Taiwan Education – The truth about private schools in Taiwan!
You work for businesses, not schools
Coming from a Western country, chances are good that you’re also coming from a public school system. Well, especially when it comes to small-time English schools in Taiwan, the dynamic of schooling changes quite dramatically when in the private sector.
The main point that needs to be kept in mind is that, yes, you are at a school, but no, education is not the first priority – money is! Many owners of buxibans see their schools as business opportunities more than anything else. This is totally different from public schools, which depend on government funds (although we all know how corrupt that system can be, also).
You are a manufacturer of education
For this reason, to put it crudely, the school is seen as a store, parents are seen as consumers, teachers are seen as manufacturers of education, which is the final product. Many bizarre events will come to pass because of this dynamic.
If a Taiwanese parent sees that their child is getting poor grades in English throughout the year, he or she will assume that your “product” is crap. Like a broken iPhone, the parent will come into your “store” and complain about their broken “product”. The parent will blame the “manufacturer” (you) and the management for this issue.
At this point, the management has two options – fix the product or lose the customer. The management goes to you, the manufacturer, and demands that you fix this child’s education. You respond by saying it is unfixable – the kid simply does not like English, or the kid has actually improved in many areas but remains an unfortunately bad test taker.
So the iPhone is defective, and there is no immediate fix. What is the management to do? Give the parent a fake iPhone and send them on their way. They’ll tell you to give the kid an “A” even if he doesn’t know the two letters that come after it.
Always remember, you work for a company that just happens to also be a school.