Boost your confidence as a non-native speaker teacher with these two simple hacks (and get hired!)

In 2011, I applied for a job with a well-known language school in Lisbon.  I had all the right qualifications, the right experience and skills.

Or so I thought.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that I didn’t have the right mother tongue. I wasn’t a ‘native speaker’. So I was politely turned down.

I was shocked. But at the same time completely clueless:

Nobody had told me this might happen.

Nobody had told me what to do if it did happen. That I could and should fight back. And most importantly how I should fight back.

So I might have actually even accepted the situation.

Perhaps because deep down I believed that maybe ‘native speakers’ are indeed better teachers. Which is problem number 1: as ‘non-native speakers’ we frequently lack confidence. We don’t believe in our own ability to teach and speak the language just as well as any ‘native speaker’.

In the last several years I have spoken to literally hundreds ‘non-native’ teachers, many of whom are incredibly proficient. They’ve got all the right qualifications. Yet, many of them somehow still doubt their own abilities.

They worry about having a foreign accent.

They fret over making language mistakes.

Forgetting that being a ‘non-native speaker’ actually carries many advantages for you as a teacher.

Forgetting that as a ‘non-native speaker’ you can be a great professional.

That’s why in this video I will give you two simple hacks that will boost your confidence and help you get hired as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher.


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3 thoughts on “Boost your confidence as a non-native speaker teacher with these two simple hacks (and get hired!)”

  1. Hello there,
    thank you very much for the amazing article and video, however i have a question that concerns teaching English online. Despite having an excellent accent and a good experience in teaching, I feel like I’m always being rejected as a non-native speaker, what’s your take on that and do you have any tips ?
    thank you very much

  2. Hi Marek,
    I find that being MULTI-lingual and MULTI-culturally competent, savvy, aware is a more productive and more comfortable answer than ‘English as a Lingua Franca’. This way, I am not asking anyone else to move out of their native zone of familiarity and concepts. Instead, the workload and responsibility of focusing on empathy, sympathy, comprehension of views and ways of thinking outside my own – these are all on my shoulders. In other words, it is my task to change my mind. So progress is within reach if I work hard, no excuses. Just like Dutch, who often use four main languages exceptionally well, I can aim even higher to make new friends as a polyglot.

    And there isn’t a standard English anyway. It is a composite mountain of dialects and related
    tongues from all over Europe. Why not welcome, recognize, enjoy as many of them as possible?

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