Tuque Day At Work!

A train on the Taipei MRT leaving on the Bannan line. Taken with a Nikon D200 and a 18-35mm lens on the 16th of December 2006. Part of the MRT NTNU Chute.

This morning, I was surprisingly refreshed after my sleep. I was a lot more functional than yesterday. It didn’t take me any coffees to wake up.


The school is freezing and I am wearing a tuque. I plan on wearing it all day. In fact, I will probably start wearing long johns next week, because my legs feel a bit cold. I will get myself a new scarf this weekend and also some gloves with cut off tips so that I can type.

Yesterday, I dropped my helmet again after coming back from tutoring. I had upgraded helmets, but yesterday I managed to scracth the visor. Anyways, it had a reflective covering that I didn’t like since I drive a lot during the night. So I am also planning on getting the visor replaced. A full face helmet feels a lot better and cuts down on the wind.

Though I will have to stop dropping it.

We got a lot of papayas yesterday and feasted on roasted chicken breasts and fruits. One funny thing, when we are driving on the scooter, I can feel my wife always shivering because of the cold and the wind.

I fell asleep while I was watching an episode of CSI Miami.

Today, we got to see about the block hour job that we might take at a buxiban to fill up our free time. We got an interesting salary and it will be good to make some more money during the week. It took us a few weeks to find the right one at the right salary.

Tonight I am seeing one of my students at 7 PM. I plan on being home right after stopping at the RT Mart for some fish. I finished all my tasks for today and all that is left is the actual teaching and making the end of semester exams. I might be able to finish 3 of them today, that would leave only four for next week.

Next week is a short week, since we are getting Monday off.

* * * * *

One of the stupidest things I have heard this week:

I think of teaching as a career, not a way to make money.

Foreign teacher manager with a stake in his buxiban to potential new teachers.

Yes teaching is a career, but the main reason why teachers come to Taiwan is to try and save money to repay debts, school debts or experience the culture. In all those things, money is involved, especially when it comes from a part owner of a buxiban who wants to hire your at a dirt cheap salary. Think that most buxibans will charge around 20000 NTD per semester.

The Taiwanese see schools like a business. I have never come across anything like it. Some owners of language school retire multi millionaires in the Cayman islands. It’s big business here in Taiwan. If someone tells you it isn’t, he is either deluding himself or lying to you.

It is expected that lying in business is considered a good strategy in Taiwan.

Heard from a foreign teacher commenting on Taiwanese business dealings.

I have to be somewhat completely up front and direct when it comes to salary negotiations. I will not stop myself from telling them how it is. Remember that Asian culture frowns upon confrontations. Bringing it to the front of the discussion makes them uncomfortable. You should do this because otherwise you will waste time. I do not know how many interviews we sat through, wasting hours of our time, only to learn that their hourly rate was well below anything we would accept.

I never go to an interview unless I know what the salary range is. If they will not tell you, chances are that it is quite low.

It depends on you qualifications and your teaching experience.

Nope, untrue.

When pressed, they will give you an expected salary range. I have never had any problems getting it out. The only ones who managed clearly didn’t have high salaries.

While for the right job, I wouldn’t mind committing to 2 or 3 years, I will be surprised if I do so, unless it is really something I want to do. Locking yourself in like can be problematic if you want to have more time running your own classes.

* * * * *

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me!, me on flickr.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

7 thoughts on “Tuque Day At Work!”

  1. Thanks tender hooligan! I am looking forward to taking a lot of pictures of Taipei nightlife for new year’s!

    Happy new year and happy holidays!

  2. Hmm… I can’t really see how many westerners, or at least many Americans would come to Taiwan to teach for the money. The amount that most foreign teachers earn here comes out to less per hour than a pizza delivery driver makes in the states. Delivering pizzas back home doesn’t require a college degree, but teaching here does. The average college graduate in the US makes 40,000 USD the first year out of school. On that salary, it’s more than possible to save more per month than an average Tawian EFL teacher’s entire salary. I realize that you can take up entrepreneurial pursuits here, but the same is true back home, and the payout is bigger there.

    At least for Americans, coming out here for the money seems a bit crazy to me. I just came to for the foreign culture and language.

    PS. 20k/6 months is about right. That’s what all the HFRB’s I know of, except for two charge.

  3. Hey Mark!
    Well for us Canadians it is a different story since we pay at least 50% income tax. So basically we make the same money here than in Canada, except that our expenses are a lot lower. Meaning that our quality of life is higher here because our money goes a lot further. Furthermore, we are able to pay off all those pesky student loans and debts that we have in Canada very easily here.

    Part of the reason for coming here is a change, to learn a new language, experience Asia. I have always wanted to live in Asia. Learning Mandarin is also something I have always wanted.

    Back home, entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t really do a lot. At least in my experience. I have been in the tech business, designing websites, being a graphic artist to being a statistician, and it all ended up the same place.

    Here, I have discovered a new career, I have the opportunity to study and possibly get paid for doing it and have the opportunity to make a little money doing two things I love; business and teaching.

    I am not all about money, in fact since I moved here I am a lot about living in the moment.

  4. I actually think of teaching as a passion, not a career or job. It’s actually quite exciting to get to talk about the things you enjoy most in a day to many others who are yet experienced. Do you get it? HAHA! I hope I won’t sound too stupid.

    BTW, I like the picture. I cannot ever capture a picture that good.

  5. Hi Chialia!
    Thanks for the comment. If you like photography, just carry around a small camera and point and shoot. That is what I did most of this year. I usually took over 100 photos a day when I was still in Canada to practice.

    Teaching is a lot of things to a lot of different people. You can not get around the fact that education in Taiwan is a business. I love teaching, and have gotten good at it.

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