First day of work in Taiwan

Taoyuan City

Today I had my first day of teaching, or rather observing, for my new job at Gloria English.

Observing is tiring

It’s policy here that you need to do 20 hours of observing other teachers’ classes, before you can start any teaching work yourself. I had to observe two classes today, and my first class was 5-7pm, and the second was 7.10-9.10pm.

I was observing a teacher called Dylan who’s worked here for two years. He obviously knew what he was doing and the class flowed smoothly. As he was teaching I made lots of notes, mostly about the order he did things and the type of games he played. He had a good rapport with his students and they liked him.

I’ve been told that Gloria likes classes to run a certain way, but once you understand that way it’s pretty easy work. It’s certainly more tiring observing than teaching as all you’re doing is sitting quietly at the back paying attention.

I think I’ll get the flow ok

It’s quite different to my classes in Vietnam, as here they run for two hours, whereas in Vietnam they only went for 40 minutes. The classes are smaller here too (from what I’ve seen so far), having around 20 students in a class, rather than 40-50+.

If there is a certain ‘flow’ or ‘way’ the classes need to be taught I think I’ll fit right into it. It’s great to have experience, and as I was watching I was jotting down games that I used to do in Vietnam as they came back to memory.

I also remember a big thing which I’d forgotten: get the kids talking and make sure they’re pronouncing it right. I think this is important and is essentially what they’re hiring us for, and now the classes are smaller I’ll be able to help every student.

It’s only early days, but I have a good feeling

The teachers who work at Gloria English stay in a dorm, which is over two floors on top of one of the schools (as in Vietnam). Everyone has been really friendly so far and the place seems pretty chill. My room is tiny but it has natural light which is really important. There’s a shared common room, kitchen, toilets and showers.

Today I went to a big supermarket and bought lots of things I needed for my room, like a lamp (for mood lighting), a cushion for my chair, a power board, some thongs,  a towel and a couple of other bits and bobs to make my room more homely.

It’s important to make your room the best it can be as it’s essentially your house. I even bought cleaning stuff so I can give it a big clean over the next few days.

I’ve already lined up to buy a bike from another teacher who is leaving in three weeks. This will be really handy so I’ll have total freedom and also won’t need to rely on getting the bus to class everyday.

Best of all I’ll be able to explore further a field during my only day off: Sunday.

Gloria English dorm

Gloria English dorm

Missing Vietnam

There’s a community of Vietnamese people in Taoyuan, so it’s nice to buy Vietnamese food and still talk the language. I have found though that after the brief honeymoon period of ‘being in a new country’ finished, I really started missing Vietnam.

I even did a search on ‘starting an English school in Vietnam’, as this is something I would really consider doing. I’d like to open a school in Ninh Binh which is one of the most beautiful parts of the world I’ve been too. The bonus of course being that it’s an amazing part of the world that is still cheap enough for me to set up there.

I really think I could make an English school work, and being a native speaker would hold some clout and prestige. This is all years down the track of course, but from when I first saw Ninh Binh I fell in love with the place, and it’s the only place so far on my list of “this is where I could permanently live”.

A part of me wishes I could just go there now to just be there. But I know I haven’t seen any of Taiwan yet, so I’m also looking forward to exploring this country during my time here. My honeymoon period will come back.

Exploring will come

My purpose in coming to Taiwan is to work and save money. I remember in my interview the interviewer, Celia, asked me “why did you want to come to Taiwan?” And it sort of stumped me. Initially I said ‘oh I’ve heard it’s nice and the people are nice…’ but then I stopped myself and paused. I thought just tell her the truth, so then I said ‘well to be honest I don’t really know anything about Taiwan, but that’s because I like to explore the places when I get there to make my own mind up. I don’t really do any research so I don’t have any expectations about it”.

As I said this her eyes totally lit up and she said ‘Dan I’m like that too! It’s a lot better to just go somewhere without knowing too much about it’. I’m really glad she said that, and I’m glad I was honest with her: I was just telling her what I thought and letting her react however she might react.

She must’ve liked me because she just gave me the job during the interview, then we kept talking about the ins and outs of the job.

Taoyuan City

I’m feeling calmer now. I’ll get settled, then when I know what’s what I’ll start spreading my feelers to different parts of Taiwan. I’m grateful and lucky to have this job, I just hope I can make the full year.


  1. Hi Dan,
    I really like your idea about opening an English school in Vietnam. Do it ?
    Your emotions look good ?
    Is this the garden beside your dorm?

  2. Thanks Mai I’d like to open a school, but who knows what will happen. The garden is near where I live, but not beside it, there’s nothing beside me except a small road 🙂


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