour in advance, and sometimes an hour before classes start. This time is unpaid or is paid at a so-called “office” rate. What this means for you is that you’ll probably be paid about $ 3 to $ 5 USD for office hours, which is clearly much less than what you get paid while in a classroom teaching. Again, schools either brush over very quickly or completely neglect to point this out. The best thing you can do before taking any job is to ask what responsibilities and duties you have outside of teaching hours. Only by doing your homework and raising the matter of unpaid hours can you be sure that you won’t end up working 30 hours a week and only get paid for 20.
Teaching in Taiwan can be a very enjoying and rewarding experience, but the work environment is most likely very different to what you may be used to back home. Many people are used to working for an employer that listens to and values your input and even understands that you have a life outside of work. However, this is definitely not the case for Taiwan. Employers have no problem with taking advantage of or exploiting workers and this is why you need to thoroughly check out any ESL job and ask the prospective employee questions before accepting the position.
By jajalaba0 from Pixabay