From the cosmopolitan cities of Taipei and Taichung to the beautiful, tropical beaches of Kenting and Fulong, from the night markets to the street food stalls, and from the hard-working students to the friendly locals, there are a lot of reasons Taiwan is growing in popularity as a TEFL destination. Considering the fact that Taiwan is aiming to be bilingual by 2030, there is a strong focus on learning English currently and the demand for TEFL teachers is high. If you are fascinated with Asia but aren’t blown away by the usual options of China and South Korea, then maybe Taiwan is more your style.
Why you should teach English in Taiwan
- The culture
Taiwan has a fascinating culture, traditional while still being modern. Living in Taiwan is the ideal opportunity for you to learn Mandarin Chinese and be exposed to this interesting country.
- The lifestyle
The cost of living in Taiwan is low and as a TEFL teacher you are likely to earn a good wage (approximately $2 000 to $2 500 a month), so you are guaranteed a very comfortable lifestyle.
- Contract perks
In Taiwan, contract perks are the norm. Most jobs offer return airfares, housing or a housing allowance, health insurance and two weeks’ paid holiday.
There are a number of different options for teaching jobs in Taiwan. Let’s look at what kind of teaching jobs you can expect to find in Taiwan.
There are plenty of kindergartens around Taiwan that employ TEFL teachers. Classes are small, lessons are short and the focus is on fun, so it’s a great position for a TEFL teacher who enjoys teaching Very Young Learners.
Read more: Top Tips for Teaching Young Learners
If you have a teaching qualification as well as a TEFL certificate, it’s possible for you to work in a public school. Most of these jobs for TEFL teachers are in public high schools, though there are a few in primary schools. Public school classes can be quite a bit bigger than in private and international schools – with some classes having up to 50 students – but Taiwanese students are known for being well-behaved and hard-working so discipline is not usually an issue.
It’s also possible to find a job in a private high school. These schools generally offer fewer working hours than public schools. Classes are also much smaller. However, your salary is accordingly lower, but many teachers prefer the working environment at private schools, as well as the perks.
There are private cram schools in Taiwan known as buxibans. Schoolchildren come to buxibans every day after school for extra lessons. This means that you will work in the afternoons and even in the evenings. In these schools, the curriculum is already set so very little lesson preparation is needed. Your focus is on creating a fun learning environment for your learners and particularly focus on pronunciation. However, because buxibans are run as businesses, this can mean that you could have very large classes, and you are paid hourly. As with hagwons in South Korea, if you are interested in teaching in a buxiban make sure you do your due diligence beforehand so you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
There are a number of international schools around Taiwan that cater to professional ex-pats and wealthier locals. For these jobs, teachers are required to have a teaching qualification besides the TEFL, as well as teaching experience. These schools also generally require a 2-year commitment from their teachers.
Though summer camps are not huge in Taiwan, there are a few. For the most part, these camps are 2 weeks long, but you are employed for about 8 weeks. Though they might be called summer camps, they take place throughout the year because of the good weather. Camp counsellors (aka you) often stay with host families for the duration of the camp. You will teach a few hours in the mornings and help with activities in the afternoons. These camps are open to both local and international students, and the lessons can be quite academic as the students use this opportunity to brush up in their academic English skills. Often a TEFL certificate is not needed, but you need to be a native speaker of English and have previous teaching or camp experience.
As in most countries, working in a university is quite a cushy deal, with good pay and few hours. However you will need to be highly qualified with at least a Master’s degree or PhD in order to teach in a Taiwanese university.
It is possible to find private students in Taiwan, as it is in most places, but it is not common.
Can I teach English in Taiwan?
To teach English in Taiwan, you need a Bachelor’s degree for the majority of the teaching jobs available. A TEFL is preferred but not required but is a must if you have no teaching experience. You also need a clean criminal record and be physically and mentally healthy. You need to be over the age of 20. Native English speakers are preferred, as are citizens from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland or South Africa.
It is important to note that many TEFL teachers find their jobs in Taiwan through recruiters. Though recruiters and recruitment agencies have a bit of a bad reputation in other countries, in Taiwan (as in South Korea) it is standard to use a recruiter to find a job placement. It is at no cost to you and usually they provide good advice and resources which help make the transition to living in Taiwan that much easier.
How do you know if teaching English in Taiwan is right for you?
Well, if you’re looking for a comfortable job which will allow you to live a good lifestyle while also possibly saving money in an interesting and friendly country, then Taiwan is a good bet.