*Neil Dutfield is a 26 year old marketing graduate from England who is currently teaching English in Taiwan. I asked him to write a little bit about what it’s like to teach English there, what’s the money like, does he enjoy it etc. He got back to me with this… So if you’re interested in teaching English as a foreign language – read on!
Having travelled though most places in Southeast Asia, Taiwan was a place that I unfortunately didn’t get to visit, until now. We (my fiancé and I), had originally planned to leave Australia, where we were living, and teach in Korea ( Editor: more about teaching in Korea here) which is where we first met (ever the romantic…). However, thanks to the stubbornness of the Korean Embassy in Australia we decided to head to Taiwan (To get a visa I would have had to fly back to the UK and apply there…no thanks, and when questioning this I was told ‘to respect the Korean law’… ok then).
And what a decision it turned out to be! Taiwan is a fantastic place filled with natural beauty, is rich in culture and the people are extremely friendly. The Taiwanese tourism board have certainly done a good job in hiding Taiwan from the western eye – I say this based on the fact I have hardly seen any foreign faces here…
We came to Taiwan without teaching jobs lined up, and were able to find something relatively easily. I searched online and also dropped into some schools with my CV in tow. It is a lot easier to get a teaching job if you have a teaching certificate (obviously), but I was still able to get a job with only my Bachelors degree, although I did have an online TEFL qualification too.
I currently work for JOY English school which is a buxiban (or cram school), where children come after they finish school to study English. JOY is a cram school chain with many schools throughout Taiwan making it a very reputable school. If you have a real teaching certificate from your home country you are able to work in a public school (which my fiancé does). However, if you are like me with no teaching certificate you’ll be best served working in a cram school or kindergarten, where just a degree is suitable.
I’m pretty new to teaching English but you get training at the school and you will improve as you go along. As with anything, practice makes perfect and teaching is no different. I’ll fill you in with a quick rundown for teaching English in Taiwan:
Age group: I teach a variety of ages ranging from 8-15. Some jobs can be for specific age groups or you can teach adults but I’m finding it fun and challenging teaching different age groups.
Hours: I’m in school from 3.30pm to 8.40pm Monday – Friday, with the occasional Saturday thrown in (8.30am-12.30pm). Most cram schools require you to work Saturdays as this is when the kids aren’t at school. However, you should really try and refrain from working at the weekends so you have time to explore the island! You could try working at a Kindergarten which have daytime hours. However, it is technically illegal to work at these and you could risk deportation if you get caught (I have heard some pretty interesting stories in my short time here!)
Money: Generally speaking you will make between $500NT ($17US) – $600($20US) an hour. However, there are jobs at smaller cram schools which can offer more than this. As a first time teacher, working at a chain school has given me additional training and support so I would thoroughly recommend this route for first time teachers. This is more than enough to rent a flat, eat out, pay groceries and enjoy your time in Taiwan (so make sure you can get those weekends off!!). I guess I earn around 40, 000NT a month (around $1400 USD)
I’ve been very fortunate so far with the people I have met in Taiwan with all the teachers at JOY making my experience so far even better – not to mention the kids…
I’ve been here for nearly 5 months now, and there is still so much to see and explore. Teaching English allows me to have good interaction with people but it is also allowing me to explore Taiwan too. If you have the opportunity to visit Taiwan or live in Taiwan I would thoroughly recommend it!!
*Neil has kindly offered to answer any questions you guys have about teaching English in Taiwan so feel free to comment below or send me a private msg and he’ll get back to you 🙂
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