Being a NON-native TEFL teacher!

Hi, everyone! So today I’m writing about a very important subject for me and many others in the education field! I’m a TEFL teacher, certified by Trinity College of London and with a degree in Education from the University of Porto and University of Limerick. Sounds alright, right? Wrong! Let me explain.

When working in the world of languages, most people still believe it is best to *only* hire teachers who are native! I do understand the advantages of this. Obviously. But does it mean a native teacher is better than a non-native? No. My mother tongue is Portuguese. Would I be a great Portuguese teacher? Hell no! I have no idea how to explain the Portuguese grammar or vocabulary to anyone! Even if I’ve studied it, which I have for a full year in uni, I’m still not capable of fully helping and teaching a foreigner to learn Portuguese. And I am native. Yes. So are natives better at teaching?

I hope your answer was no by now. I’ve spent years training and learning to become the teacher I am right now. I’ve had years of experience too! (7 to be precise!) But still, many employers will NOT hire me because I am not native.


Yes. That’s the truth. They still won’t. They will privilege natives, who have no idea what a schwa is or even what and adverb is over someone who has studied all this and more and is actually very capable of explaining it in a VERY simple way to students. Do students need to know what an adverb is to be able to speak? Not at all! And I wouldn’t even teach them that, however it becomes easier when they start asking themselves ‘but why do use place this word here or not at the end of the sentence?’ or ‘why is there an order to adjectives placement?!’. Yes, it’s easier to explain using terminology, but also experience. Natives get experience too, of course. But when it comes to knowledge and teaching methods, wouldn’t you prefer someone who knows how to explain everything to you?


And yes, natives have the culture and the life experiences and the knowledge of living in an English or any other language speaking country. And that is absolutely fantastic! But should we ALWAYS prioritise natives just because of the place in where they were born? Let me know what you think in the comments, please! This is a very hot topic for sure, so please respect each other’s opinions.

Happy Friday, catreaders!

Chat away!