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How to Teach English if You Aren't a Native Speaker

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So you just finished studying English, and there is an opening to teach it. You will have to take extra care as a non-native speaker, but you can still be an amazing teacher. English teachers are in demand these days, and you might like to try one of the most rewarding activities, teaching.

  • Get a certification. It's true that you know English, but a certification can back you up. Ask around and see what certification tests are available in your country. CAE, TOEFL, ECPE, IETLS are some names to look for. Get the highest score you can.
  • Get a teaching certificate. Knowing English is a must to teach it, but having a certification is essential. Check the requirements for English teachers in your country to see what certificate you need.
  • Don't worry about being a non-native speaker. While being a native speaker might provide your students a taste of "real" English in class, having learned English consciously gives you a better understanding of grammar rules and the difficulties facing your students.
  • Enroll in a training course. Whether you are a native speaker or not, get some training before starting a class. Learn the skills you need to manage a class and the methodology you need to plan your course in advance. That way, you'll feel more confident about your skills.
  • Provide real English in class. The teacher is an invaluable source of natural English for their students, but since you're not a native speaker, try to provide other sources like video, conversations, etc. Look for material that gives your students the chance to get to know real English.
  • Create a student-centered class. This approach will give your students the opportunity to talk, and become better while you talk less.
  • Get in touch with other teachers like you. This will give you support and help you to become better through interaction and exchange of ideas.


  • Be confident about your teaching skills. Most of the time, people relate your English teaching to your English level. While having a good grasp of English can help you in class, having a good understanding of how to teach English is a must to provide a good product.
  • Be aware of the certificate you have. If you plan to teach in Europe, look for the CAE certificate.
  • Never stop learning. Even if you aced your English classes, keep building your vocabulary and working on speaking natural, fluent English yourself.
  • Spend some time in an English-speaking country if you have the chance. If not, surround yourself with English. Read books, watch movies, talk with people online, and do all you can to improve your skills and keep them current.