Is it possible to teach English as a non-native speaker?

Education Category: Language
Ages: 16+

There is this certain 'myth' that if you are not a native English speaker, teaching English abroad is almost impossible to do. Let me first say: no, this is absolutely not the case! You are perfectly capable of teaching English as a non-native speaker. However, it can be more difficult to find jobs as a non-native compared to native speakers, but as long as your skills are up to date, nothing is impossible!

What is preferable for a non-native speaker to have is:

  • Being able to speak English proficiently
  • Having a TEFL-certification
  • Having a bachelor's degree
  • Having a talent for teaching

If you can check all of these of the list, you are certainly good to go! If you do have a talent or interest in teaching and are missing one or two, you can make sure that is up to date. If you have all of the above except a TEFL-certification, you might be able to teach English in some countries, however the chances are very slim. Having a TEFL-certification as a non-native speaker makes you stand out, and is sometimes even a requirement. If you don't have one yet, you can follow a course online or at a TEFL institute, so make sure to check what your options are.

If you are feeling a little disheartened, don't worry! There are also a lot of positives being a non-native. One of them is of course that you can relate to the students, you have also stood there once and had to learn the English language from scratch as well. You might have some handy tricks up your sleeve that a native speaker wouldn't have. Another thing that is going to be quite useful is that you are probably able to explain the grammar a lot better, as you had to learn all the rules and therefore should understand why the grammar is the way it is. Native speakers, mostly, never had to deal with this and did the grammar intuitively, which makes it a lot harder for them to explain the grammar to non-natives.

Hopefully it is a bit more clear to you that it is certainly possible to teach English as a non-native speaker. Now you know what is needed to increase your chances of finding a job as an English teacher abroad, good luck!


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