Are you interested in a career in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) but you speak a first language other than English? You may be wondering if there are TEFL opportunities for non-native English speakers like you.
The answer is yes there are! Admittedly, it can sometimes be more challenging to get hired as a foreign teacher abroad because you’ll have to compete with native English speakers for jobs, but with some creativity and perseverance, there are ways it can be done. Here are some tips to help you reach your goal:
1. Use your multi-lingual skills to get an edge on the competition.
As a bilingual teacher, you have a lot to offer. Unlike a teacher who just speaks English, you can comfortably teach classes of total beginners (whether children or adults), since you are able to explain vocabulary and grammar concepts, when necessary, in their native tongue. Can you apply to foreign countries where your native tongue is spoken? Emphasize this when applying!
2. Consider teaching your native language, too.
You can further edge out the competition for jobs abroad by offering to teach classes in your first language in addition to teaching English! From the employer’s point of view, that adds value to their language institute by expanding their course offerings to include Spanish, Japanese, German, etc.
3. Get as qualified as possible.
You may have studied English education in your home country, and that’s a great background. However, having a TEFL certificate that is internationally recognized will add to your credentials and help to get a foot in the door with language schools. Classroom-based certification courses such as the Cambridge CELTA or Bridge IDELT are especially respected, and can show prospective employers you are serious about the profession of teaching English.
4. Spend time in an English-speaking country.
Most employers prefer to hire native English speakers because they possess the American or British accents their students hope to acquire. Therefore, if you can spend six months or longer in an English speaking country, like the United States or England, you’ll have the chance to polish your accent to a near-native level. This will impress employers when you call to inquire about jobs, or when you get to the interview stage of the hiring process.
Are you a non-native speaker looking to get TEFL certified? Check out our popular TEFLOnline.com courses which can be taken from anywhere in the world!