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China or Taiwan better for new teachers?


panda23
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In light of the apparent increasing difficulty new teachers (those with less than two years experience in the classroom) have in getting legal work visas in China, I am thinking about whether it would be beneficial to try Taiwan. Is there anyone on here with current knowledge of hiring practices in Taiwan who can compare the two and share their experiences? I read online that Taiwan is not as strict with past experience as China but given that there are still people who say no experience is needed to teach in China (one such example is a manager at a Canadian school that provides TESOL courses), I am not sure whether to trust the info or not. 

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There are a few Taiwan-inclined people here, but you might get more answers at a Taiwan expat forum, such as Forumosa or Tealit (I haven't been to either in ages, but you can go and see).

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The PRC is probably one of the more challenging countries to start out in. I can't comment at all on the RoC, but I suspect they're somewhat similar as the root culture is the same, even if they did avoid the cultural revolution and the changes that came because of communism.

 

There's good schools there, I had a friend teaching at EF and I saw their facilities, the one I went to in Guangzhou seemed really well put together. I've also heard good things about Wall Street English. However, in order to get a job at a place like those, you need experience and the level of certification they demand is higher than what you might get away with at other schools. I don't know what other quality schools exist there, I'm sure there's others that are good as well.

 

Anyways, as somebody whose first job teaching English was in China, I'd strongly recommend against it. The constant interference and schedule changes make it very hard to ensure any sort of consistency or quality in the work. During the year I was there, I had about 10,000 students in a very literal way and just establishing whether or not they were making progress was nigh impossible. There was also the bit about teaching speaking and listening to students that were only being graded on reading and writing. As I noted earlier, that's not all schools, but the ones that you'd be getting with little or no experience are likely to be like that.

 

I hope I'm not coming off as bitter or unnecessarily scaring anybody. The experience depends a great deal on the quality of the school and or the recruiter. Mine wasn't that great, but anybody who makes it a year in China teaching can be confident that they can make it anywhere.

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hedwards: that may be a good point for people who are anti-PRC. ROC is anti-PRC. For anyone pro-PRC this is also probably good advice: if you go to ROC don't ever say a word about politics. 哈哈 I think the rest of your advice is also good if you are very concerned about the quality of your teaching. If you are more flexible and happy with doing the best you can under the circumstances because you are doing it to make money and pay the bills and not to change the world then it probably doesn't matter too much. You shouldn't be unhappy if you did they best you could and if you know you weren't lazy. If someone higher up arranged it so that you couldn't do better, it's not your fault. Don't worry about it :)

thank you for sharing your experience. I think we can also take one lesson from it: be prepared for constant schedule changes and make your teaching flexible. If a schedule change can make or break your whole lesson/curriculum then you need to make your teaching plan more flexible and not dependent on a rigid schedule. Maybe even make two teaching plans, one for a more reliable schedule and one for more erratic schedule.

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