I was recently hired by an international company to teach English online to professional Koreans. They have a branch here in Baguio and there’s an opportunity for me to work from home coz I have a high speed internet connection, and with most online and call center jobs, that’s all you need to have. I haven’t started yet, so I have no idea how to do it (it's a first for me which was what got me applying for the job coz I know it's a challenge). I started searching the net and I found out that English teaching jobs are abound, and Korean companies are even shouldering the travel and lodging expenses. However, the opportunities are mostly for citizens of USA, Canada, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa.

Whoah! Hang on a second! Why would the Korean government make it exclusive only to the aforementioned countries when I’m pretty sure, citizens of other countries like the Philippines, are also capable, if not more than capable, of teaching English as well?

In any case, I decided to give it a try and send out my Resume, you know, just for the sake of challenging the idea. I mentioned that although I am not a citizen of those countries, I can very well assure them that I speak and understand the English language. I also mentioned my own personal experience with Canadians and Americans who, although speak the language fluently, do not necesarily speak it properly. They are fluent because English is their first language, but they are not particularly exceptional when it comes to its correct usage, pronunciation, grammar and even spelling. In one of my job stints in Canada (for a Test Marking), we had a very simple English exam on usage, grammar and spelling, and not all Canadians who applied (we were 8) got in. The ones that got in had Master’s degrees to their credit. My point is that being citizens of these English-speaking countries do not necessarily make them masters of the English language.

Anyways, after 2 days, I got a reply from the company, and I quote: “The unfortunate reality of the ESL market is that the governments of most countries require that individuals applying for teaching visas are citizens of English speaking countries. These are defined as countries where English is the first language and they are limited to the following: Canada, America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with your proficiency in the English language but is simply the government regulation.”

Whew! I guess I can accept that logic. At least they're not saying that citizens of other countries are no better.

"The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself". ~Derek Walcott (


I Am Canadian said...

I understand that bias when ESL schools look for English-speaking "natives" (meaning white) when looking for ESL instructors. Most first-generation immigrants know how to speak and write English better; grammar is oftentimes perfect. I have worked with these Canadian "natives" (who by the way, are also descendants of immigrants ---because the REAL Canadians are the First Nations people--- but they refuse to be bundled with the modern-day "colored" but very highly-educated and moneyed immigrants) and I could only shake my head when they sometimes write or say, "Congradulation" (for Congratulations); "should of" (should have); etc. Give these racially discrimating Korean ESL schools what they want---white trash English.

i am canadian said...

oops, make that "discriminating" in the last sentence.