Teaching English as a Second Language: Tips for the Non-Native Speaker

Who says you cannot teach English if you are not a native speaker of the language? These days, more and more people have gained expertise in the English language without having been born in English-speaking countries. For example, people in Asia needing to learn English may not have the resources to go to the United States or the United Kingdom to study the language. Instead, they will turn to non-native people like themselves who have mastered the English language well enough to teach it. If you are confident that you have what it takes to teach people the four macro-skills of English as well as the micro skills, here are some tips to help you become more successful in your chosen career path.

Get certified. It is one thing to go back to school and get an Education degree or a master’s degree, but it’s an entirely different thing to get certified to teach English. If you have an Education degree under your belt, you still need to take several exams to prove you eligible to teach English to non-native speakers like yourself. These exams will prove your credibility and allow you to be at par with international standards of the language. The IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is one of the most popular tests for non-native speakers. The test focuses on writing, listening, speaking and reading, and is designed for non-native speakers who are venturing to higher studies, or are going abroad to an English-speaking country to work.

Other exams worth taking are TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), which is specifically designed for teachers like yourself. Also, keep your communication skills updated and sharp by engaging in seminars and workshops, especially those related to principles of learning. This is because some people can use a language well, but have no idea how to teach it. Finally, create a portfolio of your work. You should keep track of related experience. For instance, if you are a regular contributor in the local newspaper, or a freelance DJ on radio, you should include these. This tells your prospective student that you are able to put your communication skills to good use.