I’ve been teaching English at Gloria in Taoyuan, Taiwan for about three months. It’s possibly even three and a half months. I’m writing this review for anyone who’s thinking of working here, and wants to know more about it.
If you want to read about my earlier impressions of Gloria, you can read my posts two months at Gloria English, a perfect job for new teachers, with a catch, and one month at Gloria English.
I’ve done a pros and cons at the end of the post for quick reference.
What’s Taoyuan like?
It’s sort of hard for me to answer this because in all honesty I haven’t seen much of it. This is mostly for one reason: It’s winter at the moment and it’s cold, grey, often raining or drizzling and not the best exploring weather.
Unfortunately Taoyuan was voted Taiwan’s most boring city, but I feel that’s probably for holidaying, if you want to work it isn’t that bad.
There is everything you could want here, and Taipei is only a 30 minute bus ride away, with busses leaving every 30 minutes or so. It has major malls, cinemas, an arts centre, a stadium, a train station, and if you have a scooter you can go on day trips to many of the mountains and natural bits around the city.
Where is Gloria English in Taoyuan?
Gloria has two dorms, one in the north and one in the south. The schools are dotted all around the place. I live in the north dorm on Tong An street.
The dorm is close to Carrefore, bowling, a small pub called the Hop-In, the Arts Centre and a crap ton of other shops. It’s pretty easy to get around, even if you don’t have a scooter.
What’s the dorm like?
A great benefit of working at Gloria English is you have free accommodation for 15 months (if you want it). The dorm itself is rather basic, it’s above one of the Gloria schools, and is on the 4th and 5th floors.
I’m on the 5th floor, it has a basic kitchen, two toilets, two showers, a common area with a few couches and chairs and a TV, and about 15 rooms for the teachers. There are also two free washing machines and a coin operated dryer.
Thankfully all the rooms aren’t full at the moment, otherwise it’d be too crowded. As there is no fixed intake date, teachers are occasionally coming and going.
The rooms are tiny and basic, they each have a desk, chair, “bed” and a clothes rack to hang your clothes. The mattress you can get from the school is basic (thin and made of bamboo), so I highly recommend you buy a foam one from Carrefour as well. They also have aircon.
A cleaning lady comes every 3-4 days to clean and take out garbage etc. A fee for the cleaning lady is deducted from your salary each month.
I spend most of my time in my room when I’m at the dorm. I’ve bought a few more pillows and some plants to lighten the place up. It’s fine but certainly nothing you would want long term.
What’s the actual teaching like at Gloria?
This can best be described in one word: easy. The work is utterly easy, well it is for me and many of the other teachers. Once you get a few classes under your belt, you’ll get into the routine and it will be a piece of cake.
Why’s it so easy? It’s because the majority of the classes run to the same format. Once you learn this format, or ‘way that Gloria wants things done’, you simply fill the mould with new material each new class.
Like with any ESL job the kids are what make the job fun (or a nightmare), and here the kids are cute, friendly, silly and generally pleased to see you each week. It’s always nice to walk into a class, particularly kindy, and see their faces light up as they see you and yell “teacher Dan!” at you.
The teenage classes can be more difficult, as they’re at the age where all they want to be doing is hanging out with their mates, or playing on their phone. All the teachers comment on how difficult it can be to get them talking, they will literally just stare at you with blank expressions on their faces. Still, we muddle through and they’re slowly opening up to me.
What are the hours like at Gloria English?
I’m doing about 23 hours a week. The vast majority of classes are two hours long, with kindy only being 1.5 hours. There’s a 10 minute break in each class.
The classes are almost always in the evening. I only have one class that starts at 1.30pm. Classes usually go from 5-7pm, then 7.10-9.10pm, or around those times.
Something which really sucks is working a six day work week. The only day off is Sunday. True you get your days free during the week, but you always need to be back for class. I really dislike working six days a week, but I signed the contract so I won’t whinge about it now!
How do you get paid?
You get paid in cash each day after you finish your classes. Yep, you heard me, you literally get paid everyday (so open a back account or you’ll have vast wads of $1000 notes in your desk drawer).
When you begin there is a two week buffer with your payment, meaning you work for two weeks without getting paid. This is to stop people leaving without any notice halfway through their contract – if they leave they lose the cash for those initial two weeks of work.
When you’ve worked here 9 months you get paid for your first unpaid week of work, and when your contract finishes you get paid for the second week. Contracts are 12 months long (and can be renewed for as long as you want to keep working here).
What are the other teachers and Taiwanese teachers like?
It’s luck of the draw with who your dorm buddies are. I’ve been lucky I think. Everyone is friendly and respectful to each other. I get on with all the teachers, but I don’t hang out with them that often. That’s mostly because after teaching I like to relax in my room by myself.
The Taiwanese teachers are lovely, funny and kind. At least my co-teachers have been anyway. I’d say it’s a mix of about 70/30 female to male teachers.
Their English is amazing (basically fluent) and they always help you, especially if you’re new.
– Free accommodation which means an amazing opportunity to save.
– The pay is fairly decent ($650NT per hour, that’s about $21 USD).
– A very easy job with virtually no prep time required before class.
– Very close to the capital – Taipei.
– The kids make the work enjoyable.
– Reliable and prompt payments.
– All the work is in the evening and at night, so socialising can be challenging.
– If you find the “Gloria way” of teaching restricting you might be frustrated.
– Tiny dorm rooms and a basic dorm.
– Six day work weeks, only one day off.
Gloria is fine, I’m nearly one third through my contract. I highly, highly doubt I’ll sign another contract when I finish, I’m really looking forward to getting out and exploring the island.
This is the only company I’ve worked with in Taiwan, so in regards to teaching jobs I have nothing to compare it to, except my time teaching in Vietnam.
The only way you’ll know if this is for you, is to come here and give it a go. You might love it, hate it, or settle somewhere in between. However I guarantee you that living in a different country will be a life changing thing to do. You will grow as a person and gain so much life experience, it really is amazing.
I know travel and living in another country can be challenging, I’ve been doing it for two years now in two different countries. If you want advice about how to cope, take a look at my self development page to see how travel can be made easier, how to find friends overseas, and how you will grow as a person.