Advice on how to get a job- not a "native" English speaker

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Advice on how to get a job- not a "native" English speaker

Unread postby July27 » 08 May 2008, 11:09

I'm a 27 year old black South African and have just finished a hectic 3-month long TEFL course. I've been noticing the adverts looking for "native speakers", which I feel I cannot apply for because, although I come from SA and have 1st language English speaker proficiency, I am black and brown-eyed.

I must admit, before registering for the TEFL course I didn't do my research as well as I should have. I assumed that the TEFL/ESL employment environment would work just like any other corporate recruitment environment!

I was wrong!

I have a Diploma in Marketing, a 3-year qualification, which I completed with the University of Johannesburg. A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Commerce degree with the same institution also takes 3 year to complete.
The difference is that Diplomas are less theory based and actually require that you get about 3 months work experience before your graduate.
I am currently studying for a BA Communication Science degree part-time.
I have been working in the financial services/investments industry doing PR/Marketing/Corporate Affairs since I was 20 years old, with some of the most reputable institutions in SA. When I was 19 I tutored first year students
for 6 months in Business Communication English.

I thought my track record would count for something but it counts for nothing!! Again I blame my lack of research.

When I started appyling for TEFL jobs I got the shock of my life when I realised that my diploma, current studies, work experience and the TELF certificate mean nothing. I was even more shocked to realise that most jobs don't even require any form of TEFL training - you qualify just for being a "native speaker" (and in most cases, white) and for having a piece of paper that says "degree"... in any discipline.

I decided to go the TEFL route because I need a break from the corporate world and also because I want to do a bit of travelling. The fact that I'll be taking a huge pay-cut (earn about a third of what I currently earn in the corporate world) doesn't bother me. My student loans are long paid off!
All I want is to experience new things/cultures, be challenged and see the world. TEFL is the obvious means of doing this because I actually enjoyed the 6 months of tutoring that I did many years ago.

I'm a bit disappointed but I'm sure I'll find something.

Any advice on how to go about finding a job?
July27
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Re: Advice on how to get a job- not a "native" English speaker

Unread postby jasminade » 24 May 2008, 08:10

July27 wrote:I'm a 27 year old black South African and have just finished a hectic 3-month long TEFL course. I've been noticing the adverts looking for "native speakers", which I feel I cannot apply for because, although I come from SA and have 1st language English speaker proficiency, I am black and brown-eyed.

I must admit, before registering for the TEFL course I didn't do my research as well as I should have. I assumed that the TEFL/ESL employment environment would work just like any other corporate recruitment environment!

I was wrong!

I have a Diploma in Marketing, a 3-year qualification, which I completed with the University of Johannesburg. A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Commerce degree with the same institution also takes 3 year to complete.
The difference is that Diplomas are less theory based and actually require that you get about 3 months work experience before your graduate.
I am currently studying for a BA Communication Science degree part-time.
I have been working in the financial services/investments industry doing PR/Marketing/Corporate Affairs since I was 20 years old, with some of the most reputable institutions in SA. When I was 19 I tutored first year students
for 6 months in Business Communication English.

I thought my track record would count for something but it counts for nothing!! Again I blame my lack of research.

When I started appyling for TEFL jobs I got the shock of my life when I realised that my diploma, current studies, work experience and the TELF certificate mean nothing. I was even more shocked to realise that most jobs don't even require any form of TEFL training - you qualify just for being a "native speaker" (and in most cases, white) and for having a piece of paper that says "degree"... in any discipline.

I decided to go the TEFL route because I need a break from the corporate world and also because I want to do a bit of travelling. The fact that I'll be taking a huge pay-cut (earn about a third of what I currently earn in the corporate world) doesn't bother me. My student loans are long paid off!
All I want is to experience new things/cultures, be challenged and see the world. TEFL is the obvious means of doing this because I actually enjoyed the 6 months of tutoring that I did many years ago.

I'm a bit disappointed but I'm sure I'll find something.

Any advice on how to go about finding a job?


I am so sorry to hear of your circumstances. You sound like a wonderful and highly motivated person who would just be perfect for the classroom!

Firstly, I know a couple of South Africans and their spoken English is excellent! Particularly, in their pronunciation. You should focus on this aspect when dealing with prospective employers. The lovely colour of your skin might be an issue in some countries, but it would be very positive (and intriguing) in others! What you might like to post now is a number of countries/continents that you are particularly interested in. This way some posters might reply and give advice. I am in China and an African man (Nigeria) works in a "middle" school here. Not an issue for the employer, therefore!

Oh yes! Promote your business experience! Get a Business English coursebook and take some of the terminology and throw it at the prospective employers!
jasminade
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Re: Advice on how to get a job- not a "native" English speaker

Unread postby ThomasTopham » 13 Jun 2008, 22:04

I am trying to understand your problem. Are potential employers questioning whether you are a native English speaker? Do you have a funky accent when doing phone interviews? Or is your name distinctly African sounding? Do you make sure you indicate in your CV that English is your native language, the language of your education, etc? I have seen black folks teaching English all over the world, so it is not impossible to find work, especially with your extensive business background - teaching business English is a lucrative and in-demand market.

Just keep plugging away, I am sure eventually you'll find something.
ThomasTopham
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Status: Teacher Trainer

Re: Advice on how to get a job- not a "native" English speaker

Unread postby nazzy » 12 May 2009, 03:37

PM me maybe i can help. am now in china
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Re: Advice on how to get a job- not a "native" English speak

Unread postby JoCheong » 18 May 2010, 22:23

Dear all

I guess I have the same problem as some of the users in this forum on the subject of non-native speaker. In my case, I refer myself as a foreign teacher of English. I have a Level 4 CELTA and have been teaching English to young learners, high school and university students as well as working adults in Turkey. Despite having a CELTA, I was not able to teach in private university or college.

The problem in Turkey is that all if not most of the school administrators are looking for 'white' native speaker. Non-native speakers are not really welcome here. Age is also another factor. My non-British and non-American accent could be another problem.

My question is; would it help if I will to take the DTLLS - Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector and PTLLS - Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector in the UK so that my option for a job in the UK or anywhere in the world would be better?

Thank you.
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Joined: 18 May 2010, 22:01
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