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Non-natives not needed?!
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dominika



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 11:26 am    Post subject: Non-natives not needed?! Reply with quote

Hi there! My name's Dominika and I'm Polish. I've been browsing the job net for some time now and what I sadly realised is that the vast majority of offers is directed to native speakers and EU members. I understand the legal basis of this but could anybody tell me if there are any chances for me to get a teaching position abroad? I would be really gratetful for any sort of tips. I have CELTA, 5 yrs teaching experience, BA in English Philology and used to live and study abroad during my college days. Is there anything I've been missing, except for a Brit/US passport? Wink
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12368
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 11:41 am    Post subject: Native Speakers Only !!!! Reply with quote

I think it varies from place to place.

Here in the Middle East my wife, who is Bulgarian, had terrible problems being recognised as a teacher. She is a graduate in English Philology from Sofia, has native speaker competence, and experience with a wide range of levels and abilities. But many schools preferred totally unqualified, untrained native speakers. Maybe if she had a UK passport !!!

In the end she decided it was not worth the hassle of trying to prove that she could the job better than the competeitors. One example was a hairdresser from Luton who had left Comprehensive School at the age of 16, and found reading the "Sun" intellectually demanding.

It could be that in other places it is easier. Taiwan ? But I think your passport is what counts !
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1335
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 4:10 pm    Post subject: Non native speaker Reply with quote

There are places where you could teach as a non native. I teach in the Dominican Republic, and they take anyone who has a minimum level of English. However, the pay and conditions are not good.

I have also taught in Guatemala and Honduras and Nicaragua, and I'm sure that you would find work there, with better pay and conditions than the Dominican Republic.

Forget Europe, you would have problems there. And the same goes with Asia.

In Latin America, if you walk into any language school and you look white, you will be offered a job. To most language school owners any "white person" fits the image of being an English Teacher. It's sad, but all white people are basically considered "gringos" here, and it is assumed that all gringos speak English.
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2003 1:35 am    Post subject: Try China if you like adventures... Reply with quote

Dominik,

I live in China and have seen Russians, Dutch, Filippinas, Africans, one Nepalese, one Afghani, as well as Americans of immigrant backgrounds.
Some people make euro 1000 a month, live in rent-free flats. Most make about half, which is still quite reasonable by local standards.
The downside is that teaching here is not intellectually stimulating. You will most likely be doing conversation classes, and they can be a real drag! Kindergartens can be interesting, though, but you have to accommodate a few whimsical ideas from CHinese parents and educationists that may contradict your accepted teaching wisdom.
Anyway, it is a way of life, and some enjoy it, others get burned out quickly. But a year is not a long time. Try anyway!
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Harry Swindells



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 39
Location: Warsaw,Poland

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2003 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Czesc Dominika,

If you have blonde hair and blue eyes and look cute you can get a job with EF in China. I know two Poles who are over there right now teaching. Both are being passed off as native speakers. I wouldn't mind so much if they could actually speak good english but neither of them can. One has CAE and no teaching qualifications. The other has failed FCE twice and has no teaching qualifications.

I'm not so sure why you want to leave Poland. The amount you can buy with a Polish salary is quite a bit better than what you'd get in Spain, France or Germany to give three examples..

Harry
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Hank Scorpio



Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 3:31 am    Post subject: Re: Non-natives not needed?! Reply with quote

Dominika, how well can you adopt a neutral, midwestern American accent? You can definitely find work in Korea as long as your accent isn't too noticeable. It can be a bit more difficult if you don't have the Canadian/midwest American accent, but not impossible; there are a lot of New Zealanders and Aussies here, case in point.

You'll have to look harder, but the schools that will turn you down based on your accent probably aren't the ones you'd want to work for anyway. I personally think it's helpful to introduce people to the different ways that the English language is pronounced, but unfortunately the schools don't see it that way. Anyhow, don't get discouraged by it, just keep plugging away.
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J.B. Clamence



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Native Speakers Only !!!! Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Here in the Middle East my wife, who is Bulgarian, had terrible problems being recognised as a teacher. She is a graduate in English Philology from Sofia, has native speaker competence, and experience with a wide range of levels and abilities. But many schools preferred totally unqualified, untrained native speakers. Maybe if she had a UK passport!


It is frustrating when competent non-native speakers can't get jobs, even though they are fluent and are good teachers. However, schools usually make those decisions based on what the students demand. Generally, students want native speakers. Can you blame them? And can you really blame the schools for catering to those demands?

I've seen a lot of unqualified, bad native-speaking teachers, and they shouldn't be hired regardless. Having said that, there is something to be said for being a native speaker. I've worked with Eastern Europeans who spoke good English, but they just didn't have the kind of natural fluency that a native speaker uses that event fluent foreigners don't have unless they have lived in an English speaking country for many years.

What upset me was how those Eastern Europeans would lie to their students about where they were from: "I'm from London (with a Czech accent)." I'm sorry these people are frustrated because they want to teach English, so much so that they feel the need to lie to their students, but that is just dishonest. The students are paying a lot of money, and if they are being told that they are being taught by a native speaker, then that is what they should get. I don't see anything wrong with non-native speakers teaching ESL, but their students shouldn't be lied to.
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 12:49 am    Post subject: Native speakers and honesty... Reply with quote

So some non-native English lie in order to land themselves a job. And, you feel their fluency leaves some wishes unfulfilled. Your points are noted, yet...
What does it say about our hirers if they can so easily be bamboozled into accepting us as "Londoners" even if we are from Czech? It simply means that our employers are totally incompetent, and thus unable to find the right person for their well-heeled students! Don't blame that on non-native English teachers!
A Czech masquerading as a Londoner at least proves a lot more versatility and cross-cultural knowledge than a monolingual native speaker. He or she is bicultural.
Fluency? Man, any Chinese claass will slow you down (hey, teacher, you are speaking TOO FAST!" More politely: "Can you speak m - o - r - e s - l o - w - l - y , pliiii: - ze!"
It is true, unfortunately, that in some Asian countries native speakers are desired. This coincides conveniently with the desires of many undereducated native Usanians, kiwis and Aussies whose dream it is to backpack around the world and earn their living costs in the countries to be visited. Many of these teachers-at-large subscribe to the faddish notion that their students only need a conversation partner, so there is, in their humble view, no need for a specific training to become English teacher.
The mnyth that English-only teachers are more helpful than local teachers is a myth and one that only the English-speaking world is perpetuating, with the results that we can see anywhere in Asia - certainly no improvement to the English mastery of Asians over the past twenty or so years!
So, if a school principal or private operator of a language institute with their educational background (often as teacher) can't tell a Czech from a Canadian, then why should their students be obliged to get a class B 2 product when, in disguise, they get what they want although it is a class A 1 product???
So much I think is certain: A bilingual teacher has more intuition and intellectual finesse than a monolingual one!
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Ann



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So much I think is certain: A bilingual teacher has more intuition and intellectual finesse than a monolingual one!

Thanks for your vote, Roger! Wink
Seriously, I am all for bilingual teachers because they can understand the problems of language acquisition. Moreover, learning a language is more internalized an experience for them and they can share this with their students helping them to acquire a new set of skills in another language at the same time. (I'm sorry about my sentence construction but its late at night and I just wanted to slip this through).
Anyway, whatever happened to ESL/EFL teachers having to learn a foreign language for a degree/certiicate?
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12368
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 6:04 am    Post subject: Native-speaker EFL teachers Reply with quote

The students may say they WANT a native speaker. Why ? What knowledge do they have about second language acquisition ?

If I were learning Chinese I would prefer to have someone who knew how to teach it and not an untrained native speaker of Chinese.
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J.B. Clamence



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: Native speakers and honesty... Reply with quote

Roger wrote:
What does it say about our hirers if they can so easily be bamboozled into accepting us as "Londoners" even if we are from Czech?


I've never seen hirers bamboozled by this. The bosses at the schools I've worked for knew exactly who they were hiring. If you had read my post, you would have seen that it was the students who were bamboozled. Do you really expect a beginner student to be able to tell the difference? And if they can't, it's their fault? And even if it were the school that was tricked, that's still a problem. So you think that it's ok to lie to your potnetial employer about your qualifications as long as you can get away with it??

Quote:
A Czech masquerading as a Londoner at least proves a lot more versatility and cross-cultural knowledge than a monolingual native speaker. He or she is bicultural.


Not really. The masqueraders that I saw did it very easily: "Where are you from? -- I'm from London -- What's London like? -- It's rainy." The students didn't have any clue about what a Londoner should be or sound like, so how can they figure out that this Czech has never even been to London? In a group of foreigners who don't know English very well, I could probably get away with masquerading as any one of over several dozen nationalities--not hard to do at all.

Just to clarify: I NEVER said that all native speakers are better qualified than non-native teachers. The point of my post was not to say that one group was better than the other. My point was that it is dishonest for a teacher to lie to their students about their qualifications. Maybe you think it is foolish for the students to demand native speaking teachers. Maybe you're right, but it's their money, so it's their decision, isn't it??

Quote:
So, if a school principal or private operator of a language institute with their educational background (often as teacher) can't tell a Czech from a Canadian, then why should their students be obliged to get a class B 2 product when, in disguise, they get what they want although it is a class A 1 product???


Because it's their decision what they get, not yours. Even if they want a product which you consider to be inferior, isn't that their choice? So instead of trying to convince them of the superiority of the other product, you think it's acceptable to con them into getting the other one when it's clearly not what they wanted?

Quote:
So much I think is certain: A bilingual teacher has more intuition and intellectual finesse than a monolingual one!


I completely agree. However, I'm not sure what this has to do with the rest of your post because native English speakers can be bilingual just as easily as non-natives.
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 8:45 am    Post subject: The Product Reply with quote

So what you do in the classroom is "a product". Like in Burgerking ?

Beg to differ. Education is not about a product in the institution where I teach.
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Stephen



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Swindells wrote:
Both (Poles) are being passed off as native speakers. I wouldn't mind so much if they could actually speak good english but neither of them can. One has CAE and no teaching qualifications.


CAE is regarded by many English speaking country based universities as an exam that demonstrates a sufficient level of English for entry to graduate programs, so unless the non-native speaker is dealing with higher level students it should be a sufficient level of English.

Harry Swindells wrote:
The other has failed FCE twice and has no teaching qualifications.


On this person's English level, I quite agree that it is not good enough to teach, as I do that they should have teaching qualifications.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 1:36 pm    Post subject: non-native teachers Reply with quote

It all depends on where you want to work.

Last edited by Bindair Dundat on Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To J.B. Clamence,

I can't disagree with your reasoning and I do believe your points were made in good faith. Let me clarify, though, that the situation that I have grown used to here in China is characterised by exactly what I described - principals and colleagues who can't distinguish between any two English variants, and who routinely get lost in conversations with native English speakers, notably from Australia or some southern US state!
Students too have the wrong expectation due to conditioning of their minds by the media and by adverts.
In fact, some students get brainwashed into saying "I want to learn American English!" or "I want to speak like Bill Clinton!" Let us not take issue with the fact that the USA may or may not be the country where some of them will eventually go to study. English is an instrument, and a neutral version is preferable to any national one. That is my credo, and I don't mind if students pick up the intonation and accent of a Hollywood star. What's at stake here is whether it is realistic for the majority of Chinese to mimick a genuine American style.
My second employer 6 years ago printed name-cards for me which claimed I was a "professor" working at my boss' private language institute. Surely, you agree such boasts are not unusual in this business in Asia? This was so ludicrous as "Professor Roger" had to hand-wash his laundry, owned neither a fridge nor an aircon!
Yet, my boss even went further, asking me "to learn American English because that is what my customers want..."

While I hail from a country where the customer normally is king I don't take this attitude to the extreme of accommodating outlandish whims! Especially Chinese students need a COMPETENT English instructor, not necessarily a face of a given nationality!
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