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Native vs. non-native?

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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:30 am    Post subject: Native vs. non-native? Reply with quote

If I do not have a passport from an English speaking country, don't have E. as my mother tongue, but still am considered to speak the language excellently (told to me by nat. speakers) + have a CELTA - what are my chances/options for TEFLing abroad?
I certainly agree that I at this point might not be able to teach really advanced students, but I'm sure I could teach beginners up to intermediate at least.
Which approach should I take, as most job offers (also on this site) almost always exclusively request NATIVE sp.
Who has experience with non-natives teaching E. or is teaching E. as a non-native him/herself?
My target countries/regions are:
Thailand/China/Vietnam/Korea/Indonesia - Russia/Romania - Latin America, but in general, I am flexible.
TIA for any ideas!
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Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2003 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you are that Austrian man, currently in the US of A, aren't you? I have met you on Dave's board at least three times by now. You must make up your mind and take the plunge, mate!
I promise you you can do it - but you must not expect any of us here to write out a guarantee! It's how you sell yourself, not who you are, that matters.
Look, here in CHina I often feel many native speakers are eminently unsuited to the jobs at hand. You must know what you are capable of, not what you are not. Most of these natives have no clue what learning a second tongue is all about, and they have little respect for teachers themselves.
You might feel most comforttable with adults here rather than with primary school kids! Why - adults are the only people who decide what they want. Primary school kids are difficult to control because they go to school which is an experience they resent. The only kids that are happy at school are preschoolers - so long as teaching is done in an enlightened way!
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Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 5:08 am    Post subject: Do You Have a Degree? Reply with quote

Fidelito mentions the fact he has a CELTA,but does not mention in his post whether he has a degree or not.If he does not have a degree,he might very well find himself more handicapped by that fact than by the fact that he is not a native speaker.Some of the places he expresses an interest in,eg, Korea require a degree to get the work permit in order to teach legally.The CELTA does not really substitute for having a degree.It is only the frosting on the cake,and there are some people who would argue that it is very thin frosting.Some people swear by the things.At any rate,he is going to need a degree to really be competitive in this field....and outside of TESOL ,also.Other than that,if he DOES have a degree,it is possilbe to get a job even if he is not a native speaker.I would not worry too much about all of those job ads stating that they require a native speaker anyway.Some employers probably do not know a native speaker from a canteloupe,as long as one LOOKS THE PART(and can speak English,of course).But if one doesn't have that degree,I think that person is going to run into problems,sooner or later,probably sooner.Good luck. Smile
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Roger,
hi bnix

Roger, I am sorry if tripping over posts of mine 3 times might have annoyed you. I have been monitoring this board for almost a year now and have gotten valuable info from other members, visitors etc.
I certainly agree with you about having to take the plunge. I would or would have already but am tied to staying here (BTW I am currently in Austria) as I work freelance, have an office and it will take me until later this year to finish my jobs, close my office, etc.
In the meantime I am getting prepared, which means getting my CELTA, as this is the least I can do to both learn about TEFL and get some kind of proof about being serious about this career shift.
The other thing is preparing to get my degree, which answers bnix' point, but this will take some 3 years, as I've just started for the MEd with the Open University in England.
Last year someone on this board recommended a school to me in Northern Thailand, I went there in Dec. and they said that I could start working for them in April 2004, which would be ok with me. October 2003 would have been ideal but that is in the middle of their school year and they would rather not swop teachers. So if this works out I'll be set for my first year, but in case it doesn't I am trying to see wherelse my chances lie. I assume as with every new field the first job is the toughest - kind of at least.
After Thailand I took part as a volunteer teacher at a winter language camp in Russia, just to see how I would enjoy working with kids and test the waters of teaching a little. And after the CELTA I want to do the YL extension. So I guess I've been plunging as much as I can at this point Wink
The native vs. non-native is I admit a worry, as it is sth that cannot be changed, the degree part can, even it takes time, but until then I might have to stick to countries and jobs which do not require a degree.
ok, I do not want to go on forever, I just want(ed) to let you know that whatever suggestions and comments you have I certainly look at consciously and actual action is not that far away!

P.S. I certainly do not overestimate the CELTA and agree that it doesn't substitute a degree, however a degree seems to satisfy more any working permit regulations than the requirements of schools, the CELTA at least gives you some valuable insight on teaching and might be a good basis for starting off.
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Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 11:09 am    Post subject: do it Reply with quote

Just go and do it ! I am sure that you will much better than most native speakers who understand nothing of foreign language pedagogy. If anyone queries your native speaker status tell them your mum came from Arkansas.
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