Why I wish I was a Non-Native English Speaker by James Taylor

James Taylor is a British English teacher in Costa Rico. TEFL Equity Advocates is a blog created “to speak out against the discrimination of non-native English speaker teachers (NNESTs) in TEFL/TESL industry.” How many times have we seen schools (even our own) post ads for native English speakers (NESTs) only? How fair is that to those in the ELT profession who are non-native speakers (NNESTs) but excellent teachers? In this post from last year, James writes about just this issue.

TEFL Equity Advocates

I’m thrilled that James Taylor agreed to write a guest post for us 🙂 I met James in Costa Rica and we worked in the same school for a while. He talked me into starting blogging and gave some invaluable advice on it, as well as on teaching freelance. Here’s what he says about himself:

Originally from Brighton, UK, I have taught English as a foreign language to adults in Brazil, South Korea and Belgium. Currently based in San Jose, Costa Rica, I teach adults at Centro Cultural Britanico. I am the current President and a co-founder of BELTA, the Belgian English Language Teachers Association. You can also find me moderating #ELTchat, a weekly discussion on Twitter with teachers from around the world, presenting the #ELTchat podcast, mentoring teachers for iTDi, blogging and taking photographs. You can read my blog here.

So without much further ado, let’s find out…

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5 Responses to Why I wish I was a Non-Native English Speaker by James Taylor

  1. Thanks for reblogging this post. What are the employment prospects like for nNESTs in Slovakia?

    • It’s a great post, Marek. Thanks for writing it.
      The prospects for nNESTs here are quite good in language schools and such. There are also some primary schools that hire nNESTs from outside Europe to teach English (although their qualifications are questionable at best). Secondary schools rarely hire nNESTs. But there are still the ads for NESTs only. And there are many of them.

      • Thanks for replying. Why do you think are there so many ads for NESTs only? What could be done to reduce their numbers?

      • got one this morning: Elementary school in Ostrava / Brno area is looking for a full time English teacher, native speaker, to teach 15 to 20 lessons a week. Full time contract (trvaly pracovny pomer), April, May, June. 45 000 CZK gross per month. Accommodation included.
        I believe better teacher training at universities and improving the quality of nNESTs’ English overall would solve this problem. If nNESTs were truly proficient in English (at least C1), there would be no reason to prefer a NEST other than having someone from a different culture in the classroom.

      • Very good point. Did you know, though, that such ads are illegal in the EU? I wrote about this here: http://teflequityadvocates.com/2014/04/01/native-speakers-only-ads-and-eu-law/ Perhaps we could inform the employer and ask them to phrase the ad differently, i.e using proficient speaker instead, a) to avoid breaking the law and b) to give proficient and qualified nNESTs equal opportunities. What do you think?

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