Keep Your Teaching Jobs
In 11 years of ESL teaching in Taiwan, I have never been fired! Let me show you my secrets...
Helping my friend Zoe with a creative writing exercise.
After your plane has landed at Taoyuan International Airport, finding teaching jobs in Taiwan will probably be your top priority if your goal is to become an English (ESL) teacher and live in Taiwan.
Getting a teaching job in Taiwan is quite easy and it really shouldn't be a problem, as long as you're well prepared and willing to actively look for work. Teaching jobs can easily be found at the countless English schools located all over Taiwan in big cities such as Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, as well as in smaller places like Hualien and Taidong.
My friends Daniel, Simon, and Howell
What's more important than getting a job?
Keeping it of course!
On this page, I want to address another very important part of the "teaching English in Taiwan experience", which seems to cause so much trouble to many teachers: how to keep your teaching jobs in Taiwan.
I have seen so many people arriving in Taiwan to teach English, going to interviews at tons of ESL schools armed with a terrific resume, looking sharp and professional, motivated and ready to impress potential employers. They're fired up and want to get the dream teaching job in Taiwan, and they usually get it within a few days. But the problem is... they eventually get fired.
Field trip with my students to the Confucius Temple in Taichung
Main reasons why you could lose your jobs in Taiwan
There are many reasons why you could get replaced / kicked out of a school, but the main cause seems to be laziness. After a few weeks of teaching, you get comfortable, spend less time preparing lessons, and you might not even care if students are enjoying themselves.
The consequences of laziness are very predictable...
Your kids will get bored and share their unhappiness at home. Eventually, their parents will call the school to ask what's going on, ask for a new teacher, or simply remove their child from the school.
Your private students will start calling you to cancel classes for various reasons: they're sick, they have to attend meetings, someone passed away...
The real reason, is they don't enjoy your class anymore because you've become a boring teacher. And you know what, your school principal has a stack of resumes and your private students can look online for a new English teacher.
There is always someone ready to take your job in Taiwan. Someone more committed, better prepared than you.
Don't let this scenario happen to you. Don't become lazy! Work as hard as you can every day to keep your teaching jobs in Taiwan! Over-deliver. Be outstanding and always prepare something fun to do for your next class.
Me, with Nicole and Vick
You must be more than a teacher
Be enthusiastic, friendly, and always throw on a good show for your students.
Wether you're teaching English to young kids at a kindergarten, to older children at a private language school (buxiban), or adults at an evening language center, you'll want to be more than a teacher. You'll need to make sure that everyone is having a good time and that each and every student goes back home with better English skills and a smile on his/her face.
Teaching about plants and flowers
Why can't I just teach English?
If you want to keep your teaching jobs in Taiwan, you must also be able to entertain, motivate, and praise your students as much as possible. Learning English is important for your students, but it's not the most critical part. Fun is more important. Building your students' confidence should also be a top priority.
If you work on these two aspects and become someone who can make students laugh and relax in class, they'll love learning English with you, they'll look forward to your lessons, and they'll keep on signing up for more classes.
Push yourself, be creative and outstanding! Become an invaluable asset and make more money.
Let's face it, most foreign teachers come to Taiwan to teach for the money. If you want more of it, you'll have to work harder and strive to become the popular teacher of your school. You must be that teacher who's got the best games, the funniest stories, and the nicest attitude.
Raise yourself to a position where you're indispensable to your school. You must be able to ask for raises without having to beg and without feeling like you're asking for a favor.
In Taiwan, the teachers who get the highest salaries are the ones who don't lose students from their classes. Teachers who keep their students are passionate about their work! They don't even see teaching English as "work". For them, it's a pleasurable activity where they have fun with people (kids or adults) and help them learn a language in the process.
You must be a people-lover to enjoy
teaching English in Taiwan!
Keep your kindergarten teaching jobs in Taiwan
The bad news with young kids is that they get bored easily. The good news is that it doesn't take much to make them feel happy and involved. The following activities always work and they are key to keeping your teaching jobs at kindergartens in Taiwan:
- Find kids' songs online and burn them on CDs. I always have a CD or two ready in my bag when I teach English to kindergarten level children. Singing and dancing with my students has always been on top of my list of fun things to do while teaching ESL in Taiwan.
- Tell stories. I'm not talking about the Three Little Pigs here. Be more creative than that. Bring pictures of yourself when you were a kid and talk about them. Tell your students about life in your country. Does it snow? Are there kangaroos in your backyard?
- Games, games, games! They always work and they can be created out of nothing. Think about ways to use your board, the space in your classroom, even the stuff from the recycling bin (really... think "art"). You should always have sticky balls and a big die in your classrooms.
Keep your buxiban jobs in Taiwan
Buxiban* students (usually between 8 and 12) are at the age where they care a lot about what their peers think about them. The concept of face is already very well defined in their minds.
Be extra careful in the way you talk to them or about them in class. Don't make jokes about a student to make his friends laugh. You'll lose your students trust by doing this, and once trust is lost, it's almost impossible to get it back.
*A buxiban is a kind of cram school in Taiwan. Most English teaching jobs in Taiwan are in buxibans.
Tips for business English classes
Keep in mind that the people who will go to your ESL business classes in Taiwan will be sales, managers, and sales assistants who are usually burnt out from their crazy working schedules. The last thing they want is a boring class with an unmotivated teacher who makes them read, write, and listen to grammar concepts.
Make your ESL classes interactive
There shouldn't be a single minute where students feel bored during class time. Make your classes interactive, involve the students as much as possible and stimulate them with encouragements.
Don't let the shy ones stay quiet, make them talk, ask them questions - however simple - and find ways to praise their answers. They will feel confident and good about themselves.
Find English Teaching Jobs in Taiwan (online)
The most popular website for ESL jobs in Taiwan is Tealit.com"Tealit" stands for "Teaching English and Living in Taiwan" by the way. The website is also a very good place to find appartments (and roommates) in Taiwan.
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