Amy Harper, A British Teacher In Taoyuan
Our latest teacher to agree to interview with us is Amy Harper. She left her life behind in the UK to pursue a teaching position in South Korea. Not satisfied with just one location in Asia she set her goals to make the move to teaching in Taiwan where she currently teaches young learners in Taoyuan.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My names Amy Harper. I am 27 years old I have been living in Asia for 3 years now. Before my time in Taiwan I lived and taught in South Korea. I love exploring new cultures and eating the delicious foods I find. My hobbies are hiking the glorious mountains Asia has to offer. I enjoy relaxing with friends and planning trips to new places.
2. How have you enjoyed teaching in Taiwan to date?
Taiwan has been amazing. After living in South Korea, Taiwan is very relaxed and friendly. It’s a change of pace and exactly what I wanted. The people in Taiwan are the nicest people I have ever met and so incredibly helpful. Although I’m not a huge fan of Taiwanese food it doesn’t stop me trying all the word and wonderful things on offer here.
The teaching styles and requirements are very different between South Korea and Taiwan. I feel Taiwan is better for me as it is more relaxed but you know what’s expected of you.
South Korea its a little hazy at times and there seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the job your doing is.
3. What advice can you give to new teachers interested in teaching in Taiwan?
Find your feet, get on a bus and get lost, walk around your neighborhood and get lost. You’ll feel so accomplished when that moment hits you and you realize where you are and think yeah I can do this!!!
Try not to ever say no to going out to a dinner or a bar as its a great way of meeting new people and making friends. No matter how tired or out of your comfort zone you are…..do it, it’s worth it.
Also try putting a post up on Facebook saying you are new and would anyone like to meet up tomorrow, it works a treat!
Go with things, don’t fight the change. Things are done differently here than in our home countries, if you just go with it it’ll make for a smoother transition.
4. Can you tell us about a particularly powerful moment in your classroom?
My kids are great at the school I’m working for. Being able to engage in conversation and them understand humor in English is fantastic and when I hear them say slang they may have heard me say, and use it in a correct way it makes you smile.
I teach a girl who is 9 and she has always been left behind in her classes and not doing very well on her spelling test. One day out of the blue she got 10/10 and gave me a big cuddle screaming thank you teacher. This will stay with me forever.
5. What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Taiwan?
There are many positive things in Taiwan but to name the top ones I would say the people are friendly, the climate is hot and humid most of the time, and the wonderful places to visit seem to never end.
There is only one negative aspect for me and that is the food and that’s it.
6. Have you had the opportunity to travel much in Taiwan or in Asia?
I have had the opportunity to travel to Bali, Japan a couple of times and live in South Korea.
7. Do you have any favorite blogs or websites about Taiwan that you’d like to share with our readers?
The Reach To Teach website does a good job of giving you a brief outline of certain areas and what there is to do there, they also have an extensive list of teachers blogs that can tell you all about what other teachers have gotten up to.