Teaching English in Taiwan
10 Easy Tips to get a good job!
Teaching English in Taiwan is a wonderful experience that can change your life forever. Taiwanese people are friendly, the island offers remarkable travel opportunities and the money you make here is exceptionally good when you consider the relatively low cost of living.
Is it easy to get a teaching job in Taiwan?
Since the year 2000, many of my friends from Canada came to visit me here. Most of them fell in love with the place and decided to try teaching English in Taiwan, too. Some of them had a very hard time finding work, or simply couldn't find any, while others had jobs almost instantly.
Nothing to do with luck!
Your English teaching experience in Taiwan should begin with two things: a bit of planning and the right attitude. If you've got these two elements, you'll find ESL jobs very easily - guaranteed!
Check out the Official Survival Guide to English Teaching in Taiwan to find the best ESL jobs on Formosa!
Ok, so here they are... my top 10 tips to teaching English in Taiwan:
1- Know about Taiwan
Have a basic understanding of the place and its customs. Read about it, watch documentaries, check what expats talk about on Forumosa.
Showing potential employers that you have an interest in Taiwanese culture is a good way to make a great first impression. They'll see you as someone intelligent and knowledgeable - two highly respected qualities in Taiwan.
2- Arrange all the paperwork in advance
You'll need to get an ARC (Alien Resident Certificate) to legally teach ESL in Taiwan. Bring your diploma with you as it is required to get this work permit.
3- Good timing
It's possible to find work in Taiwan at any time of the year, but winter (Jan-Feb) and summer (July to Sep) are the two best periods when jobs are plentiful and new semesters start.
4- Get a cell phone from day 1
This one is imperative! You'll want to contact schools, make appointments, ask for directions, and most importantly, you want to be reachable. E-mails are fine, but not fast enough. A school might need a teacher in the next hour.
5- Buy or rent a scooter
Unless you're in Taipei, where public transport is convenient, you'll want to have your own wheels. And a scooter is the way to move around in Taiwan. They're cheap, fun to ride, and are the fastest way to visit schools.
6- Check out lots of different schools
You'll only have fun teaching English in Taiwan if you're in a place you like. Go out there and knock at more than one door. Meet many employers and listen to their expectations. Ask lots of questions and see what they have to offer (salary, bonuses, vacations).
Most schools will want you to sign a one-year contract, so make sure you feel comfortable with the people who work there. Talk to their foreign staff. Be selective!
7- Look your best, be clean-cut... brush your teeth!
In Taiwan, appearance goes a lonnng way, so appropriate dressing and grooming are crucial. Wear your nicest shirt, or blouse for interviews. Get a haircut and cover your tattoos. Invest in a nice pair of shoes. Know how to say hello in Chinese (ni hao). Smile!
I know all this is pure common sense and you might think it's not just valid for teaching English in Taiwan... but I've seen so many people who just don't get it and go to interviews (or work) looking like they're just out of bed.
8- Be flexible - there's more than Taipei...
That's especially true if you arrive during the off-season (middle of a semester) when jobs are scarce. You might have to move to a smaller city or remote town where there's less - or no - competition.
Also, you might have to teach at more than one school. One place might offer you few morning hours, another some evenings. It's great to have big blocks of hours at only one place but you should be ready to accept anything and everything at times.
9- Get the lowdown from other foreigners
There are thousands of foreigners teaching English in Taiwan. Tapping into this network is priceless. Foreigners usually know:
- someone who needs a sub,
- a friend who is about to leave permanently,
- what schools not to work for,
- Taiwanese people who need a private teacher,
- ways to deal with visa and tax issues.
10- Print some business cards
Wether you want to become your own boss and only give private lessons (I know a guy who has more than 40 of them/week), or are simply looking for a couple of extra hours to fill some evenings, a business card is the best way to promote yourself in Taiwan.
Potential students can be found anywhere; in line at Starbucks or 7/11, on the bus or train, and at bars and restaurants.
Teaching English in Taiwan Video
Make sure to take a look at the eBook I wrote about English teaching in Taiwan. This guide explains in great details how to get ready for your ESL odyssey in Taiwan, how to get a visa, and arrange paperwork for a working permit... and a million other things!
The guide also lists over 500 English schools around Taiwan in the following cities: Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan, Hsinchu, Taoyuan, Keelung, Hualien, Taidong, Pingtung, Changhua, Miaoli, Nantou, Yunlin... and many, many more smaller places. Check this eBook about ESL in Taiwan and jump-start your teaching career on Formosa today!
Go back to Teach English in Taiwan main page.