Finding ESL, EFL, or other Teaching Jobs in Taiwan – Tips and Resources for Finding Work
Finding a teaching job in Taiwan can take a little time, but with diligence and a little luck, it will eventually happen. Once you get that first job and learn the ropes of teaching in Taiwan, finding future teaching jobs is much easier. Here are some suggestions and tips for finding a Taiwan teaching job:
When’s the best time to find a Taiwan teaching job?
Although schools may be hiring throughout the school year, it’s safe to say that Taiwan has a teacher hiring “season”. This season begins in April and continues through the end of October. Most schools will experience changeover of staff or addition of positions during the summer months. Public and private elementary schools will most likely be organizing their staff for the new school year.
Teaching job posts will increase in the summer months but so will those searching for a teaching job in Taiwan. Whether you’re searching online or just coming over to Taiwan to find a job, your best bet is the summer for sure.
As with almost any jobs these days, there are plenty of job sites where a candidate can post an interview or respond to an advertisement. Teaching jobs in Taiwan are no different. There are several ESL job boards on the net. Some are for multiple countries and regions and some are dedicated to Taiwan. The EIT Job Board is a good place to start.
Just remember that not every school or organization that is hiring will accept out of Taiwan candidates. Many schools will require an on-site interview and will not pay for airfare or housing. The schools that hire from overseas are most likely bigger organizations that require larger numbers of teachers.
Door to Door/School to school introductions
Many language schools are local businesses in Taiwan. Bosses may not be as internet savvy or may not even speak much English so finding them on the Internet may not be an option. One of the “old school” ways of finding a job is hitting the pavement and going door to door visiting every school you see.
It sometimes pays to be aggressive in your search for a teaching job and those teachers who are hungry won’t be shy about it.
Walk around your neighborhood or city with a stack of resumes in your hand and stop at every school you see. Be polite, look professional, and always smile. It’s good to have a local cellphone number so people can contact you. Timing, luck, and fate may be in your favor. If a manager is hiring and likes your look and resume, you may be hired within a week. It can save a school manager time and money in his/her search process. Don’t get frustrated if the results aren’t immediate. Be diligent and patient.
Word of Mouth-Build a teaching network
As with any job, many positions are filled by those who know someone who knows someone. Good teaching positions in Taiwan can definitely be along these lines. Not only do good teaching jobs rarely spring up everywhere (teachers tend to stay at them longer), but when one does pop up , the savvy local teachers who are well connected will probably hear about it before anyone else. Once you arrive in Taiwan, get out and start building a network. Ask around at local hangouts or at social activities. Let others know you are looking for work and that you are even willing to sub if necessary. These things can lead to a good connection with a future employer.
Agencies and Agents
Agents are Taiwanese “middle men” between a school and a teacher. In Taiwan, there are many types of schools that may need a foreign English teacher. Schools that are 100% English only language school may have an English speaking owner, or better yet a foreign manager. However, there are many Chinese crams schools that offer English as a side course. These bosses and directors most likely can neither communicate in English nor conduct a successful teacher search. In addition, some of these schools are located outside of big city centers where people have minimal contact with foreigners. In addition, a good number of these schools will only offer part time hours without a proper ARC/work permit.
Agents can bridge this gap. Agents are locals who have developed a network of schools and foreign teachers and then can match them up. There are more than a few foreign teachers who have a full time position but want a few more hours to boost their salaries. These types of agents can come in handy.
Are agents cheating you?
Most agents may take a small cut of your salary or they have a finder’s fee deal with schools. Many agent teaching jobs will be a bit lower in salary. However, since it’s most likely under the table work, your fees should be in cash and tax free. Don’t let an agent tell you otherwise!
There are good agents and bad ones. If you find a good one and develop a good relationship, you’ll have more work than you can handle. Remember, agents want good reliable teachers as well. However, some agents may be skimming too much from you or flat out stealing from you due to extra fees. If you sense that, the best thing to do is end your relationship with that agent.
Public schools may hire agencies to help them search and fill teaching spots. It’s best to know what you’re getting into before you make a deal. Remember that it’s just business and everyone needs something from the relationship.
Overseas hire vs. In Taiwan hires
I mentioned this above, but it is worth discussing further. Many teachers are hired by bigger schools (e.g. HESS) and brought over to teach in Taiwan. These organizations have many teaching positions around the country and need to fill them constantly. There are positives and negatives to accepting a job from overseas rather than just showing up and finding a job.
- You’ll have a job. When you sign with a someone from overseas, you at least know you will have a job and start earning once you arrive in Taiwan. This will take a lot of stress off you.
- While you are working at this job your first year, you will have a chance to get the lay of the land for any future positions in Taiwan. It gets you here.
- Some of these organizations will get you on your feet financially to get your Taiwan life started. (eg. housing deposit, loan, cell phone)
- You may be sent over with a group of co-workers, so you won’t be alone.
- Your residence may be taken care of so you won’t need to waste time finding a house once you’re here.
- You might not have a choice where to go. Many of these organizations will place you somewhere in Taiwan. This is risky. If you’re an urban dweller, you might be sent to a small Taiwan town where you’re the only foreigner. On the contrary, you could be stuck in downtown Taipei and not like that either. It’s a crap shoot either way.
- Your pay will be less. These large school organizations pay a bit lower than other schools. But, you have to start somewhere. Also, they will hire you if you have no teaching experience as well.
- The kind of curriculum you teach may be limited. If you’re a new teacher, you won’t know the difference. However, if you have experience, you might feel what you’re teaching is too simple and shallow. That’s a caveat of large cram school organizations.
Discrimination for Teachers Teaching in Taiwan
Be aware that discrimination of foreign teachers does still happen in Taiwan. In the past, schools wanted and only hired a white male or female as their teacher rather than a teacher with dark skin or an Asian face.
Although there may be more managers and schools that are less concerned about a teacher’s race, there are still many schools that will do a “safe “ hire and find a Caucasian teacher who won’t rock the boat with regards to parent expectations.
Even ABC’s (American Born Chinese) may still not be hired because they look Chinese, even if they can’t speak Chinese or just came to Taiwan for the first time.
Although this shouldn’t deter a person from applying for work to teach in Taiwan, one should be aware that discrimination is a possibility and could make job finding a little more difficult.