Can You Teach English If You’re a Non-native Speaker?

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The short answer is YES! You can teach English even if you are a non-native speaker.

If you know English, have a TEFL certificate, have a passion for teaching and energy, then you can do it! However, we should also warn you that there are more things you need to do to secure a job and show that you know English. Non-native speakers may face more challenges if they want to teach in the country whose language they don’t know in comparison to native English speakers, just because there is so much stigma around who can speak English and who doesn’t.

Non-native speakers should realize that there is a slight possibility that some companies will not take them. Thankfully, this is changing, as more and more companies realise the quality of a teacher is not dependent on their first language. With good preparation and studying, there is not going to be a difference between a good native teacher and a non-native one, but unfortunately, while some companies stray away from this stereotype, others persist in hiring only teachers from English-speaking countries.

Chinese teacher of English

Teach English in your country

However, this does not mean that you should give up on being an English teacher. First of all, you can always teach in your country, or the country whose language you speak. It is really helpful to be able to understand students, especially kids, because they cannot always communicate with you in English.

Moreover, you may better understand the troubles the students face learning English because you also had a similar experience. That knowledge is very important in dealing with students who are having trouble lbeing brave enough to speak another language. Understanding their fears and challenges will help you to work through those difficulties with them.

Additionally, if you teach in your country, you know the mentality, the culture and the values of your students. It is easier to find commonalities with them and build good rapport in your classroom. You will not need to face cultural differences or culture shock as you would encounter in another country.

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Our top tips for non-native speakers

  • If you are set on teaching abroad, you need to learn to market yourself to employers. You need to make them understand why you are special and how your bilingualism will benefit them if you become their teacher. Be specific and always look for something that the employer can gain from hiring you.
  • Be clear about your TEFL qualification. Make sure you choose to do a TEFL course which is accredited and internationally recognised.
  • Make sure your English is perfect in your application letter and on your CV. Remember, first impressions count!

Good luck!

Read more: TEFL Opportunities for Non-Native Speakers

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