For those wondering — and for those not wondering — yes, I am alive. This is my first post in quite some time and comes to you via a cop-out: this isn’t a real post but rather a re-post of something I’ve written for another forum. I don’t usually do this as it is both a tad egotistical and narcissistic, but I feel the end justifies those means in this case, and for that I’m willing to forfeit some dignity. More “real posts” to come soon, and why I’m getting back into writing on a more regular basis, but for now this is an article I wrote for TEFL Equity Advocates, a cause that is close to my heart.
In my time in the English as a Second Language field, I’ve met some incredible teachers, both who speak English natively and who do not. I’ve also seen many very qualified and experienced teachers not be able to find employment based on their first language not being English, an injustice that continues to dominate the industry. It is an inherent notion that the best possible person to teach a lanuage is one who speaks it as their first. However, a more poignant assessment of what classroom objectives are reveals that if a person speaks it, and understands its inner-workings, at a native level — a distinction that is often cast aside — then that individual should be equally qualified.
This viewpoint is not commonly shared on a global scale, unfortunately. The ESL industry, moreso overseas than in North America, is a distinctly prejudicial one in its hiring practices; physical appearances almost always supersede qualifications. As I argue in the article, this is the combination of an industry perpetuating the stereotype that non-native speakers can’t be as good at teaching as native speakers, and students buying into their logic. Continue reading