Teaching in Kaohsiung
Do you co-teach or do you teach more independently? What are the pros/cons of this type of teaching?
In Kaohsiung, all of the ETAs are required to co-teach. This means that lesson planning with your co-teacher (a local English teacher, LET) and teaching are collaborative. Co-teaching requires cooperation and compromise between both the ETA and LET. Co-teaching allows there to be a better student-to-teacher ratio; and, since most ETAs have had limited previous teaching experience, working with an LET is a great introduction to teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) in Taiwan. Your co-teacher has more familiarity with the course materials and with students’ needs. On the other hand, as an ETA you will bring American cultural knowledge and native fluency to help foster a more authentic language learning environment.
As mentioned above, compromise is a huge component of co-teaching. You may not always be able to accomplish everything you would like to; your LET may believe that there isn’t enough time for every activity that you want to try; and, it takes time to build rapport with your co-teacher and your students. However, when conflicts, misunderstandings, and miscommunications arise, you should not take it personally. It is not necessarily a reflection of your own or your LET’s teaching ability. Co-teaching requires patience and practice and is part of the cultural exchange you'll experience during your time in Taiwan.
What is the role of Chinese in the English classroom?
The use of Chinese varies and typically depends on the LET. Usually, in Kaohsiung, we are encouraged to speak only English in the classroom. But as an ETA, you do not need to know Chinese or use it in class.
What are classes like?
Class size varies greatly. A typical class size is no more than 30 students; however, at some schools, there may be classes as few as 3 students. How often you instruct your students also varies. Some ETAs see all of their students only once a week. Other ETAs are present for their students’ two periods of English each week.