Over the years English has become the international language of business, communications, technology and travel. This global reach means that most people using English around the world are non-native speakers speaking to other non-native speakers (Polish businesspeople speaking to German businesspeople, for example). So sounding like a native speaker is irrelevant to them: they need International English and they want a teacher with good levels of English and teaching skills.
You’ve already learned English, so you can teach English
Another plus is that because you have learned the English language from scratch, you probably understand English grammar on an intellectual level to a much higher level than most of your native counterparts who understand it on a subconscious level having soaked up the language from birth.
And one final part on the back for our non-native speaking friends: being taught by a non-native TEFL teacher can really motivate and inspire your students – if you can learn to speak, write and teach English to such a high level, they can too!
What Are The Challenges of Being a Non-Native TEFLer?
The main challenge that you’ll have is your own worry about being a non-native speaker! But your students know you’re not a native speaker and don’t expect you to be one. You’ve worked hard to learn the language to such a high level, so be confident. All that hard work you’ve put in will help you teach English as a foreign language to your students just as well as a native speaker would.
You may encounter old attitudes from some employers who feel that the native speaker is still the ideal. Don’t worry – there is so much demand for TEFL teachers, you can just choose a different employer. These attitudes are changing rapidly – any good school now is looking for skills, not just someone who is a ‘native-speaker’.
Some countries generally require proof of nationality from an English-speaking country to get a work permit (e.g. Korea). There’s not much you can do about that unfortunately, but these prejudices about what makes a good teacher are changing, and we expect them to disappear in the near future.
Obviously, if you’re going to teach English, your English level has to be very high. If you’re not confident about your English, you’ll need to work on it in a targeted way. Get a detailed diagnosis of your speaking and writing from an expert and work on the areas you need to improve: whether that’s fluency, pronunciation, sentence stress and rhythm, use of articles or tenses – a few more hours effort will open up a world of opportunities.
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Class sizes are limited, so don’t wait, make your reservation today!