Reach To Teach asked me to share my views on teaching English in Taiwan. I taught here from the summer of 2007 and returned to the United States at the end of 2009. I came just after I graduated with little teaching experience, but a great desire to live and travel abroad. I had studied abroad in Taiwan during college and quickly came to love this small island country. The people here are so friendly! Above anything else, the people here are what making teaching in Taiwan a great experience.
About RTT: I found them through an online search and although I wasn't initially impressed with there website, I applied online and was surprised to hear back from them so quickly. Within 2 days I was setup with a phone interview, and two weeks later I was offered a job! Pretty easy. I also applied directly with Hess (a school there) who were far less responsive and I quickly gave up on them.
I was walked through the whole visa process (pretty easy, just be sure to get a 60 day landing visa). 6 weeks later I arrived in Taiwan, honestly shell shocked that I was actually going through with this! It was a little overwhelming, but RTT regularly hosts social events for new teachers which was a great way to meet other teachers in the area. These events are held every month were a lot of fun!
The school I taught was called Principle and was located just outside of Taipei in a neighborhood called Tuchung. There are not a lot of expats in this area, and honestly not a lot to do, but luckily I lived 5 mins from the MRT which is the subway system them. This system is fantastic and allows you to easily get around the rest of Taipei very cheaply. If you live in Taipei I HIGHLY recommend you live near an MRT station. This will make your life so much easier!
My school was rather small by most standards. There were only two ESL teachers (including me) and we were responsible for teaching 5 kindergarten classes. Most of my students were aged 4-7 were a lot of fun to teach. There were a couple brats, but you'll find them at every school. I would start teaching at 9am, have a 2 hour lunch (seriously!), and teach again from 1:30pm to 6pm. That was my day! I also taught four days a week for a total of 30 hours a week. I didn't teach Saturdays, but as I meet other ESL teachers I found out that is pretty common.
If I were to do again, I would take a TEFL course. It wasn't required, but the first couple weeks were a little nerve racking as adjusted to life as a teacher. All the teaching materials were provided, I was mostly tasked with creative ways to teach the material. When you're teaching 5 year olds you HAVE to be creative, otherwise you'll quickly loose them. Come prepared with a large bag of tricks!
Each month I think I made about $NT50,000 which turns into about $1,600USD. Not a lot, but easily enough to live comfortably in Taiwan. My rent was about $NT8000 and food came out to about $NT11000 a month. That leaves a lot of spare change!
Good luck! I look back on the experience as some of the best years of my life. I highly recommend RTT and teaching Taiwan.