Are you a non-native English speaker? Or maybe you don’t live in the US, UK, Canada or Australia- can you really get a job teaching English online? I often get this question from readers of this blog and today this post is going to answer this question. You’ll also get some helpful tips to help you get a job if you’re a non-native English speaking teacher!
Although I’m a native English speaker I can tell you that I personally know of many teachers teaching English who aren’t native speakers. When I was working for an English academy in Spain, many of my co-workers were from Poland and Spain.
When it comes to working as a teacher online, I know of some friends who worked as teachers from places like the Netherlands. So even though all these teachers aren’t native speakers they were able to successfully work as English teachers.
So what does this mean?
Well, it means that yes it’s possible to be a non-native speaker and teach English!
“But, you’re making it sound easier than it is” you might be thinking.
Let’s talk about some things you should do to improve your chances of getting hired.
Getting hired as a non-native speaker
The biggest concern with schools is that they want to know that you’ll be a good teacher. If you aren’t a native speaker, having experience is what will be your advantage. The more experience you have the easier it will be for you to stand out.
“How can I get experience if no one will hire me?”
You’ll need to get experience volunteering. You may need to work as a volunteer for a few months – this can be done abroad or in your local community. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to choose volunteer opportunities that will be relevant to the job you want.
For example, having experience working with elementary students in after school programs will not prove your experience if you’re applying to work as a teacher teaching business professionals. And vice versa.
Another way to get experience is to apply for a lower-paying job. Often companies offering lower pay have easier hiring requirements. You can work for the company for a couple of months and you’ll still get paid. After a couple of months, you can apply to a higher paying job opportunity, having relevant experience!
One of your most useful tools may be to network like crazy. Often your contacts may be useful in helping you get started teaching. For example, if you want to live abroad, move to the country you want to teach in and make connections with those already teaching English. They may be able to recommend you as jobs become available.
The same can be true if you want to teach online. Get to know others who are already teaching online. Also, be open to teaching on your own. For example, if people know that you teach English, they may know someone who wants to learn.
I often have people ask me for personal lessons and most of the time I don’t have time to take them on as students. I often recommend them to other teachers. So get to know other teachers and let your contacts know that you’re looking for new students. This can be a good way for you to find students.
Take the TOEFL or IELT
What is TOEFL or IELT? These are standardized language tests that prove your grasp of a language. These are accredited tests that are well recognized in the ESL industry. If you can get a score that proves your fluency, you’ll be able to use this to qualify you for any teaching position.
Get TEFL certified
This is especially useful when you aren’t a native speaker. This helps your potential employer to know that you are qualified to teach English to others. It will also help you to get a higher paying job as well. If you need to get your TEFL, read about our recommended TEFL provider here.
Request a Skype Interview or Send a video resume
This is a great idea because it gives your potential employers a chance to hear you speak. This is the best way to prove your skills as an English speaker. This may remove any barriers that the potential employer may have when just looking at your resume.
I think that often non-native speakers can have an advantage in teaching. Often non-native speakers may better understand how to explain English grammar and may understand the mistakes their students make.
If you’re looking for online work as an English teacher, here are a few places to help you with your job search!
These companies are hiring!
Here are a few companies hiring non-native English speaking teachers:
This Japan-based school hires native and non-native speakers. They provide lessons for teachers as well. Pay starts $16 up to $20/ hour. School offers other languages to students such as Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian etc.
This is an advanced online English school that uses a Virtual Classroom that can be used on both Smartphones and desktops. Although degree and experience are a requirement it’s not necessary. Pay starts $16 up to $20/ hour.
This cool company is looking for language teachers to teach language all over the world using just a mobile app. Work anywhere anytime you want. So convenient.
This company hires both native and non-native speakers. Teachers teach on a fixed schedule. It means guaranteed hours and guaranteed pay. If a student is absent or doesn’t show up you’ll still get paid. They also offer flexible pay. It’s a way to add more to your regular income. Pay starts $17 up to $20 /hour for native speakers. Non-native speakers have a different pay rate.
This is a language school that teaches English, Mandarin, Spanish, German and French. And hires both native and non-native speakers. But, they require teaching experience. They pay up to $35/ hour.
This Manila-based company is looking for tutors and professional teachers. Beginners can get paid from $4 up to $5/ hour, Experienced instructors start from $8 to $10/ hour. While professional teachers start from $12 to $15/ hour.
I know it’s not as easy to find a job teaching as a non-native English speaker but you can definitely do it! If you’re confident in your use of the English language, there are still plenty of places that could use your skills.
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So if you are a non-native English teacher, what tips can you add? Comment below!