TEFL Jobs for Non-Native Speakers
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There are a number of misconceptions about teaching English as a foreign language abroad, which we’d like to take a minute to debunk right now:
MYTH: You need to speak the local language
MYTH: You can’t teach without a degree
MYTH: You only teach children
But today let’s look at one in more detail:
MYTH: Non-native English speakers can’t get TEFL jobs
Who is considered a non-native speaker?
First of all, let’s get one thing clear. Who is considered a non-native speaker of English? Native English speakers are citizens of the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Even if English is spoken as the primary language in your country but it is not on this list (such as The Philippines, India) you will be considered a non-native speaker.
Can non-native English speakers teach English as a foreign language?
Make no mistake, a solid knowledge of the English language and a high level of fluency is needed to be able to teach English, but it is not a requirement to be a native speaker.
Let’s say that again: it’s not a requirement to be a native English speaker to be a TEFL teacher.
There is no reason a non-native speaker can’t have the same language knowledge and the same teaching capabilities as a native speaker – just as there is no guarantee that if you are a native English speaker you will be able to teach someone to speak the language.
As an added bonus, because you’ve learned the language as a second or a foreign language, you know exactly what EFL learners are going through. This will give you a level of empathy and understanding for your students which native-speaking teachers can never have. You can be a role model for your students and an example of a successful language learner.
However, because there are sadly still TEFL employers who prefer native speakers, if you are a non-native English speaker and you would like to be a TEFL teacher, you will need to show that you have near-native fluency, which means at least a C1 level of English. During the interview, your employer will also take into account your accent, but this is customary with any TEFL applicants – an accent is not a problem as long as you speak clearly and intelligibly.
TEFL jobs for non-native speakers
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at the different options for non-native speakers.
In theory, TEFL teachers should be eligible for any job, regardless of their first language. Sadly, this is not always the case as there are some companies that require you to be a native speaker and some countries which have restrictions on non-native speakers. But don’t freak out, there are also loads of jobs for you whether you speak Italian, Thai, Portuguese, or Afrikaans.
Face-to-face teaching jobs for non-native speakers
We must first just say that there are a few countries that won’t issue a work visa to teachers unless you are a native English speaker. This will be made very clear in job advertisements and if that’s the case, don’t waste your time applying for those jobs – those are government regulations.
And there are tons of other places where you can get a teaching permit.
If you are an EU citizen, you should have no problem finding a job in other EU countries and in Eastern Europe. If you are not an EU citizen you will find it difficult finding a job in Europe but this is an issue for any teachers because of visa regulations. The one exception is Turkey, which is more than happy to offer jobs to non-native speakers and it does not have the same strict visa rules.
Some countries in Asia are generally welcoming to non-native speakers, regardless of nationality. Thailand and Cambodia are good choices, while Japan, South Korea and China are stricter. However, if you went to an English-medium school for twelve years and did a degree in English, then you’ll qualify to apply for jobs in these countries, but the rules are very strict.
Central and South America
Central and South America are other good options as most countries will have good opportunities and do not differentiate between native and non-native speakers. Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil are all popular options.
So your biggest problem is going to be choosing where you want to work!
Online teaching jobs for non-native speakers
Then there is always the possibility of teaching English online. Here are a few companies who are happily hiring non-native speakers to teach English as a foreign language online, as well as their application requirements:
You need a C1 level of English, a degree, a TEFL certificate, and be legally allowed to work in the US or Canada. Experience teaching Young Learners or teens online is preferable but not essential.
All you need is availability between 6 am to 8 am EST at least 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. A degree and/or TEFL certificate is preferred but not essential.
You should have a degree or currently be studying towards a degree. Experience is preferable but not essential.
No degree, TEFL certificate or experience required!
You must be at least 18 years of age.
No degree, TEFL certificate, or experience is required as it acts as a database for teachers so while these will make you more attractive to students they are not essential. Simply sign up, record an introductory video, set your rate, and wait for the students to book you.
Top tips for applying for TEFL jobs as a non-English speaker
Finally, we want to leave you with a few tips and tricks which might make your job search a bit easier.
- Proofread your CV. Make sure there is not a single language error on your CV and cover letter.
- Be clear. Highlight your language achievements and your teaching experience and qualifications.
- Be confident. Employers like to see confident teachers and showing your nerves is not going to help you.
- Network. Build up a network of connections in EFL who can vouch for you and your skills and who might one day have a job for you.
- Don’t give up. Finding a job can be tough for anyone. If you can’t find a job, don’t assume it’s because of your language skills – have faith in yourself and keep looking.
Being a non-native English-speaking TEFL teacher means you may have a few more hurdles to jump over than a native speaker. But don’t let that deter you from finding the job of your dreams. With a TEFL course under your belt, you are ready to handle whatever any EFL classroom will throw at you!
TTA alumni teaching abroad
Just look at Caro. She’s from Argentina and speaks Spanish as her first language. She is now teaching in Thailand, and this is what she had to say:
“While I was in New Zealand, after more than four years of working with kids (together with other jobs), and after giving it a long thought, I decided to become a TEFL teacher. During all my years traveling, I heard lots of people talking about being an English teacher and traveling the world, but all of them were native speakers (from England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), so I didn’t think I could make that career path possible for myself being a non-native speaker, but I decided to give it a chance. Anyways, I wouldn’t lose much by trying, right? So I did my TEFL course in Auckland, New Zealand and until today it was, by far, the best decision I’ve ever made. Now, I’m into my second year contract in a language school in Thailand, and I’m loving every second of it.”
And then there’s Rihards, from Latvia, now teaching in China:
“It all began at the start of September when I was looking for TEFL courses to gain my TEFL certificate so that I would then have a qualification to teach English in China. As a non- native speaker, I needed all the help that I could get because recently they changed the rules making it harder for non-native English speakers to obtain the Z work visa.
After graduating from The TEFL Academy in November, my search for a TEFL job began. I didn’t need to look far, fortunately for me The TEFL Academy provides a good amount of job advertisements on their website. I chose to work in China, as it was the first country in Asia that I wanted to start teaching English. So, I began sending my CV and cover letter to employers. To my surprise, the next day I had already lined up seven interviews for potential job opportunities. So, after going back and forth with potential employers, I selected my new job location, which was in the middle of China.
On 1 March, it was time to start teaching young children in my kindergarten. I had no prior experience in teaching, but thanks to The TEFL Academy’s TEFL course, I had confidence. I can truly say that I got this great job thanks to The TEFL Academy’s excellent TEFL jobs board. I am confident on finishing my 1.5-year contract and maybe even staying on in China. I would strongly suggest to anybody who wants to do something new and interesting, China is a great place to start.”
Convinced? Check out our TEFL courses and start your journey to find a TEFL job for a non-native English speaker today!
The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.
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Name of course Description Online Level 5 TEFL Course 168-hour Online Level 5 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Online Level 3 TEFL Course 120-hour Online Level 3 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Top-Up Courses 30-hour Online Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English and Teaching Online & 1:1 Courses 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours of webinar teaching practice course (Learn about classroom management and Q&A with a TEFL expert) Observed Teaching Practice Course 40-hour observed teaching practice course
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- We are ELEARNING FUTURES LTD (trading as The TEFL Academy) a company registered in the United Kingdom.
Registered company number 13725845, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL.
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Name of course Duration Combined Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 3 TEFL Course 6 months 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours Top-up courses 6 weeks Observed Teaching Practice Course 2 years
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Name of course Price Combined Level 5 TEFL Course $ Online Level 5 TEFL Course $573 Online Level 3 TEFL Course $348 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course $220 Top-up courses $195 Observed Teaching Practice Course $275
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- The TEFL Academy offers a guaranteed pass, or your money back guarantee. You can retake the exams as many times as needed in order to pass. If you fail to achieve a pass on any assignments after your third attempt we will provide you with a full refund. A full refund will not be provided in accordance with clauses 11.4 & 11.5.
- Native speakers of English will typically be above the minimum standard of English for this course.
- Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced), as a minimum to commence the course.
Students may test their English level here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/content.
- Students found not to have a C1 level of English will likely fail the course and not complete the
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customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or write to us at [email protected] or The TEFL Academy, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL, United Kingdom.
- If your complaint is not dealt to your satisfaction with you may make a complaint to the course accrediting
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students, staff and external organisations. Disruptive or antisocial behaviour could result in being asked to
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- Any student who fails or is removed from the course by failing to meet the academic standards or through being
found guilty of plagiarism will be removed immediately from the course without refund.
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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- create a profile about you to better understand you as a customer and tailor the communications we send you (including our marketing messages);
- tell you about other products and services you might be interested in;
- try to identify products and services you’re interested in; and
We use the following for marketing and to identify the products and services you’re interested in.
- Your contact details. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.
- Information from cookies and tags placed on your connected devices.
- Information from other organisations such as aggregated demographic data and publicly available sources like the electoral roll and business directories.
- Details of the products and services you’ve bought and how you use them.
We’ll send you information (about the products and services we provide) by phone, post, email, text message, online banner advertising. We also use the information we have about you to personalise these messages wherever we can as we believe it is important to make them relevant to you. We do this because we have a legitimate business interest in keeping you up to date with our products and services. We also check that you are happy for us to send you marketing messages before we do so. In each message we send, you also have the option to opt-out.
We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.