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  1. #1
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    Default Asian ESL Teacher

    I am an Australian-Chinese interested in doing a TESOL course and hopefully go overseas and teach English for a while or stay in Australia and teach English to migrants. But I am concerned that while I was brought up and educated in Australia, my identity as an Asian will not allow me to pursue a career in teaching English as a second language. So I was interested in finding out from ESL teachers who have worked in the field whether it is common to see Asian people teaching ESL?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Asian ESL Teacher

    I have worked with Asian teachers, and had two directors of studies too. It depends on where you want to teach; in the UK, and I imagine this would be fairly similar in a society like Australia, it is quite common.

    There are Asian teachers working in many countries, though you do hear stories about finding it harder if you don't 'look the part'; I believe you might find it harder to get work in, say, some of South Korea schools, where I have heard stories about their preferring teachers that conform to stereotypical views of native speakers. In some places it might be seen as an advantage though. Where I am living, one of the most successful institutes is Singaporean, so it's not a problem here. That's not to say that this is universal, but I know enough Asian and other teachers to say that it can be done.

    I'd check out any country carefully first- there are race issues in some countries. EnglishTeacherX says in his blog that racism is on the rise in his city in Russia and that he feels a lot less comfortable there than he used to, and he's a white American. However, there are plenty of places where it will be no problem.

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    Default Re: Asian ESL Teacher

    Thank you very much for your reply Tdol. It is a huge encouragement for me to take up a TESOL course as I have been putting it off for a long time worried that I won't be offered a job. Thank you so much!!

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Asian ESL Teacher

    All the best with the course.

  5. #5
    coledavis is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Asian ESL Teacher

    With regards to Russia, EnglishteacherX is absolutely right. There is a lot of racist unpleasantness in Russia. A very experienced teacher I know, but of Indian ancestry, was being courted by a school in Moscow and had just started a video interview with the school; the interview stopped immediately they saw his face. Mind you, I think the school did him a favour. Another British-Asian I know finished his degree in Russian at a Russian university, but was glad to return to England, as he never felt safe in the evenings by himself.
    I think I'd try another country if I was not white, indeed if I was even slightly darker than a typically nordic type. Sorry.

  6. #6
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
    I'm With Stupid is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Asian ESL Teacher

    My friend is British-Chinese and he's had no problems teaching English in Japan, despite a lot of people saying it can be racist over there, especially against non-Japanese asians. There is also the claim that when hiring teachers, they prefer to hire "western looking" people, since that's apparently part of the appeal of learning English (and there was me thinking it was about actually improving your ability to speak the language). But it wouldn't surprise me if many of the people who make this claim were people who weren't hired for legitimate reasons, but decided it must be because of their race.

    Good luck with the course.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Asian ESL Teacher

    I think the question is mute and you should have NO concerns. Some of the greatest minds in TESOL have been Asian. Most notably Jun Liu, a past TESOL president who I had the pleasure of sharing muffins and talk with Sunday morning.... Don't worry at all - go for it!

    DD
    EFL CLASSROOM 2.0


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