English language education usually comes in one of two forms: public or private. Major ESL centers like South Korea, Japan, and even China follow this model and, for the jobseeker, this means opportunity comes in two forms as well: employment through government-run schools or for-profit providers. As we at ESL Directory have often noted before, however, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Despite being consistently voted one of the most lucrative (and popular) places to teach English as a Second Language, the Taiwanese ESL market is different. Indeed, unlike many of the other popular destinations in East Asia the vast preponderance of ESL schools in Taiwan are privately run. This can have dramatic implications for those seeking to teach English in Taiwan.
English education, driven by its high regard and the economic strength of Taiwanese parents, starts early. Very early. The bulk of private ESL schools in Taiwan are designed to cater to children and preadolescents from 6 to 12 years of age and usually come in the form of buxiban or “cram schools”. Because most of their clients are enrolled during the day in school (be it public or private) classes rarely begin before 3 or 4pm. Of course there are many teenagers and working professionals also interested in improving their English proficiency but the sheer number of children enrolled in such programs means that almost any buxiban position will entail at least some classes catered towards children.
Thus, if teaching children – or edu-taining in general – isn’t for you, you may want to look carefully before you apply to any ESL school in Taiwan. At the same time, if you enjoy children then a position in Taiwan may be the perfect fit for you. After all, many people believe that the well-earned reward of a child’s smile is the most satisfying thing in the world – and the same might be true, too.