So you have decided to work in Taiwan, now you have to find a job. It's not as easy to find a teaching job as it was 5 or 10 years ago in Taiwan, however it is still not that hard. There are many sources that you can use to find that ideal teaching position that you're looking for. We have tried to include everything you need to know about selecting the ideal job for you.
For starters we have great information here about finding ESL teaching jobs.
"Teaching English in Taiwan” is a lot more complicated than it seems. There are many kinds of students, classes, materials, teaching methods, schedules, and schools that don’t necessarily appeal to every teacher.
If you already have some teaching experience, then you may have a better idea about what kind of teacher you want to be or are most effective at. Then you’ll be able to narrow your search for specific teaching jobs.
If you are new to teaching in Taiwan or Asia, you should start contemplating and even trying out different types of schools and students to understand what “Teaching in Taiwan” means to you.
Here is a breakdown of the types of schools you’ll most likely encounter in Taiwan:
Kindergartens are a private business and not part of the public school system. Kindergartens generally run a 3 year program. Pre-pre K (小班) ”xiao ban”, Pre-K (中班) “zhong ban” and K (大班) ”da ban”.
In addition, English Kindergartens are illegal to run in Taiwan. It is illegal to teach students under age 5 English in Taiwan.
However, there is still a market for Kindergarten English teaching and good Kindergartens can still thrive. Some are full on immersion English programs, and some are Chinese Kindergartens with short English lessons thrown in throughout the day.
Be aware that if you are teaching at a kindergarten and the Education Department comes to do a spot check, the school may ask you to hide in a back or secret room until the officials leave. The school is at bigger risk of getting into trouble more than the teacher if the teacher is legally able to work in Taiwan.
Student Ages: 3-6
Schedule: usually mornings. English Kindergartens may have longer classes up to 3 hours. Chinese Kindergarten English classes may be only 45-50minutes.
Style of teaching: singing, lots of talking, activities
Class sizes: 12-30. (With large classes, don’t expect to get much done. It’s most likely more about being in an English environment for a short time every day.
There are many kinds of elementary school buxibans in Taiwan. Students in 1st and 2nd grades only go to public school until 12:00 except on Tuesdays when classes are until 4:00. This has led to a large market for after school services.
Buxibans will pick up students, feed them, nap them and then provide classes for them during the afternoon until parents arrive to take them home. Parents pay for this service.
Many buxibans helps students work on their Chinese homework to get it completed before the parents come. Chinese teachers will make sure that students are doing their best and writing well. These schools also may provide some short term English classes during the afternoon on some days. Some schools may want a foreign teacher and some want a Chinese teacher.
English buxibans are different. They will pick up, feed, and nap students, but during the afternoon (2-4:30), the students will be in an immersion English class. These schools create full on English environments and most likely have foreign English teachers teaching. The curriculum is long term and parents expect their kids to learn the language well.
In addition, between 5-9 pm, (yes ,pm), schools may offer other 2 day or 3 day classes for older elementary school students to join. Foreign teachers then can have a full schedule of teaching from 2-9pm. These types of positions are full time and “golden jobs” for many teachers.
Student Ages: 1st to 8th grade
Style of teaching: energetic, with reading, writing, speaking, and grammar components
Class sizes: 8-18
In Taiwan, all junior high school students must take English classes in junior high school and high school. Unfortunately, the English curriculum for Taiwan students is heavily grammar based, with not much care for listening, speaking, or actual usage of the language. For most Taiwanese students, English is still a difficult subject as the system is really designed for them to fail. Thus, many parents opt to send their students to Buxibans to get a solid foundation in the language.
Junior High School Cram Schools are most staffed by Chinese teachers, however, sometimes they may offer classes for speaking and listening. In these cases, they may need a foreign English teacher.
Schedule: evenings 5-9pm
Style of teaching: speaking and listening/test prep
Class sizes: 8-20
Positions at public Taiwan elementary and junior high schools are growing. Many education departments in Taiwan cities are trying to boost their English programs by hiring foreign teachers to teach in public schools.
Although there are many hours and students to teach, the caveat for these positions is that foreign teachers are teaching English in a Chinese language setting where the English level of students is most likely quite low. Classes are only 50 minutes long, and may have up to 30 students with all varying levels of English.
Nonetheless, some foreign teachers do not mind this challenge and find these positions enjoyable.
Student Ages:1st to 9th grade
Schedule: full day 8-4pm
Style of teaching: English language skills
Class sizes: 20-30
Over the years, private schools have opened in Taiwan and many of them offer a “bilingual” curriculum. Bilingual in these cases means that the students will have several hours of English in school daily and most likely many or all of them will be in English and taught by foreign teachers.
The advantage of teaching in these schools is that you may end up teaching actual subjects like math, history, and science, in addition to language arts. The teaching schedule is most likely all day 8-4pm as well and follows the government schedule for public schools.
Student Ages:1st to 12th grade
Schedule: full day 8-4pm
Style of teaching: various subjects and grade levels
Class sizes: 10-30
There are many college and universities in Taiwan that provide high level English language courses. However, all foreign instructors must have either a Master’s Degree or PhD.
The types of classes and courses you teach are dependent upon what programs the college is offering. Positions are full time.
Schedule: full day according to classes
Style of teaching: adult
Class sizes: varies
There is an adult class market in the big cities in Taiwan. Adult classes can range from 20 year olds trying to boost their English for study abroad or passing the TOEIC, to moms wanting to improve their English speaking as a hobby.
There are private cram schools that cater to this market. It can be a mixed bag of experiences. Schedules may changes erratically and students may come and go in your classes throughout the term. However, there are many teachers who have nice teaching experiences with enthusiastic students.
Student Ages: 20+
Schedule: Evenings and weekends
Style of teaching: conversation and writing
Class sizes: varies
In larger cities, particularly Taipei, many businesses will hire out a teacher or teaching company to do some English language training for their staff. This could be for a global sales staff, or a company like IKEA that deals with foreign customers daily.
It is a good idea to hook up with an agency that find these cases and can place you in a class. These jobs are professional and teachers are expected to be prepared and knowledgeable.
Student Ages: 21+
Schedule: evenings or weekends
Style of teaching: groups sessions/conversation
Class sizes: varies
There are always Taiwanese who would like to set up their own personal classes with a foreign teacher. Private tutoring can be a nice tax free supplement to your monthly salary.
Private tutoring could mean actually going to a student’s house for a lesson, meeting in a public space like a coffee house, or going to someone’s office for an hour of English practice.
Students may be adults or children and the purpose of the classes can vary from conversation practice to extra practice of school work.
Private tutoring classes usually pay more per hour than school classes and the rate can vary on your experience.
Student Ages: varied
Schedule: evenings or mornings (1-2hours)
Style of teaching: intense conversation
Class sizes: 1-4