After spending the past two years in London and focusing on teaching online, now that Europe seems to be opening up and that I am moving to Berlin, I’ve decided to look for a teaching job face-to-face. I guess I’ve missed the classroom at least a little bit.
My first impressions – yet to be confirmed or debunked – point to high doses of ‘native-speakerism’. A brief search online shows 10/10 language schools in Berlin require native speakers to teach whatever language it is they teach.
In spite of the ongoing discussion in the ELT world around ‘native-speakerism’, Berlin seems unaware of it.
While I am still to find out how strict recruiters are, learning that being a native speaker is a requirement for employment does leave a bitter taste in my mouth and here are my reasons:
- Geography (where someone was born) does not determine whether someone is or isn’t a good teacher.
- Being a native speaker of a language does not qualify anybody to teach it.
- I don’t know about the laws in Germany, but doesn’t this requirement hinder fair and equal employment opportunities?
I actually find it funny that in Canada, where English is one of the official languages, there is no such requirement for someone to be able to teach English, but in Germany, where English is used as a foreign language, there seems to be.
Again, these are my first impressions based on my online job search experience. I will update you when I find out more.
If you have faced ‘native-speakerism’ anywhere and would like to share, please do so.
There is a recent and very interesting post about this topic here if you would like to learn how other people have been dealing with the same issue in Europe.
And here is a more in-depth discussion by the same author.
Finally, here is another take from a different author.
***This post was originally written in August, 2021. My reality has since changed, but I find this to be an interesting and important discussion.***