As many of you all may know, I am an English teacher. I am not just some ordinary teacher. I teach English as a foreign language in Taipei, Taiwan. School teaching is a very interesting job. It is full of prepping, learning your students personalities, working with administration and parents, classroom management, and of course there are many joys to the profession as well.
Let me tell you all about teaching English in a Taipei, Taiwan. Now, I do not know all about teaching English in Taipei. Each school is different. Each teacher is different. Each student background is different. I will let you know about my experience in teaching in Taipei.
Taipei schools are all different. They have Elementary, Junior High, and Senior High just like most schools all around the world. The students after school will go to other schools to work on English. These are cram schools or buxibans. As in after school, the students cram in more learning to keep educated. I work at a cram school. Our students usually have school till noon, come to learn English, and go home. Some of the schools will have uniforms, and some will not require them. Basically, education is huge in Taiwan. Someone told me the difference between school in Taiwan and school in America is that Americans usually have tons of free time to do sports, musical instruments, and various other clubs. In Taiwan, the free time is spent in school. People even go to cram school on Saturdays as well.
My Daily Routine:
I work at a cram school. I really do not need to be up at the crack of dawn rushing out the door to beat the traffic. I am free to sleep-in. I am free to do things in the morning that I might not be able to accomplish in the afternoon.
My daily weekly schedule can be a little crazy. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I am at school from 11:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays, the students do not get to school till 4 p.m., and I work from 1-7p.m. Fridays are the crazy days. I am at the school from 11:30-9:30. It can get crazy.
So I live in the Luzhou district of New Taipei City. (I am basically one of two Americans living in the area. I have honestly only have seen one other American. She happens to live with me.) I usually ride my bike around 10:30 to the metro station. Ride the train for about a half hour listening to music, reading, and doing some good people watching. (There really is not much to see in the people watching department. Most of the people are glued to their cell phones.) I walk about another 6-10 minutes to my school, and at some point in the evening around 7 p.m. I walk back to the metro, and off to go home for the night only to wake up and doing everything again.
Basically, that is my daily routine, eat, sleep, teach, and maybe have a great date somewhere in between.
Key to the World Education Center.
I work for a school called Key to the World Education Center. We usually refer to it as KTTW for short. It is a long name.
About 15 years ago, an American and his Taiwanese wife opened up the school to try to offer something different for students. It is a cram school, but most cram schools focus on teaching students to speak. KTTW wants students to speak, but wants to focus on enjoying English through reading, writing, and learning through science and social studies. It is very unique as a cram school. They have also offered cooking classes, sports classes, and creating your own motion picture classes. I am very fortunate to have discovered this school.
There are very different personalities that work on staff. I am one of 7 or 8 people that work there.
She is the wife of Adam Thistelthwaithe. Adam and Vickey own the KTTW. Vickey is short Taiwanese lady with bunches of energy. She is very enthusiastic and wanting to make sure the school runs very smoothly. I have learned a bunch from her already.
Brian is an American Born Chinese. He grew up in College Station, TX, and only thought he would live in Taiwan for a few years, but has now lived her for 10 years. He works with the administrative part of the school as well. He is really good with younger children and with doing crafts. The younger children love some good crafts.
Joe comes from Minnesota. He was once a full time member of the staff, but is now part time working Friday nights and Saturday mornings. He has been here for six years. He is married to a Taiwanese lady and has a three year old daughter. Nice guy.
Wesley is a very unique individual. He is currently on a student visa, even though he has been here for six years. He is South African He recently was hired into a full time role with the school. He was a part time substitute for a long time. He is funny and incredibly tall.
If you do not have someone like Teacher Suping at your school, you are missing out. She is a Taiwanese lady that is the back bone of the school. She makes everything run smoothly. She keeps me in line as well. She will even make comments towards Teacher Brian for him to work out more. She makes comments about how all the children’s hand writing is like mine, and my handwriting is not perfect. She did tell me to work on it. She is the person that helps bring in more families. She is like the motherly figure that is strict, but can be a loving individual. Like I said, she is the person that makes everything function smoothly.
All of the children are so vastly different. We have two type of classes.
One is the ESL class. This class is for the children that are basic learners. They really do not speak English well. The children have great personalities, but sometimes it is hard to grasp how fully their personality is because of their lack of English communication, and my lack of the knowledge of Chinese.
The second type of class is the EFL class. These students are working on fluency. They can ready and write in English. They are fun and enthusiastic. Some do not stare at me like I am saying something totally foreign like my ESL 1st grade students do. These kids are bright and can be very chatty. Some even try to pull fast ones on the new teacher, me, but I am picking up on the tricks.
I teach mostly elementary, which happens to be most of those EFL students. I do teach the ESL 1st grade class for a few hours. We do games and songs to help them learn English. I do have one Junior High class, and I will soon be taking on two Junior High students as a private tutoring session. These Junior High students are a lot of fun. They are able to read and write, we are able to discuss various intellectual topics.
The kids are enjoyable. You do not get into teaching for the money. It should be about the students. The students and their progress is why I do this. I hope to teach them something, and quite possibly see the students achieve success outside of the classroom.
Teaching can be stressful, fun, tiring, and most of all a joy.