Living overseas for even a single year of your life could be one of the deepest and most memorable actions you will ever take. As a tourist or avid traveler you only see the surface of the places you visit; you can only truly know a place if you live there. Tourists don’t open bank accounts, work at jobs, commute, eat 21 meals a week 52 weeks a year, attend weddings and funerals, receive red envelopes at New Years, use a squat toilet, or chew betel nuts.
You learn not only about the foreign culture, but because you are now outside of your own country looking in, you understand a lot about where you came from and how your home country is perceived in the world.
It’s a sappy slogan, but it’s true: Taiwan will touch your heart.
So if you are ready to make the plunge, the next logical question is how will fund your foreign adventure?” The simple answer is, “Get a job.” And for most foreigners in Taiwan, that job will be teaching.
The bulk of the work in Taiwan is teaching children. There are other options, such as schools which only teach adults, or services which send foreign teachers to companies, but the largest part of Taiwan teachers are teaching children from pre-school age through about junior high school age. In Taiwan, there is a bias that children need a foreign teacher, to learn proper pronunciation, but once students get into junior high and high school, and are preparing for competitive exams, the bias is that they need Taiwanese teachers. The average employer or the average Taiwanese believes that foreigners can’t teach grammar. I personally think this is rubbish, since I know grammar and I never had a Taiwanese teacher. But, this is how they do it. It may seem completely backward to us, but in Taiwan, they want beginners to have foreign teachers and advanced students to have local teachers.
There are two ways to go when finding an employer: using an agent or looking on your own. I am personally against using agents as many of them are shady at best and few will find you the kind of job you are looking for. If you hold a college degree and have a modicum of experience, you should have no problem finding a gig on your own. And even if you lack experience, there are plenty of understaffed employers that are probably willing to hire you lest they be forced to give a refund to clients.
Unless you drop in to apply in person, your documents are often the first “part of you” your potentional employer will see. Make sure you take the time and care to prepare documents give a good first impression. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to begin; the following tips will show you exactly what to do. We’ll then look at how to ace your interview.
Whether you are applying for a job, buying a car or trying to agree on what movie to see with your significant other Saturday night, negotiation skills are of vital importance. Before meeting a potential employer, it is a good idea to read up on negotiation skills and practice them in real or conceptual situations.
An extra bonus is that this helps broaden your teaching opportunities. Business English courses make up a big chunk of the English-teaching pie. And one of the most often requested topics is negotiations. The more you learn about the topic (and the better you are at its implementation), the better your employment prospects will become.
Ok, so you’ve landed a job and were given your class schedule and syllabus. Now what the heck are you supposed to do?
You, your employer and your students will all likely have somewhat different expectations about your role in the classroom. While it is important to both please your employer and your students, I personally think your relationship with the students trumps all.
Here are some tips to help build rapport with your students and ensure that they make perceivable, tangible progress in English.