I’ve given notice at my jobs that I will be leaving in the second week of January last week. Things have started to get awkward. I haven’t really disclosed anything to the staff. I’m letting the boss take care of that.
In one school, they always leave the windows open now because a lot of kids are sick. The trouble is that this school is located on a busy road. A lot of polluted air comes in. I have sensitive lungs. I don’t do well with pollution. The minute I enter the classroom, I start to cough. I’ve resorted to wearing my Respro industrial strength Techno pollution mask in class. The trouble is that I look like Darth Vader.
In my other school, they don’t have filters on the air conditioning or they don’t clean them. As soon as the air con starts, I start to cough. My asthma is back. I haven’t really had any asthma for years. It started coming back in September, when I got sick. I’m tired of it. Always needing my pump and the shortness of breath.
I’m sure that the other teachers at my morning job already know. I’ve been singled out by not having to participate in the rehearsals for Sports Day. I’m glad that I got out of that one. They would have paid me for one hour’s work on a Sunday morning. I would have had to get up at 7AM. The whole thing, including dances and performances would have taken at least three hours.
I’ve rechecked my schedule and found out that I will only leave Taiwan around the 8th of January. I’ll be back in a few months.
I’ve had time to ponder my jobs this year. The best job was still the one I had in Hsinchu at a private elementary school. There was no corporal punishment and I could run my classes like I saw fit. It was that job that made me love teaching. Right now, my morning school is filled with abuse. And I’ve gotten reports that other branches are like this as well. Not all branches, but still. It’s sad to see a teacher dragging a little kid away to get beaten or punished. It happened today again.
I still believe that hourly wage is the way to go. You work less hours and get the same money as if you are full time at a school. The key is being a part time teacher. I’d stay away from any school asking a deposit. That means that they have a high foreign teacher turnover ratio. My first school actually gave a NT30000$ (~US900$) bonus at the end of the year. None of the schools I have worked at in Taipei have done the same thing.
The best schedule in my mind is teaching from 9-12 in one place, and then 1-7PM at another place. That would be 45 hours a week. You wouldn’t finish too late and it would be a good pace to go on. the 1-7PM block is easy to fill. I’ve seen a number of schools who offer this schedule. The morning hour block is basically for Kindergartens. Those are also easier to find. Personally, I plan on staying away from bilingual Kindergartens and schools that try to mess with you by not paying you for break time or play time. In the end, you will find that your break time is filled with frantically paced paperwork that you have to finish. One of my schools does this and I’m sick of it. It’s just a way to screw you over.
You’ll find that bilingual Kindergartens are a mixed bag. The ones I worked at didn’t impress me. The kids English language ability is severely impaired compared to a Kindergarten which gives classes only in English. I find that a K2 class in a Whole English school is a lot stronger than a K3 class in a bilingual school.
I’d also be careful about the schools that have a reputation to maintain. Most of the time, this translates into pressure from the administration onto the teaching directors. Then, the pressure is put upon the teachers who have to push the kids to perform. This situation is a breeding ground for abuse.
For Christmas, my wife got me a Polartec Thermal Pro Schöffel fleece. I got her a New Year’s dress. We have been having a great time together recently. The fleece fits nicely with my Milo Tival jacket. I’m currently looking into getting a Gore-Tex Pro Shell from hopefully Arc’teryx, if I can find the right deal. I still have to get some more long underwear and Bridgedale Expedition socks. I’m still breaking in my Zamberlan Master GT RR boots. I have to get some insoles.