Advice for a non-native TEFL teacher

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Advice for a non-native TEFL teacher

Unread postby sam » 11 Mar 2007, 08:05

Hi there...

Would appreciate some advise on the following:

I am a German native with a degree equivalent to the US Bachelor. I spent the last 7 years doing Sales & Marketing at some of the renowned New York City hotels, and am currently seeking new challenges. At the moment I am in rural Vietnam, working at a beautiful resort, and am thinking about traveling Asia and teaching English (and German if possible) along the way.

Now, the basic question is: Being a non-native English speaker - how difficult will it be to land a job, despite of my good English knowledge and the experience in New York? Without sounding like a snob, I do believe that my English grammar is better than of some native English speakers I've met. Still, the fact is: I am a non-native, and that's the problem.

I am also thinking about getting this on-line TEFL certificate (please see details and link below). Is this going to help or is it just a waste of money?
TEFL Online Diploma ($ 375)
This complete course includes the TEFL Online Course and both the Young Learner and Business English Modules

Where could I fit in best for a teaching job? Institute? School? Private? I even thought about teaching at hotels, because I realize that the majority of guest complaints at Vietnam hotels is caused by poor English of the hotel personnel.

Last but not least: Any countries you think I would fit in best based on my background?

Thanks a lot!
- Sam

Peter Easton
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Unread postby Peter Easton » 11 Mar 2007, 13:26

It depends how strong your accent is.

In China you will be able to get a job in the provinces outside of the big cities like Shanghai or beijing. I know plenty of non-native speakers who do just that.

The advantage of working in a small city (i.e. small by Chinese standards) is that you the cost of living is really low so although your salary will be less than what you would expect in Shanghai, you couldn't spend if you tried.

A TEFL course would help you a lot.

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Unread postby Comenius » 29 Apr 2007, 15:23

As seems to frequently be the case, I'm in agreement with Peter. :)

I've met a number of non-native English teachers in various parts of the world that are doing quite well. The key seems to be that they were all working in areas that where the demand was very high and the supply of teachers was comparatively low.

China very clearly falls into this camp, and would be the first spot I'd choose to explore. Many of the other less developed countries of SE Asia would also likely be good candidates, such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, etc.

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non native speaker teacher

Unread postby cassilda84 » 10 Jun 2007, 23:25

Hi, I have been teaching English for the past 6 years in Mexico, I am not a native speaker, but it seems to work very well for my students because I am very sensible towards my students fears and I really understand which difficulties they might have, since I once passed through the same.
I don't know anything about teaching in China, but I know about being a non-native speaker.
Hope this is useful for you...

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Unread postby ale_blogger » 03 Sep 2007, 15:02

I agree with you cassilda84. Here you can read something in relation to this topic: ... 9s-better/

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Unread postby Kootvela » 20 Oct 2007, 11:05

I am a non-native teacher of English. I spent 6 years (I have a Master's degree) studying English from the core and also how to teach it and that really makes me feel more confident than just being a native speaker without being able to explain why a mistake happened in a sentence just because of the lack of formal training.

What I see to be a problem is that China (especially!) and many other countries pray for native speakers to teach, which means I can not bother to send my application. It is good if such people are qualified but in Lithuania sometimes builders teach English to beginners! That's awful. Students also say they prefer non-native English teachers because they also do prepare for the lessons and not come for a 3 month holiday.

So, head up, you're on the right track. It takes time to work for a reputation BUT then reputation works for you.

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Unread postby Crow » 29 Oct 2007, 03:26

Well...I think I´m in the same situation like Sam but I actually think my case is even worse. I´m from America,specifically from Venezuela and I´m really interested in doing one of those TEFL courses in Europe, Prague could be a good option. As far as I know, non EU citizens are allowed to stay there up to 3 months which is a big inconvenience if you are one of those who want to stay more than that (personally I think 5 months would be good for me).

In terms of paperwork, how difficult is to be legal in Europe for more than three months and how difficult and tedious is to work in Europe legally with a TEFL certificate (being a non EU citizen).

Perhaps a good advantage I have is that I´ve been working as an English teacher in my country for two years now, although I´m not sure if that is enough.

The point is that I do not anyone in my same situation, I´d like to know someone from here who can help me out with this concern.

If you know someone going through the same or somehow identify with me please reply to this comment.

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