Teaching English In Taiwan - Does Skin Colour Matter
It might not have crossed your mind before but teaching English in Taiwan at most schools isn't as straight forward as you may think. The many privately owned schools in Taiwan place great importance on the skin colour of the teachers they hire. This doesn't mean that you won't find any teachers who aren't Caucasian, but the majority of schools prefer to hire teachers with Caucasian heritage. Without putting it too bluntly, if you are a white teacher in Taiwan you have a much better chance of getting a job at one of the many common cram schools than if you aren't white. This is obviously racism, but schools and parents continue to support this way of thinking. If you aren't Caucasian does this mean you will be able to find work? No, but it does mean that you will have much greater difficulty in finding work compared to someone who is.
Cram school owners want prefer their teachers to be Caucasian because there is a belief that white is healthy. While education at many schools is important, cram schools are still a business and they are in the business of providing an education to make money. Because of this you will find that the majority of teachers are Caucasian and young. School owners believe this provided the best image to parents. Parents aren't in the business of hiring teachers but instead just pick a school to send their child to obviously have no say in the matter and most of them are unaware that school owners prefer Caucasian teachers. If you are an overseas Chinese or not Caucasian, you will find it difficult to get work in some areas. Many schools require you to send a picture along with your CV and this is the best method they have available to screen out unwanted applicants. Because of this you will find that even getting an interview can be difficult.
Does this mean that if you aren't Caucasian you shouldn't think about making the move to Taiwan to teach English? Of course not. It just means that if you are aware of the potential problems you may face in advance it will allow you to make the right decisions. You may want to consider looking for work in Taipei. While the Caucasian mentality is rampant throughout all of Taiwan cram schools, you should find that there are more open minded schools in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei and as a result will find it the easiest place to look and get work. This doesn't mean you won't have any problems finding work, there will still be difficulties but potentially less than if you looked for work in the more rural cities of Taiwan.
Skin colour, sadly, is very important for anyone thinking about teaching English in Taiwan. By knowing this in advance you stand a better chance of finding work if you apply in Taipei or other institutions where importance goes beyond just the age and race of a teacher and instead focuses more on their qualifications.
by: Creztor Tessel