When you go through this post you’d know what I am talking about. It is a common reality. Now I am not calling out anyone but this is literally a strong element in the ESL/EFL job world that has kept the better teachers from getting hired just because they don’t speak like the Hollywood actors! Even worse; the skin color/hair color. Let me give you some funny stories.
A non-native teacher loses in an interview over a ‘native looking’ teacher because he has blonde hair, fair skin. This native speaker apparently has zero knowledge about ESL/EFL teaching. Surprisingly, he looks native but is actually from a country where you have fair skinned people and English is spoken by a few and he miraculously happens to be one of them. He lacks structure in his lesson plans, do not know how to turn grammar rules into task based activities, etc. The school realizes after a semester but did not learn a lesson. Instead, changed their advertisement by saying “TESOL/CELTA certified native speaker”. Wow!
A non-native speaker with a linguistics degree, TESOL certification, and a volunteering experience with the UNESCO in Vietnam applied for a job in a non-native country. The CV looks impressive, and the employer appreciates. However, the employer is not convinced because he wondered how after 6-months of volunteering work with UNESCO, the applicant still didn’t develop an American accent. Funny much?
A non-native born and raised in a native country gets hired in his native country because that convince and comfort the target learners; rather the session becomes a La La Land. However, an applicant with the same credibility is denied the job in his native country because he sounds too “propah” to teach the target learners over there. Make up your mind, may be?
And I can just go on……..
Well of course, there are plenty of success stories. There are non-native teachers who have flourished in their ESL/EFL teaching careers and they are “valuable assets” to the institutions/organizations. But the common thought is as per the cultural acceptance and how close they sound to that of a native played a much important role. It is always about accents over accuracy.
I have a feeling this is changing and changing drastically…..I hope it really does!