What are the pros and cons of being a non-native English speaker teacher?
To answer that question we need to answer the bigger question(s) of:
1. It goes without saying that you need to know your subject and know it well. You need to know and speak English and speak it well.
2. Teachers have to teach their students how to emulate them.
Your role as a non-native English speaker teacher is NOT to know all the words in the Oxford dictionary, all idioms and phrasal verbs.
There are dictionaries for that.
Your role as a non-native English speaker teacher is to help your students reach your level and do better than you.
You have to teach them how to reach your level, by teaching them how you did it, how you learned all those words and grammar?
Not overwhelm them with slang and idioms and rare words but tell them:
How to reach your level?
As the famous saying goes:
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Teach them how to fish, we as non-native speakers can do that, native speakers can’t. It is like a shark teaching you to fish.
Teachers have to teach their students how to be independent, how to learn by themselves, how to fish.
The most important thing that teachers can teach their students is how to get along without them.
This is our advantage over native English speaker teachers. This is what a good teacher is supposed to do. You as a non-native speaker can do that, because you are getting along without a teacher.
Native English speaker teachers cannot teach their students how to get along without them, because they have no experience learning English, they don’t have a method for learning,
no native speaker has a method for learning their native language.
Disadvantages of being a non-native English speaking teacher.
It is often said that the biggest disadvantage we as non-native English speaker teachers have is our non-native pronunciation, non-native accent.
Why is that a disadvantage?
Yes, we do speak with an accent, a non-native accent
But why? Why do we speak with a non-native accent? Is it because we choose to?
Explain it to your students!
Why do non-native speakers speak with an accents?
Why do French people speak English with a French accent?
Germans and Austrians with a German accent?
The Dutch with a Dutch accent?
Explain that to your students! You as a non-native speakers can do that, native speakers can’t because they have no accent, they don’t know what it’s like to master their own accent.
It is often said that one of our biggest advantages is that non-native speaking teachers are good at explaining grammar, because they can explain it to our students in their native language and draw a comparison between the two languages, first language and second language
No, that’s not that big of an advantage.
If you class is more than 10% in your native language then you are not doing a good job
Non-native English speaking teachers' advantage is not in their ability to EXPLAIN grammar,
Non-native English speaking teachers' advantage is in their ability to PRODUCE grammar.
This is our arguably biggest advantage, our ability to produce grammar, our ability to quickly put grammatically correct sentences together.
For native speaker this process is subconscious,
For non-native speakers this process is conscious.
There is always a split second delay, no matter how fluent we are. Of course the more fluent the easier but there is a thought process behind each sentence.
Explain that thought process to your students, that is by far our biggest advantage over native speakers.
There is a whole chapter on Speaking in my book Virtually Native, it is the chapter that proved most challenging yet most exciting for me to write. Writing about how I put sentences together. My thought process, my train of thought.