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How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby steelersman » 01 Jul 2012, 08:58

Quentin wrote:Here's my situation:

I left Taiwan in Jan. 2010 after spending nearly a decade here teaching in the buxiban system, which I hated, hated, hated, and drove me to a nervous breakdown. The thing was, though, I actually enjoyed the lifestyle in Taiwan, and during at least the first half of the '00s you could get away with teaching part-time at private universities with only a B.A. (illegally, of course). I actually enjoyed teaching non-traditional adult students (the massive freshman English conversation classes - um, not so much), and seemed popular with them, as well.

So I've spent the last year completing my M.A. in English - something I should have taken care of a long, long time ago, but better late than never. So, coming over here to Taiwan with:

1. An M.A. in English
2. Several years' prior experience teaching English in Taiwan

What are my odds? I've heard that it's more difficult these days because most colleges are looking for Phds., which seems pretty excessive because - why would anyone with a Phd. want to settle for the conditions in Taiwan?! And only 5 or so years ago, I remember talking to private universities that implied that they could hire me for the next semester on the spot as long as I only had an M.A. in anything. And I've got an M.A. in English. Ideally I'd love to teach English literature courses - a little Poe, a little Twain, that sort of thing - but if it's Business English or Basic Conversation classes, then I can settle with that (at least it's not noisy little kids screaming, "Teacher play game! Hen wuliao!").

The other salient fact is that I'm over here in the U.S. as of now and don't intend on flying over until 2013. Obviously it's way too late for hiring the fall semester. If possible, I'll jump at openings for the spring 2013 semester, though likely I'll just have to wait until fall 2013. And like I said, I'm in the U.S., not in Taiwan. I'm not sure if schools are going to contract me sight unseen from overseas - is that possible? I'd rather not gamble a plane ticket over here without a secure job - this isn't like 10 years ago when jobs were plenty and I could be guaranteed some sort of English teaching job to fall back upon. But it looks like I just might have to do that, come here in person and interview with schools in May and then wait around until September to start working? What am I going to do with all that down time when I'm not getting paid?


You could find some editing work or teach English online. There are plenty of things you can do with a computer to make money. Plus then you won't have to work illegally in Taiwan.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby tomthorne » 01 Jul 2012, 08:59

Your odds are good, Quentin. You'll almost certainly have to apply in September to start after CNY. It is an on-campus master's you have, yes? An online version may screw you up (although if you did it while living in the US I think you will be OK). Most of the unis prefer online applications and the MOE will also require a copy of your master's, dissertation and a video of you teaching adults. You'll need these before they will consider your application, which may delay matters for you. I think they'll also want to interview you in person. I'm not sure if any of the unis will do a telephone or skype interview. The application process for a lecturer's license with the MOE can take a long time - 6 to 9 months.

I would get out of the mindset that you are going to be teaching English literature to enthralled and enthralling students who can't wait to devour the literary greats. This could lead to immense disappointment on your part. Approach the lessons as much bigger buxiban classes with slightly older kids, and you'll be more satisfied. Most of the unis will run reading classes, but not with the level of student engagement you seem to be looking for :wink: .

This post was recommended by Charlie Jack (01 Jul 2012, 15:59)
Rating: 4%
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby steelersman » 01 Jul 2012, 09:06

tomthorne wrote:Your odds are good, Quentin. You'll almost certainly have to apply in September to start after CNY. It is an on-campus master's you have, yes? An online version may screw you up (although if you did it while living in the US I think you will be OK). Most of the unis prefer online applications and the MOE will also require a copy of your master's, dissertation and a video of you teaching adults. You'll need these before they will consider your application, which may delay matters for you. I think they'll also want to interview you in person. I'm not sure if any of the unis will do a telephone or skype interview. The application process for a lecturer's license with the MOE can take a long time - 6 to 9 months.

I would get out of the mindset that you are going to be teaching English literature to enthralled and enthralling students who can't wait to devour the literary greats. This could lead to immense disappointment on your part. Approach the lessons as much bigger buxiban classes with slightly older kids, and you'll be more satisfied. Most of the unis will run reading classes, but not with the level of student engagement you seem to be looking for :wink: .


Tomthorne,

This reminds me why people who love languages should probably not become language teachers. It can be really disappointing to teach a subject you love to students who are not engaged in the subject. Others may disagree, but that is why I wouldn't teach Mandarin in the US unless I were teaching business men.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby tomthorne » 01 Jul 2012, 09:15

steelersman wrote:

This reminds me why people who love languages should probably not become language teachers. It can be really disappointing to teach a subject you love to students who are not engaged in the subject. Others may disagree, but that is why I wouldn't teach Mandarin in the US unless I were teaching business men.


To be fair to the students, it's highly unlikely that they have acquired nearly enough English to appreciate that level of literature. The vast majority of uni students really need low level English instruction and shouldn't be placed in specialised English courses. It's the usual story over here of running before you can walk (or crawl).

This post was recommended by Charlie Jack (01 Jul 2012, 15:58)
Rating: 4%
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby tomthorne » 01 Jul 2012, 09:21

@ Quentin - you'll need your transcripts, too. I think that's everything, but they'll send you a shopping list when you apply :) .
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby Quentin » 01 Jul 2012, 14:44

The big problem is applying for a job from overseas.

I'm a bit nervous about that. Like I said, this isn't 10 years ago. I can't just take a buxiban job for a few months and then grab a uni job. Jobs are few and far between in Taiwan. That's my chief worry -- I want something secure and a bird in the hand before I jump ship from America.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby steelersman » 01 Jul 2012, 14:59

Quentin wrote:The big problem is applying for a job from overseas.

I'm a bit nervous about that. Like I said, this isn't 10 years ago. I can't just take a buxiban job for a few months and then grab a uni job. Jobs are few and far between in Taiwan. That's my chief worry -- I want something secure and a bird in the hand before I jump ship from America.


Get an online teaching job. Start when you are in the US and come over and teach online until you find a university teaching job. It is pretty simple.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby bismarck » 02 Jul 2012, 08:37

Quentin wrote:The big problem is applying for a job from overseas.

I'm a bit nervous about that. Like I said, this isn't 10 years ago. I can't just take a buxiban job for a few months and then grab a uni job. Jobs are few and far between in Taiwan. That's my chief worry -- I want something secure and a bird in the hand before I jump ship from America.

Mate, we're friends IRL, so I think I know a little more about you than online posts allow for. That said, you're going to find things in Tainan markedly different from when you left. Even getting back what you had when you left is going to be hard to do, let alone uni positions, and in Tainan that's going to be very hard to impossible, because MA and PhD holders here with APRCs or JFRVs are not uncommon. Then there's also the guanxi circle and these guys usually finding out about the best positions before they become publically available and thereby securing them.
If you have Guy's Skype or Facebook details, chat with him. He still works at Kun Shan and will give you a very clear view of what you will be dealing with in Tainan especially. Actually, chatting with him would be the absolute best advice anyone could give you, and if anything, he may even have some leads for you.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby tomthorne » 02 Jul 2012, 10:10

Sorry, I wasn't aware that the job search was area specific. Ignore my comments if you're looking at Tainan, Quentin. I know nothing about the area other than it's a lovely place for a vacation :) . I was only saying that you have the MOE's minimum requirements for a uni position and should IMO have a good chance of landing one - but perhaps not in one of the more salubrious parts of Taiwan.

Good luck!
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby ādikarmika » 02 Jul 2012, 18:44

A few things you should know.

Taiwanese university student numbers are predicted to fall damatically.

http://www.taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem= ... ctNode=445

The visits were part of the MOE’s efforts to attract more overseas students to make up for falling university enrollment numbers in Taiwan due to declining population growth, Wu noted.

According to Wu, the total number of new student enrollments at Taiwan’s universities is expected to drop from the current level of roughly 320,000 per year to just 270,000 by 2016.

The ministry expects that foreign student enrollments will reach between 70,000 and 80,000 by that year, more than making up the difference, Wu said.



And this:

http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_ ... 1104250013

In five years, 65 of Taiwan's 165 universities will have to bemerged or closed, as a 20 percent decline in admissions is expectedover that period, according to an official at the Ministry ofEducation (MOE).

Given Taiwan's falling birth rate, its current university studentpopulation of 1.34 million is about to shrink despite the ministry'sefforts to recruit foreign students.




My assessment of the situation is that, though it's not impossible, it will be very hard to land a uni gig with just a Master's. You will definitely need to network. (A good way is to present at conferences so that you can meet people while promoting yourself at the same time.)

As a first step, you should also be willing to take on casual university work, for which you can expect to receive not much more than NT$600/hr (if that) as well as being burdened with teaching and examining very large classes. Not fun.

In the end, all you can realistically hope for is a gig at a small private university that is probably destined for closure in a few years. Your contract, should you win one, will probably only be for 10 mths (i.e., no paid summer vacation), and your monthly salary as a starting lecturer will be less than NT$50,000 after tax (unless you end up teaching lots of excess hours).

Seriously, you gotta really love living in Taiwan if you're prepared to accept those sorts of working conditions. If I were you, I'd just take on one casual university class (4 hrs/hk) so that I could put "Lecturer at Such-and-such Univerity" on my name card, and then slowly build up a portfolio of privates for NT$900/hr plus. Three or four hours of teaching per day - around NT$60,000 (tax free) per month. It's probably the best you could hope for in the short to medium term.

If you really want a long-term career in the Taiwanese univeristy system, you will eventually need a PhD. Were you to enrol in one here, it would enhance your employment prospects somewhat. Yes, I know there are quite a few foreigners with just Master's degrees who have made careers for themselves in the Taiwanese HE system, but they got in a long time ago.
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