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Hi everyone,

I am a non-native English speaker, holder of an Australian and and an EU passport, currently teaching English and Conversation in English at a high school in Slovakia. I have spent 8 years in Australia, done my Masters in IT and recently finished an online 100h TEFL course. This is my second year as an English teacher in Slovakia, which is also my homeland .

I realize that recruiters prefer native speakers. Does anyone have an experience with this? Does anyone know a non native English teacher and what difficulties he/she faces?

I would like to get a job in Thailand or other SE Asian country. Do you have any suggestion on what steps should I take?
 

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Slim

Your chances are not very good. I 've seen some schools---when they could not fill their positions with native speakers because of salary issues---hire Filipinos instead. Their accent bothered some faculty members. Most young students don't know the difference. Check out this website called ajarn dot com (ajarn means teacher/professor), set up by expat teachers. You may learn a lot there. When I (a Thai) was teaching at BKK. U., there were Australian, American, Filipina, Burmese and Thai professors working in the English Dept. But that was a long time ago when there weren't so many native speakers looking for jobs.
Good Luck
Mrs. Soap
 

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Always focus on the positive.

I received my TESOL certificate this past November and have been following the ads for English teachers. It’s true that many specify native speakers and some even list eligible nationalities (GB, US, Canada, Australia (I’m not sure why Australia is on the list. Even English speakers can’t understand a thing they say.)) Your written English is better than that of many native speakers who post on the TESOL message boards. But they may not be teaching in Thailand. Your punctuation and syntax are also good. And you have experience. You even use currently correctly. Most Americans would say presently. Obviously, I can’t comment on your accent.

Often people who learn a language as a adult are more adept in many regards than native speakers. My Thai script is better than that of most natives (because I haven’t yet grown sloppy) and I can keep ร straight from ล, which many Thais can’t seem to manage.

You have advantages over many other job applicants. Will those advantages be sufficient to overcome established norms in a tradition-bound society? Probably not. But is that any excuse to not try?
 

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I have a German friend here in CM that did a TEFL course last summer and got as job teaching at a good school (private Thai) almost straight away - and there is a LOT of competition up here. Its true as said most schools want native English speakers, but there are many who only have English as a second or third language. Philipinos, continental Europeans and Indians especially. The online TEFL may be more of an issue, but as you have teaching experience alrteady, this will likely be overlooked too.

You will not stand much chance in an international school thouigh as these tend to hire from overseas (i.e. not expats living here already) and have a short list of what they call "Native".
 

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Any idea why they prefer overseas candidates?
Many prefer to hire candidates with current/updated western qualifications and/or fresh training/experience in whatever new trend is being pushed in the home country's curriculum. It makes a certain degree of sense, as after 7 years in BKK, I will admit to having lost some of the edge in regards to U.S. curriculum/ outcomes/ methods, etc. It's just harder to stay on top of things while in Thailand, unless you're at one of the handful of top schools in the country (that provide extensive professional development support/travel overseas for additional training, etc). My school does offer some of this, but it isn't a U.S. school, so my 'home curriculum' skills have certainly become somewhat outdated.

That said, as a former Head of Department at one of Bangkok's most academic (but smaller) international schools, I had less problems - in general - with local hires.

We, of course, required degrees in education (or subject specific degrees and 3+ years of teaching experience in a 'similar school setting'... i.e. primary/secondary school, not a language school) and a minimal level of experience.

As to the original query, we did have one German fellow teaching Math/Science. His English was quite good but language instruction was not his area. After about 2 years, he returned to Germany to finish his Ph.D. in the sciences (cannot recall the emphasis).

Anyway, I'm sure that if the OP hunts around a bit, he will find a teaching position. The online Cert.TEFL will probably not be viewed kindly, however. I would actually advise trying to sell the IT teaching abilities and not simply the English language angle. All of the better schools teach their computer classes in English. This could mean the difference between a mere 35,000 baht per month and 60,000+ per month.
 
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