I don’t usually write about teaching English or my job simply because there is a lot of information out there on the subject, and I doubt I will say anything that hasn’t been said before. That being said, since I am leaving my current job, I feel that I should leave a review of the school for anyone considering coming to work here in the future.
Note: Franchise schools are run VERY differently, depending on the owner. Toufen and Zhunan are in close proximity, and each have a Shane school. This is about the Shane in TOUFEN. I’ve never worked at the Zhunan Shane, so cannot comment on it.
When I arrived, Lin, the owner of Toufen Shane, was waiting to pick me up. She was very friendly and upbeat. Good start, I thought. She helped me pile all my stuff into her vehicle and we immediately went to pick out an apartment. Lin had already spoken to a bunch of landlords and she drove me around from place to place until I found one I liked. I think we saw 3 or 4 places before I found one, but she had more ready to look at in case I wished to see them.
After getting the apartment, she took me to buy all the linens, pillows etc etc. Being a first timer in Taiwan, this was a HUGE help because I would have been using a ratty sleeping bag for a blanket and my backpack for a pillow if she hadn’t helped me out. After the apartment was all set up, she and her husband took me out for a very nice dinner at a local restaurant. Finally, they dropped me off at home.
The first few days at work saw introductions to the rest of the staff. Everyone was nice and helpful. I was set up in my own classroom, and given all the teaching materials I needed. The teacher who I was replacing gave me the rundown on the job and the management. Everything went smoothly and I settled in well.
Considering that this was my first teaching gig in a new country, I wanted to focus all my attention on learning how to do the job well. This was very easy, because Lin took care of all the peripherals. She took me to get my medical, applied for the working license, ARC, took care of all the tax stuff and basically everything outside of the classroom. I had full support, and could focus on getting to know my job.
Going beyond what was required, she even gave me a loan for the first month because I
mis-budgeted was frivilous with my funds – I didn’t have to survive on instant noodles!
As the months wore on, I found Toufen Shane to be a professional and supportive work environment. Lin’s leadership style is very democratic, and she gave us the freedom to run our classes as we saw fit. There was no micro-managing, and literally no friction between the foreign teachers / management / Taiwanese TA’s. Everything was exactly what I was told it would be. Payment was recieved on time, there was no shady-ness with any dealings I had with the school.
In terms of days off, Lin was very open-handed. I never had any trouble getting what I wanted. She even re-adjusted the times of my classes when I wanted to attend Mandarin lectures to accomodate me. I always had the impression that I was a valued member of the team – not just a dollar sign.
Pretty much all of the teachers at Toufen Shane stayed for 2 years or more. My original plan was to move after 1 year, but I stayed on only because I grew to enjoy and appreciate my job immensely. Toufen Shane is a fantastic example of a Shane school, and because of this experience, I’ve decided to stay on with Shane when I move.
I was lucky to end up here for my first job. With Lin’s support, work has been great – much better than a lot of horror stories I’ve heard from other local teachers. I’m very grateful for the last 2 years, and for anyone considering coming to Toufen, you won’t go wrong with Toufen Shane.