Recognizing Different Perspectives in the Classroom

Kaohsiung, Taiwan
22.627278400000, 120.301435300000
Journal Entry:

Prior to teaching students with the Fulbright Foundation in Taiwan, I had prior experience working with Elementary School students back at home. In San Francisco, I served as a Site Coordinator at a low-income public school, helping students catch up to their reading levels. However, my role as a teacher, and my relationship with my students in the classroom have shifted since coming to Taiwan, both culturally and socially.

The teaching profession is more respected in Taiwan than it is in the United States. At the school level, this means that there is an elaborate system of directors to manage the different needs of teachers and students. For example, instead of having just a Principal and a secretary, Taiwanese schools have multiple directors to oversee student affairs, the training and needs of teachers,and the maintenance of school facilities.  In the classroom, this translates to a different teacher-student dynamic. In general, Taiwanese teachers have the final say in the classroom and are involved in their students’ lives beyond school, too. Parents also give teachers more permission and trust to manage and teach their children.

One reason teachers having more authority in the classroom, is the collective culture of Taiwanese society.