The sky in Montreal, Canada. Taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-P93 5.1 MP camera.
Ideas and ramblings on teaching in Taiwan, racism, reverse racism, HFRBs, ABCs and fake ABCs.
If you didn’t know, this is what all of the schools in Taiwan want:
- North-American English teacher, from the US or Canada
- Preferably caucasian
Thanks to Mark, I corrected some of my ideas that I had originally posted. Most of these things came out of one HFRB, not a whole bunch. Some of the things I posted came out of hearsay and it is impossible for me to validate them without first hand information.
But in my point of view, this isn’t that different from where I was living before, Montreal Canada. Montreal is a very multicultural city, and my ethnicity didn’t stop me from getting the jobs I wanted; my qualifications did.
Now, as you might have noticed, I am not white. My wife is a redhead from BC, but that is another story. I am a visible minority and have always been treated as such in my whole life, since I was born in Germany. Racism was the worst in Quebec City, Canada, where I lived a big part of my life. That is funny, because I have lived in Germany and France before going to Canada.
The most important thing is that schools in Taiwan are a business. I am pretty sure that some schools will not hire me, because I don’t speak enough Mandarin and because I am not white.
Does that bother me?
Not really, because I have faced racism all of my life.
And BTW, I do not really want to work for large schools. I have decided that I prefer working in small operations with people that I like and where the pay is good, not great, but good.
Those jobs at 1000 NTD/hour and more are not what you expect. I know that the schools are especially known for their almost military strict discipline and a certain feel that does not seem to mesh with my own philosophy of teaching. Those jobs are very hard and and would be hard to do day in and day out, and I know a lot of teachers for whom they would be unsuitable.
I would rather have a less stressful job and have enough time to learn Mandarin by myself and in classes and live life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like the idea of a high paying buxiban job either.
To get an idea of profit sharing, at Cortland each teacher receives 200NTD per kid per semester. That can add up if you run a few classes, but this varies from school to school.
On the surface, some of these schools look great but are disappointing once you get to know them. There are only so many things teachers will sacrifice for a good paycheck. One in particular in Taoyuan comes to mind; they are loosing most of their faculty because of firings and the lack of flexibility from their administration, and the fact that working there wasn’t that great. Sure the teachers made 900NTD per hour after training, but then they get stuck with a lot of pressure from the parents and the administration. Supposedly, the owner is a real bastard who spends his time firing people and living in the US setting up Mandarin teaching schools over there. Now this information comes from direct first hand knowledge.
Speaking good Mandarin will open those last few doors that have remained closed for me in Taiwan. The doors of everyday life in another country trying to cope with all the craziness. In fact, I prefer working for foreigners, since they understand our concerns a lot more.
I have seen loads of caucasians stuck at dead end jobs because of their agencies and not do anything about it. My wife and I are go-getters. We change our situation when we are unhappy about it, and will not let others dictate the terms for us.
Private teaching is the way to go for me. I like the small classes of 2 to 6 students, whom I all know very well and who’s parents trust me implicitly. The parents know that I am stern and strict, but not a total autocrat; I still like to have fun while we learn. From the students I teach at school and privately, as well at the adult language school, I have had nothing but great feedback. My wife likes to say that this has been a very good year for me.
Getting back on topic, I have read a few posts here and there about how African-American teachers have felt discriminated in Taiwan.
I have been discriminated all my life, and you don’t see me crying about it all the time. I deal with the situation, because there is nothing… nothing you can do to change the situation right now.
Just like ABCs, fake ABCs and others, there are advantages.
Just a quick digression here, I just love the term fake ABC (fake American Born Chinese, fake BBC – British Born Chinese, fake CBC – Canadian Born Chinese). I can no longer count the number of Taiwanese pretending that they are ABCs and presenting themselves as such to me in conversations. Fake ABCs are Taiwanese nationals who studied abroad for a few years and come back to Taiwan and tell people:
Where am I from?
I am from Toronto!
In the beginning, I was none the wiser, but when I realized what was going on, I laughed my ass off.
Face the facts. You can barely speak English, how can you be from Canada?
Face the facts again.
There is racism in Taiwan and there are no solutions to eliminating it.
Has my skin color stopped me from getting jobs?
Maybe, but those jobs, I don’t want anyways. I like working at schools where I am not forced to pass kids who fail.
Of all of the teachers I know, I am probably the busiest. I tutor students every weekday, run my own small classes and work fulltime as a teacher at a main job. I also have another job at an adult language school which offers me block hours and another job on Saturdays in Taipei.
I don’t plan on doing this my whole life, but for now, I seem to be doing it for a few more weeks.
How do you deal with racism? Sell yourself.
I have been in sales in the past and have no problems doing it. When tackling prospective employers, turn the tables on them because let’s just face it, as a foreigner in Taiwan, you are in the driver’s seat!
There are thousands of ads on tealit and on other classfied sites offering jobs and most of them offer ARCs.
Most caucasian teachers will face reverse racism here, being hired over other qualified Taiwanese teachers, because they are what the parents want. Even if it is illegal for foreigners to teach Kindergarten and preschool (kids aged 3-6; I have seen kids as young as 2 in Kindergarten), all Kindergartens employ foreigners.
My guess is that if you still feel discriminated and unhappy, try going back to school in Taiwan and working part time in an adult language school. The pay is better than in the kindy and chain buxibans and they are hourly paid positions. By going back to school, you will qualify for a 30000NTD/month scholarship. You can round that number up with about 10 hours a week at a language school.
If you are still unhappy, well then it’s time to reexamine the reasons why you came to Taiwan. Maybe it is time to change countries once more and find one more suited to your needs.
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This post is part of a series on Racism.
- Thai tattoo crazy or how racism is the cancer of our society
- Viva la revolucion or how racism is polarized by multiculturism
- Brutal racist attacks in Canada
- Racism Watch Canada
- Racism World Watch: Senator George Allen Is A Racist Biggot
- Kramergate Or How Michael Richards Is Just Another Racist Bigot
- World Racism Watch
- Racism And Reverse Racism In Taiwan For English Teachers