Three Tips, Two Blogs And A Handful Of Insight For Non-Native Speaker ESL Teachers

I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of non-native speaker teachers: one of my CELTA trainers, a later Director of Studies, and a number of co-workers (some who were also foreigners like me, just not native English speakers). In many cases, and in my humble opinion, their teaching skills seem to be greater than or equal to those of many native speaker teachers I’ve worked with.

Of course teaching skill is related to training, practice, and personal ability, and not one’s native language. But non-native speaker ESL teachers often face difficulties when finding work, as do those who are for all intents and purposes native speakers but have family roots in a country which is not English-speaking. Despite their skills and qualifications, they may run into employers who are hesitant to hire someone who is not fresh off the “native speaker boat.”

I worked with one kids’ teacher who had spent several years in the UK, but was from the country we were working in. Her initial plan was not to tell the students her name… this way, they wouldn’t realize that she was from there and spoke their language. I’m certainly an advocate of pulling out all the stops when teaching children, and so could sympathize, but it did not seem a very sustainable solution.

Instead of changing your name, or inventing an alias for your students, check out some tips from Hilal’s ESL Base blog. Hilal is a recent CELTA graduate working in Istanbul; you might also remember her from her TEFL Logue interview in March. Ole, an ESL teacher from Norway working in Costa Rica also shared some thoughts on teaching his second language recently at Costa Rica Classroom blog.

Thanks to these teachers for sharing their tips and experiences on their blogs – if any readers have more, let me know here!