Guides for Non-native English Teachers for TEFL

 | Teaching House Nomads Blog

If you're a passionate teacher looking to take the next step in your teaching journey in the English language, we have the perfect guide for you. We understand that being a non-native English speaking teacher (NNEST) may be difficult at times but we’ll guide you through getting past the hiccups and provide everything you need to know to get started. 

What is a Non native English Speaking Teacher? (NNEST)

If you’ve clicked on this article it’s very likely that you fall under this category or want to find out how to be one! A non-native English Speaking teacher is someone who speaks English as their second or additional language, and is now teaching it. 

They’ve learned English in their native country or abroad, or from another non-native English speaking teacher. The majority of English language teachers around the world are non-native speakers, and they now outnumber native speaker teachers!

How can I become a NNEST?

If you have studied and learnt the English language and are now interested in teaching it to others like yourself, Teaching House has all the courses you need to become a qualified teacher. 

The CELTA course is where you need to start. Not only is this course an internationally recognised TESOL program but it is accredited by Cambridge Assessment.

CELTA is perfect for those interested in teaching. Students who are wanting a hands-on practical course constructed from real teaching experiences and working with other genuine English Language learners in a classroom setting. Teaching House gives students the option to study the CELTA course online or in person. 

Once completing the CELTA, you will be equipped with the confidence and experience to handle any classroom situation. Visit our applications page for more information. 

Advantages of being a NNEST

As a non-native speaker, you have unique abilities that you can bring to the classroom to stand out from the crowd. These are special qualities that differentiate you from native English speaking teachers. 

NNESTs have a better insight into the English learning process, as a NNEST you understand the frustrations and complexities that students go through as they learn English,

and you’ve undergone the same experiences and probably made some of the same mistakes. You are likely to have a better understanding of the English language too, as you are probably consciously aware of the rules and can help learners avoid the common pitfalls.

Non-Native speakers are the perfect role models for their students by motivating and showing them it is possible to get to where they are regardless of their country of origin. 

NNEST Online Opportunities

After a bit more flexibility, or wanting to teach English as more of a side hustle but not ready to fully commit to the teaching abroad lifestyle? Teaching online is a good place to start! 

There are so many learning and teaching opportunities for non-native teachers. With a bit of research, you’ll be able to find a company that fits your values and availability. Please note for many online teaching companies you’ll still need your TEFL certification from your CELTA course. 

Already Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)?

If you are currently a TEFL teacher and interested in going that extra mile with your skills, we also offer the DELTA course. This is a course designed for teachers who have completed their CELTA and have begun their teaching career with a minimum of 2 years’ experience. 

Teachers who complete DELTA will gain further expertise in English Language Teaching (ESL) and become qualified for better teaching positions, educational management, teacher training and publishing positions. 

Find out the difference between DELTA and CELTA courses here.Standing out as a NNEST:

How do I start teaching abroad?

Once you’ve completed your CELTA or DELTA course you have the correct qualifications to begin teaching in another country. The next step is choosing where to teach, salary and cost of living differ from country to country so it’s important to do this research before choosing a location. 

We recommend you check out our TEFL Job Database Board. This is a good place to start so you can begin familiarising yourself with the type of ESL jobs out there. There are posts from language school, colleges and universities who are on the lookout for CELTA qualified graduates to join their team. 

Where can I teach?

Latin America

The chances of getting an English teaching job in South America as a non-native are quite high. The countries here often welcome teachers from different backgrounds and having a knowledge of Spanish / Portuguese is highly valued by employers.

Hiring season in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador starts around February and March whereas Peru and El Salvador is from October to November. 


If you are a EU citizen, teaching in Turkey is perfect for you as it is the friendliest European destination for non-native English speakers. You can increase your chances of getting hired if you come to Turkey with some valuable teaching experience. 

Costa Rica

Paid teaching jobs in Costa Rica are typically in private schools, academies & universities, and with private clients. Positions in public elementary and high schools tend to be voluntary. However, Costa Rica is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and you will have no shortage of outdoor activities to get involved with, many of which are free.


Due to Mexico being in high demand for English teachers, finding a job won’t be too difficult, particularly with a CELTA.

The government recently passed a law to give work permits to teachers if they hold a TEFL certification and can speak English fluently. 

Applications for NNEST abroad teaching

Once you’ve chosen a location, now comes the application process. We have a TEFL Job Board, which is a database designed for our CELTA graduates looking for positions. 

Jobs are posted from language schools, colleges and universities all around the world. The posted jobs have all the relevant information you’ll need, such as dates, benefits and qualifications. There is a link attached to the posts, guiding you directly to the company’s website where you can begin your application. 

In most cases you’ll need to provide the below, however this will differ from school to school.

  • Resume/CV
  • Personal Statement (why you want to teach here)
  • Cover Letter
  • Certifications

Also, many teachers find their jobs through networking with fellow educators. 

Once you make it through to the interview stage, this is your time to shine and show off your TEFL skills. Overall make sure to be polite, maintain proper interview etiquette, and ask some good questions. You should use your interview time to make sure you feel comfortable with the people you talk to and the role you will fill. 

Keep in mind that you may not get a job on the first go, however this does not mean you should give up. Keep persisting, applying for jobs, checking our job database and most importantly practising your teaching skills whenever the opportunity arises. 

If you are interested in becoming an English teacher, whether this is online, abroad or in your home country contact us and we can get in touch with you to sort out the next stepn in your plan of action. 

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