The real feel of looking for a teaching job when you’re a non-native English speaker
Life Abroad⏐ Teach English

The real feel of looking for a teaching job when you’re a non-native English speaker

“Hi, teacher, thanks for contacting us. How much is your salary expectation?” the interviewer asked me.


“Twenty dollars an hour; that’s the amount I used to get when I was in Hanoi teaching at a nursery and kindergarten school,” I answered.

“Okay, we’ll get back to you to discuss this teaching opportunity soon!”

“Thanks! Looking forward to working with you!”


He sounded enthusiastic, perhaps thinking that he could finally find someone to teach at his academy. A few moments later, he sent me another message.


“Excuse me, teacher, where are you from?“

“I’m from the Philippines.“


He never replied to me.


I wasn’t bothered by the fact that he didn’t get back to me.No, I didn’t feel bad that he didn’t pursue to interview me or hire me to teach at his academy. I just never stopped wondering why employers would hire only native speakers and not someone from Asia or someone from a non-native speaking country.


Personally, it’s not the first time I was rejected by an employer. Even online, once they learn that I’m from a non-native speaker country, they instantly reject my application.


All my qualifications such as an experience of five years in teaching English and a 120-hour online TESOL Certificate don’t count simply because I’m a non-native speaker. Funny thing is, I’m from a country where English is frequently spoken.


Working as a freelancer, I try to get as many gigs as I can. Although I have an online job for more than 5 years now, I want to have another part time job, either offline or online.


In Hanoi where English teachers are most in demand, the competition is undoubtedly high.


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Despite numerous reasons for not wanting to come back in a city I'm not a big fan of, I had nevertheless one major reason to stay. And that reason is enough for me to live by. Sometimes, all we need is one ☝️ but powerful decision to live our lives. Teaching in Hanoi, or at least doing cover teaching is worth it, it's just that, it's undoubtedly competitive. Regardless, believe in yourself. ❤️❄️🇻🇳❄️ . . . #travel #hanoi #iamtb #wanderer #wanderlust #travelbug #instagram #instadaily #englishcenter #photooftheday #travelblogger #travelwriter #escapesanddiaries #passionpassport #globetrotter #glt #gltlove #winter #english #englishteaching #oldquarter #wheninhanoi #coverteaching #coverteacher #competitive #tripmaximizer

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You can opt for full time or part-time. You can also cover for other teachers. All you have to do is join Facebook groups for hiring English teachers.


For example, when you search Hanoi Massive English Jobs on Facebook, the group will automatically pop up. And you can decide if you want to join the group. I must warn you again, though, competition with native speakers is unbelievable and I will not lie about that.


You’ll get multiple rejections if you’re a non-native speaker, but as long as you’re passionate about this job, for sure, you’ll get an opportunity. Keep searching for that teaching job you really want regardless of your nationality. And to be more realistic, prepare your documents if you really want to stay longer and motivated. For instance, prepare your visa, passport, diploma, certificates, and other related documents.

Just be extra careful about the recruiters who promise to give you high salary and bring you to the countryside. Sometimes, they’re scam.


And here’s another example of rejection from one of my non native friends, Kate Flores who also teaches English abroad! 


“I’ve met Shayne, from Scottland. He has a what-they-call “farmer accent”. He is a high school drop-out, tired of the system in UK, a self-confessed rebel from his family, a night-owl party goer and habitual drinker, plus I don’t want to mention his craving for drugs during his classes but I did. He is a nice guy, yes, but I disagree with the employer when they chose him over ME during our application in a prestigious learning center in Vietnam. 
On the other hand, I am from Philippines, an B. Education graduate with a TEFL certificate and two-years of teaching experience across Asia. I was not accepted to do the teaching job because I am not and would never be a “native speaker” no matter how educated and qualified I am. 
This is Professional Racism. I have heard a lot of stories like mine. Another thing is that it’s not just teaching English where Professional Racism is happening but even in marketing jobs, tourism and medical field. Your salary will depend on your passport – and I think Philippine passport is one of the unfortunates – because it cannot sit with the first class Passports – and ouch. Reality Bites. 
Back to teaching – Shayne now, after years of not seeing him, I’ve heard how he jumps from one learning center to another – because of his unprofessional behaviour and high demands. Well, then, 
he is a native speaker anyway – but who is suffering? Not him. Never. He will leave your center helplessly looking for another teacher – yet he will find another job again because the native speakers are still in the market. 
I don’t have any grudges from native speakers – most of my friends are respectable native speaker teachers around the world – and they are but qualified. But people like Shayne – English centers in Southeast Asia specifically must re-think of how they consider native speakers and nearly-natives. The students, the learning, and the business are suffering. How can our future passport holders compete with the world if – even in the English Language – they know nothing but a “farmer” accent?
Let’s rethink our education system. Do we really want to learn English and be progressive? Or we want to build a country being named as a “sweet escape” from the west. “


Despite the countless rejections I/we received, we’re still glad that we have a job. And I know, more opportunities are coming my way.


Remember: Being a non-native English speaker and the rejections you receive are not hindrances to do the things you’re passionate about. Just know your worth and keep moving forward.


Want to know more about how to get a teaching job abroad? Stay tuned! Posting soon! 

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