The opportunities of teaching English in Taiwan are numerous. Taiwan is a small place but there is massive demand for English teachers. Spend just a few minutes looking around and you’ll spot several recruitment agencies and schools posting ads online for English teachers in Taiwan. However, what they won’t tell you is what teaching English in Taiwan is really like. Just like any job, teaching isn’t for everyone. It does take a certain kind of person to be able to live and work in Taiwan, but it is not anything special or difficult. Do you enjoy spending time with children? Do you not mind working on weekends? Does the idea of working about four hours a day and having the mornings and afternoons free to do what you want interest you? If you answered yes to any of these questions then teaching English could just be what you are looking for.
The first thing you’ll notice about teaching English in Taiwan is that the majority of classes and students you’ll have are children. Why is this? It is true that the English market in Taiwan is massive, but out of all these people wanting to learn English, children make up the vast majority of the students. Obviously children don’t want to learn English, instead their parents want them to and as a result they shuffle them off to English classes at least twice a week. Children go to class after their day at the government run public schools has ended. They’ll spend about two hours with you in class and what you teach them could be the absolute basics such as phonics up to slightly more complex things like writing essays. Whatever the class you teach, you’ll have students that are aged from six to 13 years of age and all your classes will be held in the afternoons and evenings. Taiwanese are used to working 6 days a week, so you may even be faced with having to teach a class on Saturday. For me, this was fine, but for some people the idea of working on Saturday isn’t a good thing. If this sounds like you, just be prepared to have to do a little more leg work to find a school that doesn’t hold classes on the weekend.
Most of your classes will have about ten to twenty children and the amount of book work or writing that needs to be done is fairly heavy. Taiwan is obsessed with studying and many students can actually read and write English much better than they can speak it. Students are often shy and unwilling to talk, no matter what you do they just aren’t as open and willing to speak. This is Taiwan and just something you’ll have to get used to. Other than book work, you may find yourself having to play some games in class. Some teachers don’t like games, but when used correctly they can be a great way to keep children interested and also to encourage them to speak more and get involved. I’ll have to even say that the occasional game can be rather fun for the teacher.
Teaching isn’t something that everyone can do. You do have to be able to work with children and at least be willing to spend a little time helping students when they have difficulty. However, if teaching is something you want to try your hand at, Taiwan is one of the better places in Asia that can offer you the chance at a great experience as an English teacher.
Want to know the truth about teaching English in Taiwan? Find out what teaching in Taiwan is really like from someone who has personally experienced it so you can teach English in Taiwan without making the common mistakes most people do.