Teach English Online as a non-native speaker in 2023

Looking to teach English online as a non-native speaker? These are the companies hiring non-natives in 2023.

Unleash Your Inner Polyglot

Looking to teach English online as a non-native speaker? These are the companies hiring non-natives in 2023.

a photo of a woman with dark brown hair wearing headphones using her hands to gesticulate while talking to someone on her laptop

It is definitely possible to teach English online as a non-native speaker. Also, if you are confused about what constitutes a non-native teacher, you’re not alone. This is a gray area for some companies. However, in general, online Engish teaching platforms go by your passport. It might not be fair, but that’s a discussion for another post.

ESL companies hiring now

Here are the top online ESL companies hiring non-native speakers right now. This list had to be seriously updated from last year. The online English teaching market has changed so profoundly after the Chinese regulations. It took a few years for the dust to settle and see which companies are still hiring.

Some companies used to be popular with non-native English speakers, but I had to remove them. This is because they aren’t hiring anymore, as far as I know. These include Palfish, which was a company I really loved. I worked for them for two years, but they disappeared and haven’t made a comeback as far as I know. When they start hiring again, please post in the comments to let us all know.

a cat wearing headphones using a laptop with the world on its screen

Finally, check out r/onlineeslteaching for real-time comments from teachers. these are teachers who teach online now. If you see posts about a company, it means people work for them. If you can’t find anything about a company, don’t bother applying. It likely means they don’t exist.

Fluency Knows No Bounds: Tips for Non-Native Speakers

Lastly, here are some tips. I have for non-native speakers to excel in the ESL field.

#1. Frame it as a positive

First, my tip is to focus on what you bring to the table. This is especially important for platforms where you need to market to students directly. Highlight your qualifications as a polyglot. Teaching English as a non-native speaker comes with a range of advantages, including:

Empathy and Relatability:

Non-native English speakers often understand the challenges that learners face because they have been through the language-learning process themselves. This empathy can lead to a more effective and understanding teaching approach.

Language-Specific Insights:

Non-native speakers possess a deep understanding of their native language’s structure, grammar, and nuances. This knowledge enables them to better explain complex concepts and address common errors made by learners.

Cultural Bridge:

Non-native speakers can act as a cultural bridge, providing students with insights into both the language and the cultural aspects of the countries where English is spoken as a second language.

Motivation for Learners

Learners may find inspiration in their non-native teacher’s language journey, seeing them as proof that fluency is attainable and that hard work pays off.

Accent and Pronunciation

Non-native speakers often possess a natural accent that reflects the linguistic diversity of English speakers worldwide. This can be beneficial for learners who aim for international communication.

Flexible Teaching Styles

Non-native speakers may offer alternative teaching styles that resonate with learners who share a similar native language or cultural background.

Inclusive Perspective

Non-native speakers can play a crucial role in fostering inclusivity and diversity in English language education, showcasing a wider range of accents and cultural representations.

Overall, non-native English speakers have a unique set of skills and perspectives that can enrich the language learning experience for their students and contribute positively to the global community of English language learners.

#2. Don’t try to prove you speak English

Secondly, my next tip is to stop proving you can speak English like an American or a Brit or Australian or…you get it.

I know, it is counterintuitive.

However, don’t spend an overly long amount of time trying to prove to your employer or student that you are fluent in English. This should be a given. The more you talk about how you promise you are fluent, and how hard you worked to get there, the more seeds of doubt you plant in the other person. They wouldn’t hire you unless they assumed you were fluent.

Instead, just add the qualifications to your CV and bio. Then, during the interview or the demo class with your new employer or student, proceed from the assumption that they know you are fluent. Otherwise,, why would you even be there?!

Language Proficiency Tests

Here are the common qualifications that are widely recognized. Most employers will accept them as evidence of your English fluency:

  1. IELTS (International English Language Testing System): This is one of the most widely recognized English proficiency tests. It assesses listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills and provides a score on a scale from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest level of proficiency.
  2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): This test is primarily used for academic purposes and is accepted by many universities and colleges. It assesses similar language skills as IELTS and provides a score on a scale from 0 to 120.
  3. TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication): This test focuses on practical English language skills for the workplace and business environments. It provides scores for listening and reading comprehension.

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Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL
Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL

Ingrid Maria Pimsner has been teaching for over a decade in various universities, nonprofits, and private academies. She has taught English as a Second Language for Lutheran Children & Family Service, Nationalities Service Center, Lernstudio Barbarossa Berlin-Tegel, and more. In addition to her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification, she holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from Maryland Institute College of Art.