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Monday, February 14, 2011

Arrival in Taiwan

I wanna take you all back to my arrival in Taipei, Taiwan and my search for a job here.  I tried to get some work before I left England, but most places wanted to interview me first and would not do this through the phone or the Internet.  The only people who would do this didn't want me so I was jetting off to Taiwan with no job, nowhere to live, and a little bit of money to see me by until I got a job.

When I moved to Taiwan, one of Jen's best friends said I could sleep on her floor until I found a job, and a place to live however long that may take.  So I was sleeping on Jen's best friends floor.  This was totally fine however because her best friend is really, nice, kind and friendly.  Right about now I should maybe tell you her name, she is called Olivia.  I was really shocked when Olivia told me that she got me my own set of keys cut for her apartment, this showed that she really trusted me in her home.

Entrance to Olivia's apartment building.


The lane which Olivia lives.

The street that leads to Olivia's apartment.


Olivia lives in an old style mid rise apartment.  Inside her apartment is huge, but it only has one bedroom.  So I said I would just stay on the floor in the front room.

When Olivia heard about this she told me "no! It's too hot now!"  With it being the middle of the summer and her front room having no air con she insisted that I slept on bedroom floor so that I would be able to keep cool in the evenings and sleep well.  I was a bit worried about this at first because I didn't want to intrude in her personal space.


The view from Olivia's apartment.

After some time of sleeping on Olivia's floor and staying in her apartment helped us to become good friends.  This was good because staying in such close proximity to someone you don't really know that well could either make you hate each other or become good friends, and I am happy to say that me and Olivia became good friends.

The area where she lives is quite OK, good for getting cheap food, as it is a big residential area.  It is also very close to Shilin Night Market (which is for another blog.)

Shezi.

While staying at Olivia's apartment most of my time spent there was spent on looking for a jobs and going to demos.  Jen was not only my girlfriend at this time she was pretty much my agent, manager, demo coach, and personal assistant.  She was helping me to arrange all the demos, and making sure that everything was taken down in order and arranged so we could easily check which demo we had to be for, and when!  This was a great great help to me because I am a very un organised person, so she has helped me to become more organised than I ever was in the past.

We were getting around two to three demos for every day of the week.  I didn't know what to expect from the demos and didn't really know what to do in them at the beginning it was like learning to do interviews all over again.  I would ask them on the phone but a lot of employers here in Taipei never wanted to tell me what they expected me to do.  They preferred the element of surprise it would seem, to throw the new would be teacher in their school.  This entitling the employer to see how the new employee would think on their feet, but their thought process is flawed because you can't show how good you will be in 10 - 20 minutes.

I would turn up to demos not knowing anything, but I knew one thing I had to find a job.  Otherwise I would run out of money and time.  Then I would of been back on a flight to England with my tail between my legs.

After doing about 10 demos it finally sunk in what employers here wanted you to say and what kind of things they were looking for.  So we would practice at night, with my fake students of my girlfriend Jen and my temporary house mate Olivia.  The reason I had to do a lot of practice and research was because in the eyes of employers here in Taipei I had a lot of faults and I knew I was going to have to improve very quickly and very fast!

The faults I had were endless according to employers here, they complained about my writing, that I was nervous, didn't make animal noises to the kids (when trying to tell them animal vocab,) didn't explain things clearly, wouldn't be able to manage the class, etc etc the list really was endless!!!

Then we (well I should say Jen, but I am taking some credit to, because if I was not so shit she would of never had the idea) had another good idea.  We would set up a class room in Olivia's bedroom for practice.  So every night I would have to plan and pretend I was going to give a demo and do it the night before in the room.  It was really embarrassing, but it helped me a lot to become more confident in a demo situation and helped me greatly to getting that first job here.

This is not my white board!


We went to Taipei main station and bought notepads, board markers, and the key ingredient a small white board.  This was to practice my writing and Olivia and Jen would be my practice students.



My new office.

I done demos at just about every buxiban (extra school, normally for things like English, Maths, etc etc.  To specialise more in one subject.) and a lot of the small private owned cram schools here in Taipei.

I just kept believing in myself and stayed determined I knew I was good at working with kids.  I knew from all the past experience I have in England, Germany, and America.  I had to stay determined because I would not be leaving Taipei that easy. As this was the start of my friendship with Taipei.

Keep on keeping on!