How do you find the best TESOL / TEFL job in Taiwan? By simply surfing the internet, the average international jobseeker might believe that finding a job will be a cinch. There are several job advertisements posted every day. This is good, to a certain extent.
This article will start by comparing ESL teaching jobs that you can find through a recruitment agency with those jobs that you can find on your own. Since accommodation is often tied with your job contract, I will also explain how to find a nice place at an affordable price on your own.
Using a Recruitment Agency
In Taiwan, hiring teachers before they even purchase a plane ticket has increased in popularity. Foreigners gain a sense of security knowing that work is waiting for them upon arrival. While schools get to pick up ingenious would-be teachers who enthusiastically agree to work in sub-par conditions with potentially low wages.
It may be relatively easy to find a job in Taiwan over the internet but putting a little effort and investment by traveling to the country beforehand can make a significant difference in determining how comfortable and happy you’ll be for the duration of your teaching experience abroad. Teachers are put into less-than-ideal conditions all the time. They never know until too late that many better options are available to them. Several authorities on teaching in Taiwan go as far as suggesting that naive expatriates contribute to lower teaching wages country wide. By accepting lower wages, incoming expatriates contribute to a trend of overall wage decrease. This is much to the vexation of current expatriates.
Go on Your Own to Find the Best TEFL / TESOL Jobs in Taiwan!
To find the best possible TEFL job, everywhere I read on the forums said that you should land in Taiwan first. Job searching through an online TEFL job board remains a viable option, but you will assuredly receive more interesting phone calls and e-mails if you currently reside in Taiwan and are available for an interview immediately.
There are two major reasons why finding a job in person benefits you: firstly, many of the good schools will only hire candidates they interview in person. These good schools often offer higher wages, cleaner facilities, paid commuting fees, and more. Secondly, you get the opportunity to evaluate your future employer. You can question other teachers, get to know the staff and administrators, and take a careful glance at the course materials. Find out if the school is legitimate! Instead of relying on a few old photographs and biased, flowery prose, you can actually see the school for what it’s worth.
Finding TEFL / TESOL Jobs With Accommodation
Some schools offer housing too. Be wary of these deals! While in Taiwan this isn’t as much of an issue as say, in China, one cannot be cautious enough before accepting any of these contracts. Surfing the net alone can provide horror stories of scam schools that try to provide the cheapest living arrangements possible to offset the high wages of a foreign teacher. If you must have the peace of mind, knowing that you will have assured housing and employment before even leaving your front door, at least make sure you see photos or a video of your future home. I requested this information once, from a school in Harbin, China, and the school never responded back. It turned out to be a good indicator of an untrustworthy school.
Searching For Housing on Your Own
The first thing I recall fretting about, after making my decision to come to Taiwan, was housing. Plunging into a foreign country, headfirst, with no first-hand experience with local real estate, can be intimidating.
A good deal of research should take place before any housing situation is formally agreed upon. Prospective renters should ideally visit their potential homes before signing any contract since any number of unforeseen problems can arise in the absence of a proper inspection. But how do you check out your future abode before actually arriving? You can’t. In my experience, it’s best to have extra funds and find temporary housing before settling into permanent living quarters. There are several ways people achieve this.
The most popular way requires finding a hostel and camping there for several weeks while searching for housing. I have encountered expatriates who have successfully traversed this route with little to no issues – the hostels are not a great long-term solution, but they can give you the time you need to inspect prospective real estate.
Making Connections in Taiwan
If you have any connections in the city you wish to move to, I highly suggest using them. Coming out of college with a handful of debt and a lack of cash, my luggage was limited by the strict weight requirements administered by the airline I flew with. Basically, I had two carry-on pieces stuffed to neck-breaking capacity and a packed suitcase that was checked. All of this was pre-weighed. Of course, if you have the money, you can ship additional luggage or pay the airlines additional fees for another 50-pound suitcase. I did not have very much money and I ended up traveling with surprisingly little luggage.
If only couch surfing for a couple of weeks, most good friends won’t object to your presence, especially if you only have a limited amount of baggage to clutter their home with. More importantly, connections in a foreign country can make a world of difference. Not only can they warn you of the ins and outs of local shopping and dining, but they can provide you with the inside scoop on decent housing. For those without immediate Taiwanese friends, there are always websites with housing offers.
Tealit has some good offers but is limited to certain popular regions, particularly Taipei. I have met various individuals who have found housing through Tealit and all of them appeared amiable enough. Most speak English generally well and a good chunk of them are expatriates themselves. Once again, I cannot emphasize enough how visiting the living situation and roommates are important for your future well-being.
Requirements for TEFL / TESOL Jobs Taiwan
I should also mention that many schools have a similar list of requirements that all candidates must possess before qualifying.
First, English teachers need to be native English speakers; you may meet strong resistance if you have poor conversational English skills. This isn’t to say that non-native English speakers stand no chance. They simply have a harder time acquiring a similarly paid teaching position. Second, you must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited University. It does not matter what particular field you graduated from, though preference may be given to English majors. Last, many wonder whether or not TEFL certification really matters. In Taiwan, TEFL / TESOL is not always required, but certification offers a competitive edge during the hiring process.
Why I Recommend Completing an Accredited TEFL / TESOL Certification Course Before Arriving in Taiwan
Many native English speakers who aspire to teach English abroad do not fully comprehend their language to the degree, which one must understand it in order to teach it.
Certificate programs, such as the CELTA-equivalent 120-hour TESOL Certificate course offered by OnTESOL offer genuine means to learn or refresh grammar and phonetics, which can do a great deal for the teacher’s confidence and ability, as well as provide invaluable training in the theory and methodology of teaching English.