ARE THERE EFL TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES FOR NON-NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS?

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The debate about native and non-native English teachers has been going on for decades. Initially there was a widespread belief that only native speakers could offer the desired level of teaching, in terms of content knowledge and accent or pronunciation. This was reflected in the job market in that it was difficult for a non-native English teacher to find a job if there were native speakers available.

What was soon discovered though, was that being a native speaker did not necessarily make someone a good teacher. In fact, being a non-native speaker meant that the teacher had actually gone through the exact same process their students were going through, so they were able to understand the needs of the students better. Also, it is clear that many native speakers have accents which are difficult to understand while non-native speakers can be very clear and comprehensible.

What this meant was that the job market evolved and employers are now more likely to offer employment to non-native speakers than they were before. Of course you may still find a few places where there is a blind faith in the abilities of a native speaker, but on the whole there are now a range of opportunities available for non-native speakers. However, it is very necessary to be able to prove both your language skills and your teaching qualifications.

The importance of a good CV and cover letter needs to be mentioned here, though this is just as important for a native speaker. If any correspondence between you and your employer is full of grammatical errors or spelling mistakes it will immediately be clear that you are not suitable for a teaching position. During the interview stage, your employer will be able to better judge your language skills.

In a nutshell, the opportunities for English teaching positions are available to anyone regardless of their language background, if they are suitably qualified and their English is of a high level. You should be able to use any of the usual channels to find a job. If an employer is not willing to hire you on the basis of your home language, chances are you don’t want to work for them anyway!

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