4.30.2010

Native or Not? - Over to You

Which kind of teacher do you prefer learning with - a Spanish teacher of English or a native teacher of English? Advantages? Disadvantages? Over to you....

2 comments:

L´Avendetta said...

Good question! I am not a "native" ESL teacher, i.e. I was not born in an English-speaking country and my family was 100% monolingual. I took my first English lesson at the age of 9 and passed my CPE at age 17. I might be an exception when it comes to languages and I do admit, most people I interact with often comment on how "gifted" I am when it comes to learning other languages. Then I went on to get my BA and later on pursued my graduate studies in the US, where I married a US citizen. While strictly speaking I do not consider myself a "native", I do think of myself as a near-native speaker. Native speakers cannot tell I am not a "native" speaker (although I do get the occasional "Are you Canadian?" question). And yet, here in Spain there's still a solid prejudice against hiring Spanish passport-carrying citizens as ESL teachers in many private schools nationwide because hey, what do you know, the 22-year-old cute Irish/American/English/Australian girl who just finished her degree can surely teach those little angels and business folks much better than me because, oh well, "she is a native". Nevermind she lacks the experience, knowledge, etc. that a "non-native" might possess.

And since it doesn't look like I can change my last name or acquire an American or British passport, it looks like I will have to bear the burden of not being a "native" and enjoying the privileges (mostly, financial) that come with it.

Patricia Dawn SEVERENUK said...

Hi, L'Avendetta...

Your post raises some very interesting points - especially the job paradox you write about. It seems ironic to me that you come so highly qualified (AND you survived learning English to a very high degree), yet people would still rather hire a native without experience... especially since, in a lot of schools (in Canada, at least), they don't teach grammar like they used to.

That's wild that they think you're Canadian - it seems like "Canadian" is the category that people have started to use when they can't exactly place an accent!