Interview With Hayden Jared: An American Teacher in Taipei

Interview With Hayden Jared: An American Teacher in Taipei

teacher and students in masks

Introducing the latest teacher interview for our wonderful Reach To Teach audience. Meet Hayden Jared. He started his teaching career in the US, but Hayden decided to take the plunge into ESL teaching abroad in Taiwan this summer. He is currently teaching young learners at one of our most popular schools in Taipei.

teacher and students in masks1. Please tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m a teacher from the US. I just arrived in Taipei in mid August 2014. Prior to coming to Taiwan, I spent two years teaching high school and junior high English; and Speech and Debate in Idaho. I was to the point where I knew that the teaching position I landed, I’d need to commit to for a couple years to get some solid work experience under my belt.

As I was looking for teaching jobs I decided that I might as well apply for international teaching positions as I’ve always wanted to live abroad. By the end of summer I was committed. I knew that if I didn’t leave the US, I would stick with my next job for several years and would probably never leave.

I have a lot of family. . . 12 siblings with over 100 first cousins, aunts and uncles. I’m very close with many of my family members and I had a comfortable life with many friends that were as close as family. So, it was definitely a scary thing deciding to leave behind all of the security and comfort for an uncertain life in Asia.

2. How have you enjoyed teaching in Taiwan to date? 

So far teaching in Taiwan has been amazing. The culture here is deeply ingrained with a drive to learn English, which makes it very easy to teach. Many of the younger generations understand English fairly well and I’ve found that even the worst speakers are amazing, even compared to some of the Spanish-speaking population that I interacted with on a daily basis in America.

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When the school director interviewed me for this position she said, “To teach here you really just have to love children; that’s all we ask.” And she wasn’t lying. The more that I commit myself to loving my students and teaching with passion and compassion, the faster my students learn.

3. What advice can you give to new teachers interested in teaching in Taiwan?
Teachers at Halloween

If you’re interested in teaching in Taiwan, just do it. The process was so much easier than I ever expected.

Carrie was an angel and she made everything so easy. I honestly felt like I didn’t have to do anything to actually land the job or get to Taiwan.

Just make sure that all of your money is in order before you come. If you need to cancel or suspend your cell phone contract, get started on it early because that was my single biggest headache and took the longest.

I emailed myself the swiss code, routing number, and account number to my bank along with all of my tax information ahead of time and I’m so glad that I can access all of that information through my email at any time. Email yourself PDFs of all of your documentation that way you always have access to it no matter what happens.

4. Can you tell us about a particularly powerful moment in your classroom?

I speak specifically to such an experience in the post: A Pedagogy of Love, which you can find on my blog.

5. What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Taiwan?

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Best parts of Taiwan: Bubble tea, cheap food, the never-ending xie xie, Easy Cards that you can use for ANYTHING, 7-11s everywhere, and helpful locals. I speak no Chinese and yet people are always willing to stop and help me out in ordering food, finding an apartment, finding double-sided-foam tape at the store, etc.

Worst parts of Taiwan: Helpful locals: I speak no Chinese and people sometimes act as though this means I am completely incompetent. When I point at bubble tea on a menu and point at the sign for half sugar, and point at the sign for half ice, it means I want a bubble tea with half sugar and half ice. But sometimes three people will go out of their way to make sure that I get exactly what I want even so much that they’ll wait until I try the drink to make sure that it’s good.

I’m grateful for the help, but some days the last thing I need is people scrambling around to help me with something that I don’t need help doing.

Hayden covered in paint6. Where are you going for your next trip in Taiwan and why?

I love hiking. I was fortunate enough to make friends with a local who also enjoys the mountains. She has taken me all around Taipei to find different hiking spots, some that I can get to just minutes away from an MRT station.

She has also taken me to different beaches that I can get to by train. Next I’m planning to go to Pingxi where they have the lantern festival around Chinese New Year. I heard that it is a beautiful place with a famous market and I’m excited to see more rural areas of Taiwan.

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7. Do you have any favorite blogs or websites about Taiwan that you’d like to share with our readers?

Honestly, I can’t express how fortunate I am to have come to Taiwan through Reach to Teach. I enjoy reading Carrie’s website My Several Worlds because she posts content that I have found most interesting and relevant to my stay here in Taipei.

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