Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Where does this come from? Patience, dear reader. I shall reveal this to you shortly, but bear with me for now, please. OK? (Great)
Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
OK, thanks for your patience. Firstly, I can tell you that it does not come from the USA Bill of Rights, it’s not the Constitution, it’s not the Magna Carta. What it is is something much larger, global in its scope. It is the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Adopted on December 10, 1948
by the General Assembly of the United Nations (without dissent)
I contend that the Native Speaker Myth is not only unethical, but also unlawful. It clearly is a violation of Article 1, Article 2, and Article 23. The Native Speaker Myth causes discrimination based on nativeness. It leads employers to hire Native English Speaking Teachers in preference to Non-Native English Speaking Teachers.
That is, if a non-native speaker is lucky enough to even be considered for the job. It is a common practice, world-wide, from New York to Tokyo, from Syria to Shanghai, from Korea to Kalamazoo, to advertise specifically and solely for Native English Speaking Teachers. But what if you are a qualified, trained, educated, and experienced Non-Native English Speaking Teacher? Forget about it.
You were not lucky enough to speak English as your first language. You are a loser, undesirable, unwanted, worthless. Only the native speaker matters in such cases. Does this happen in Chile? Yes, it does. Does it happen in Syria? Korea? Japan? Russia? France? Germany? Africa? The answer is affirmative. Yes, yes, and yes. Again and again, we must be clear: this is a global problem that negatively affects the ELT profession worldwide.
Now, I’m no lawyer. I have no legal training whatsoever. Yet it seems quite obvious that Article 1, Article 2, and Article 23 is being violated every single day, somewhere in the world.
Why haven’t we appealed to the UN to enforce the law? Are English Language Teachers unworthy of proper international law enforcement? I don’t think so. What is more likely is that we don’t think anything will be done. We think we are alone, weak, powerless, poor, destitute in spirit and mind. We don’t matter to anyone. No one cares about us.
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once famously said, “A man can’t walk on your back unless it is bent”. ELT teachers, our Non-Native, colleagues that is, have had their backs bent for the past 25 years. Metaphorically speaking, our collective passivity and complicity has been collosal in its negative impacts on our health and welfare.
The time has come for a change. It has been a long time coming, but make no mistake, the day has come. It is our time. We are the chosen ones. Destiny has chosen us to be the ones who write a new chapter in the pages of the ELT history books.
The new chapter will be one of equity, equality, fairness and justice for all in the ELT profession. There will come the day when we are all equal, native and non-native, each sharing and enjoying the fruits of their righteous labor. This is achieved by your competence in the English language, and not by the language you learned to speak first.
Can you see that beautiful day my friend(s)? It is a wonderful vision of freedom from mental slavery and intellectual exploitation. No more second class teachers. We are all great teachers, with talents and gifts and skills to share with our students.
So, what do we have to do? The next time you see an advertisement for a Native Speaker, apply for the job, my Non-Native Speaker colleague. When you are denied your opportunity, as you will be, then contact your friendly global education organization, the TESOL – Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. They have an organised Special Interest Group, the Non-Native English Speaking Teachers SIG.
Oh, where and how can you contact them to help you?
Here is their contact information: