He’s white,  so he should get paid more?
She’s non-white, so she shouldn’t get the job?
Only Caucasians can speak and teach English?
Taiwanese don’t speak or use English well?

True, not all Taiwanese speak and use English well, but there are some that do English just as well like “native speakers” do.   They, however, could be disqualified to apply for some English teaching jobs because schools (“cram schools”) require “native speakers”.   This is unfair.  The Taiwanese teachers whose English is equally good and are capable to teach should be as well qualified to apply for the job.  Also non-whites English speakers who are equally good and capable should get the same pay like the whites do.  The unequal opportunities and pays are a problem to unfairness; they are also a contributor to social ignorance.

Think about it this way: when qualified English teachers, especially the qualified Taiwanese teachers and the qualified non-whites teachers are being skipped in the application process, how many essential things  learners are going to miss!  These teachers possess so rich learning experiences that they can help many.  Some of them have gone through particular learning experience, such as having learned to make a transition between their native/first language and English language. The experience has in effect made them better teachers, because if they can manage that themselves, sure they can help others to learn to manage that as well.   So this is especially important for the learners in Taiwan where they have to deal with their native/first language while juggling with English.

Also, when job opportunities and equal pays skip the good, qualified non-whites teachers, learners have simultaneously missed the opportunity to cultivate diverse cultural experiences from them.  While the diverse cultural experiences should conveniently be harvested by going to another country, these non-whites teachers have come here and are ready to make a contribution to that.  So this is not only a matter of unfairness but also a matter of loss.  

Then accents.  Do accents matter?  Fairly not.  Even “native speakers” have various accents depending on where they grow up, go to school and live.  As long as accents are not too heavy, like one “r’ not being pronounced as double “rr”, for instance, “rock” not as “rrock”, then in my opinion, it should be acceptable.

So why the unequal opportunities?  Why the unequal pays?  While the equals can bring many positive elements and effects to the society!


About The Author

Zoe Hsiao

Zoe is teaching English. She is also writing and managing articles for the Stinky Tofu.

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