Today’s question comes from someone on ESL Saigon YouTube channel. The question is:
Hi Dan, Your English is good but I thought that most schools only hire native English speakers from US, Canada, UK, Australia or New Zealand. Is that not true? We love HCMC and will be coming there from the US again next week.
The short answer is YES but I will not say “most schools”; I will say “some schools”. Some schools only hire native English speakers from the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, and New Zeeland. This does not mean that non-native speakers of English can’t find an English teaching job.
One possibility to be hired as a non-native speaker of English is to look for a job at some less famous schools in peripheral neighbors. It sounds strange but there are many schools, good schools that are eager to hire you even if you are non-native speaker of English. It is true, the salary is not very high, but it counts as experience for your CV.
The second possibility to find a teaching English job as a non-native speaker of English is to be recommended by a Vietnamese teacher of English. So, you found a teaching job, not very well paid but you met great people who really appreciate your teaching abilities. These teachers are very likely to recommend you to other schools once they have seen your teaching abilities. I had a colleague from Germany who was very popular among students. Everybody liked him!
The third way to find a teaching job as a non-native English speaker is to get hired by a school that needs urgently a teacher of English. Sometimes a school needs a teacher of English and they are ready to hire the first “white skin” person they see around. If you are lucky enough to be around and good enough to keep the job then you can make a carrier there.
Another reason to be hired as a non-native teacher of English is the salary. They are usually paid less than a native speaker of English and in such a competitive market many schools try to reduce costs by hiring non-native speakers of English.
So, most of the schools want to hire only native speakers of English and I don’t blame them. Everybody wants the best for their students but sometimes a non-native speaker of English might be the best teacher.