Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Teaching Jobs Debate (Part 2)

As I have mentioned before, students here have very hectic schedules. Many children go to school 5 or 6 days a week from 8am to 8pm. The teaching industry in Taiwan is huge. There are countless supplementary schools that specialize in the sciences, math, English, etc. The kids head to the non-traditional schools after they are finished with their day at their state school. As a result of their packed schedules throughout the week, many schools offer Saturday classes.
The school I work at requires that we work 4 hours every Saturday morning. This is definitely not one of my favorite aspects of the job. There was a time when I thought about looking for work elsewhere because the Saturdays are a drag. I looked at several job options and determined that most of the decent jobs out there also required Saturday work. With good pay and consistent work comes some things that are just not pleasant. I like to think it gets me moving on Saturdays...if I wasn't working, I'd probably be wasting time on the computer or spending money needlessly. The leadership knows that we don't like to work Saturdays so I think they provide us with a nice package of benefits to try to lesson displeasure.

The pay rate and Saturday hours are important factors when working as a teacher in Taiwan, but not as important as having a healthy, positive workplace. One that allows you the freedom to be yourself and grow as a teacher. You don't have to search very far to hear horror stories regarding the management of English schools here. The complaints range from being watched while in the classroom to having to constantly hand in and get approval for lesson plans. Bosses of these schools are famous for their bizarre management techniques and insanely high expectations.

Perhaps the the best aspect of my job is the total autonomy I have. The bosses have a very hands-off approach. They let you do your own thing. I have never been asked to provide a lesson plan for any of my classes and my boss hasn't watched me teach in about 9 months. If you're doing what you're supposed to do, she never enters the picture. I think the freedom that the teachers have in my school is pretty extraordinary.

Here is my line up:
-very competitive salary
-75 teaching hours a month
-great benefits (paid vacation, very generous bonuses(i.e. NT$8000 for Chinese New Year))
-4 hours every Saturday morning (usually two or three of those are in a classroom)
-hands-off management, freedom to do things my way

The bottom line...there may be better paying jobs out there, but there is a hell of a lot more to this work than your pay-rate. The few jobs out there that pay at a better rate than mine come with baggage that I am not prepared to carry. Would I leave this job for an extra few hundred American dollars a month? NO WAY.

No comments: