Native english speaker.

Hi, I've been reading through the site and I just wanted to start off by saying that its a great resource for any information about moving to Hong Kong.

My question today is regarding teaching jobs requiring applicants to be "Native English Speakers." when they post that as a requirement do they usually mean that the person has to be caucasian?

I, myself was born in Hong Kong but moved to Canada when I was four years old and have been using english as my primary language for the last 17 years. While I know technically I am not a native english speaker I consider my english to be as good as any native speaker.

The whole thing has got me a bit worried because I want to move back to Hong Kong to teach when I am finished school but worry about my prospects.

Any input that the readers of Batgung can share would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

re: Native english speaker

Good question!

I think there are still times when a distinction is made between whether a teacher looks asian or caucasian. eg if a teaching centre is preparing a brochure, they are likely to use pictures of their caucasian teachers. There may be some places that even go as far to only employ caucasians.

But I'm sure there are plenty where that isn't a requirement. Thinking back to the international playschools our daughters attended, their teachers were UK-caucasian, US-chinese, and two UK-indian. So if you fit the rest of the profile, I'd say go ahead and apply to any job that lists 'Native English Speaker' as a requirement.

Do any other readers have direct experience of this?

the opposite

I found when living here just post handover when there was an immense amount of chinese self-consciousness (not sure how else to call it), that every single advert required chinese language skills.  Several of the head hunters I spoke to said that companies were under pressure to only hire non-caucasians and put in the language requirement to screen them out.

It was also just after the asian financial crisis, so that was probably also a bit of local protectionism.

Flash forward to 10 years later and I think this is happening much less, it seems there is more maturity. Although after the current crisis it may happen again.

I've noticed at my daughter's school that all the native english speakers are native speakers but DEFINITELY don't look caucasian at all.  I think it's also a conscious choice of her school...

Local school

During the round of school open days, when we were deciding where to apply for our 6 year old daughter, I got chatting to quite a few of the English teachers at the local (i.e. Cantonese) schools. There was quite a few overseas born Chinese in there, included one fellow with a very broad Yorkshire accent. He of course spoke fluent Cantonese as well. Don't worry about your English's "nativeness", I don't think it will be an issue as long as you can actually teach - and actually, I don't think being able to 'teach' is always the main consideration for these schools either ;-)

I will be keeping a ear open for a bunch of local kids pronouncing their English with a Yorkshireman's drawl over the coming years...