Can non-native English speakers teach English as a foreign language? Is it necessary to have English as your first language in order to teach it?
The answer is straightforward: if you speak English fluently, you have the ability to teach it! Many non-native English speakers have received training from us and gone on to work as English teachers all over the world and online. That isn’t to imply there aren’t obstacles to overcome. While there is increasing effort in the TEFL market to fight native-speaker prejudice, discrimination and hurdles still exist.
We place a high value on preparing our students for the world of TEFL; we want them to know all of the facts so they can find work as soon as they get their TEFL certification. With that in mind, we’ll look at some of the major challenges confronting non-native EFL teachers in this piece to assist you in your TEFL journey!
Is it true that being a non-native English speaker disqualifies me from several TEFL jobs?
The harsh reality is that it can.
Every day, native-speaker bias is being dismantled, but it’s still common to see ads on the internet that say “native speakers only.” Because we don’t want to enable or encourage discrimination against non-native English teachers, we don’t accept this phrase on the TEFL Org Jobs Centre.
When applying for teaching employment, the most crucial item for non-native English speakers to research is visa requirements. Your passport, rather than your non-native status, can be a bigger impediment to getting a job in another country.
Certain nations, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, will only provide visas to instructors from English-speaking countries. These are known as the ‘big seven,’ and despite the fact that English is a national language in many other nations, it is frequently misunderstood.
There is no negotiating with visa criteria if you are not eligible for a visa. It doesn’t matter if you are the best EFL teacher in the world.
You can focus your employment search once you’ve determined which nations you meet the standards for. It may take a lot longer to locate teaching work than it would for a native English instructor, but as long as you have the necessary qualifications (more on that later) and are qualified for a visa, there’s no reason why you can’t find a terrific teaching position with a little effort.
EFL teachers who aren’t natural English speakers are excellent
It’s just not true that just because English is their first language, native English speakers make superior teachers. Your ability to teach properly depends on your training and experience, whether you’re a native or non-native speaker.
You must communicate your strengths to a potential employer while applying for any job. While being a non-native English speaker can make job hunting more difficult, you can use it to your advantage.
Because you’ve experienced firsthand what it’s like to learn a new language, your grasp of grammar is likely to be far more solid and well-rounded than that of many native English speakers. The majority of native English speakers do not study their own grammar at school, and many will never learn another language. You are also familiar with the difficulties of language learning, having gone through the process yourself. When applying for jobs, make sure to emphasize this — persuade potential employers that the fact that English is your second language is strength rather than a drawback.
How can a non-native English speaker get a TEFL job?
We understand how demoralizing it can be to encounter advertisements that state “native speaker only.” Employers who believe that a native English speaker will attract more pupils care more about optics than a teacher’s ability to conduct their job successfully. You won’t be able to persuade them otherwise, and to be honest, employers with this mindset aren’t the greatest to work for.
Have faith in your ability since you need to make sure your application sells you. And be ready for rejection — as a non-native speaker, you’ll likely have to work harder to find work, but don’t let this discourage you. Perseverance is essential!
Promote your non-native status as an advantage
As previously said, non-native speakers can make excellent teachers. You’ve faced and overcome the difficulties of learning English to become fluent — you’re a success story! Not only will you be able to empathize with your students better, but your narrative will also motivate them.
Take a proficiency test
If you’re going to teach English, you’ll need to have a strong command of the language. Employers will question your level of English as a non-native speaker, so taking a proficiency exam is a simple method to demonstrate your abilities.
The IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge proficiency exams are some of the most well-known proficiency assessments. It’s vital to remember that a TEFL certificate isn’t proof of competency, and a proficiency test doesn’t guarantee someone’s ability to teach. However, having one can make finding job lot easier, especially if you haven’t lived/studied in an English-speaking region or are just starting out in your TEFL career.
Gaining teaching experience in your own country will strengthen your CV. This could be accomplished through paid or volunteer activities, as well as online English education. Any direct experience teaching English will look well on an application, and you should be able to get work with charities, local government projects and initiatives, tuition, and online teaching if you have a TEFL Org certificate.
Become TEFL certified
The most crucial thing for any TEFL teachers who want to teach English in another country is to obtain their TEFL certification. Employers hunt for this qualification in applicants, so make sure you receive your TEFL certification from a reputable, internationally recognized provider (like us!). Since 2008, TEFL Org has trained over 140,000 EFL teachers, and a TEFL Org certificate is recognized by businesses all around the world.
We propose a course with at least these hours because most businesses look for a 120-hour qualification. Non-native speakers may benefit more from a Level 5 TEFL course, which is our most comprehensive TEFL course and will increase your CV. We also offer advanced TEFL courses, which are a terrific opportunity to boost your qualifications and set yourself apart from the competition.
As we’ve discussed a few times before, as a non-native speaker attempting to find work in a market that usually discriminates against you, having a solid CV is critical. Do not be enticed by low-cost TEFL courses like those found on Groupon; they will not effectively prepare you for teaching and are often unaccredited. Many businesses will not accept them as a result, so you should invest in a course that will put you in the best possible position to get work!
Check out our entire list of TEFL jobs and get started on your TEFL career right away