Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

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Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby Ihoop » 24 May 2012, 21:34

Hi all,

I am a 24 year old native English speaker from the US. I fell in love with the country of Taiwan on a recent trip, and have decided that I want to move back there for at least a year in the fall. I have a bachelors degree and some experience teaching music to young children. I have a couple skills that I believe I could use for work Taiwan, but nothing that I could set up before coming over. I am a professional musician (jazz), and my degree is in music. I'm sure there is work for jazz musicians in Taipei, but it would take a bunch of networking to get to a point where I could actually make a living on just playing music. I also have experience cooking in some high-end restaurants in the U.S. Maybe some western restaurants in Taipei hire English speaking staff, but I highly doubt. Also, I'm sure that cooking gets you an hourly wage that is 1/4 of what an English teacher makes.

Regardless, I know the only thing I can really do in Taiwan at this point is teaching English! I don't mind the idea of teaching 15-20 hours a week to just live a modest life. However, I am afraid that teaching English will be so horrible that I will find it impossible to enjoy my life in Taiwan (judging from a lot of the posts on here). I figure I am going to have to sign up with one of the large chain schools if I want to get a job secured before leaving my country. This also does not bother me......I know I could use the training and structured curriculum, because I don't know how to be an effective English teacher (yet). So, my question to all of you is, does teaching English for one of the chain schools really suck that much? Do you dread teaching every day? If teaching English really is that bad, are there any other job options in any part of Taiwan for native English speakers who do not speak Chinese?

Thanks for reading this. I would appreciate any input you can offer me!

Take care
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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby tomthorne » 24 May 2012, 21:46

It's not a million miles away from free jazz for most practitioners over here :lol: . Working for a cram school is fine for the majority of people. If you're only planning to do it for a year and not taking it too seriously then you should have no worries.
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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby Achtung Baby » 24 May 2012, 21:49

It is definitely not as bad as a lot of other posters make it out to be. I love living here- and I like teaching quite a bit, too! Make sure you thoroughly do your homework about whichever school or program through which to teach, be yourself, and don't let it make you anxious. Feel free to shoot me a message if you have more questions!
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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby ichbinjenny » 24 May 2012, 21:51

I know jazz musicians in Taichung and they teach music lessons to little ones. There is also an annual jazz festival that you might be able to get involved with, or at least where you can meet other jazz musicians. There are also entertainment promotion companies in Taipei that bring musicians and other artists to Taiwan that you might be able to be a consultant or writer or something for. There are also restaurants that hire live musicians to perform for diners.

You'd have to work just as hard, nay, harder in the US to network and get lucrative gigs. Here at least you'll be a bit exotic and memorable.

Taiwan is what you make of it.
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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby ralphy » 24 May 2012, 21:54

If had to choose between teach'n engrish or being a stunt cock in a farm animal porn I'd pick the latter....at least farm animal gig has some dignity.

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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby Homey » 24 May 2012, 22:56

ralphy wrote:If had to choose between teach'n engrish or being a stunt cock in a farm animal porn I'd pick the latter....at least farm animal gig has some dignity.


Hehe classic. Almost signature worthy.


It all depends on the school and the management. Most completely blow, or suck, or alternate between the two.
Why not???

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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby superking » 24 May 2012, 23:01

Ihoop wrote:Hi all,

I am a 24 year old native English speaker from the US. I fell in love with the country of Taiwan on a recent trip, and have decided that I want to move back there for at least a year in the fall. I have a bachelors degree and some experience teaching music to young children. I have a couple skills that I believe I could use for work Taiwan, but nothing that I could set up before coming over. I am a professional musician (jazz), and my degree is in music. I'm sure there is work for jazz musicians in Taipei, but it would take a bunch of networking to get to a point where I could actually make a living on just playing music. I also have experience cooking in some high-end restaurants in the U.S. Maybe some western restaurants in Taipei hire English speaking staff, but I highly doubt. Also, I'm sure that cooking gets you an hourly wage that is 1/4 of what an English teacher makes.

Regardless, I know the only thing I can really do in Taiwan at this point is teaching English! I don't mind the idea of teaching 15-20 hours a week to just live a modest life. However, I am afraid that teaching English will be so horrible that I will find it impossible to enjoy my life in Taiwan (judging from a lot of the posts on here). I figure I am going to have to sign up with one of the large chain schools if I want to get a job secured before leaving my country. This also does not bother me......I know I could use the training and structured curriculum, because I don't know how to be an effective English teacher (yet). So, my question to all of you is, does teaching English for one of the chain schools really suck that much? Do you dread teaching every day? If teaching English really is that bad, are there any other job options in any part of Taiwan for native English speakers who do not speak Chinese?

Thanks for reading this. I would appreciate any input you can offer me!

Take care


Just go for it. The teaching really won't blow, don't read to much of what is posted here, it is usually the result of people letting of steam, or trolling, or faulty memory. The teaching will be fun, you'll meet some kids, some parents, some other foreigners. Then you can get that networking done and slowly move into music. Plus it adds another string to your bow.
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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby TheGingerMan » 24 May 2012, 23:16

A year is nothing, take the plunge.
I would not place too much faith in securing a job before you leave. Far better to see the terrain before committing one's force. If you already know the area in which you wish to reside, then by all means.
Yet, always recall the maxim of caveat emptor. As there are so many dodges that an employer might attempt on a realtive newcomer.
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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby housecat » 25 May 2012, 02:28

TheGingerMan wrote:A year is nothing, take the plunge.
I would not place too much faith in securing a job before you leave. Far better to see the terrain before committing one's force. If you already know the area in which you wish to reside, then by all means.
Yet, always recall the maxim of caveat emptor. As there are so many dodges that an employer might attempt on a realtive newcomer.


Good advice. You might still take the same chain school job, but do it from in-country. There are plenty bosses out here that hire almost exclusively from overseas because they have very high turnover and quite the rep on the island. You won't know the difference if you aren't here to see for yourself.

Day to day, everyday stuff isn't as bad as we make it sound. Bring a good attitude. It will make all the difference.
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Re: Is it really as bad as everyone makes it out to be?

Postby steelersman » 25 May 2012, 04:47

Ihoop wrote:Hi all,

I am a 24 year old native English speaker from the US. I fell in love with the country of Taiwan on a recent trip, and have decided that I want to move back there for at least a year in the fall. I have a bachelors degree and some experience teaching music to young children. I have a couple skills that I believe I could use for work Taiwan, but nothing that I could set up before coming over. I am a professional musician (jazz), and my degree is in music. I'm sure there is work for jazz musicians in Taipei, but it would take a bunch of networking to get to a point where I could actually make a living on just playing music. I also have experience cooking in some high-end restaurants in the U.S. Maybe some western restaurants in Taipei hire English speaking staff, but I highly doubt. Also, I'm sure that cooking gets you an hourly wage that is 1/4 of what an English teacher makes.

Regardless, I know the only thing I can really do in Taiwan at this point is teaching English! I don't mind the idea of teaching 15-20 hours a week to just live a modest life. However, I am afraid that teaching English will be so horrible that I will find it impossible to enjoy my life in Taiwan (judging from a lot of the posts on here). I figure I am going to have to sign up with one of the large chain schools if I want to get a job secured before leaving my country. This also does not bother me......I know I could use the training and structured curriculum, because I don't know how to be an effective English teacher (yet). So, my question to all of you is, does teaching English for one of the chain schools really suck that much? Do you dread teaching every day? If teaching English really is that bad, are there any other job options in any part of Taiwan for native English speakers who do not speak Chinese?

Thanks for reading this. I would appreciate any input you can offer me!

Take care


I think you would be much happier working for a small school than Hess or Kojen. You will have more freedom and it won't be so structure. However if structure is what you really want, by all means work for Kojen, Hess, or Joy.
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