Hey there, it’s Hadar
and this is the Accent’s Way
and today we are going to explore the identity
of the non-native speaker.
To do that I invited a special guest.
Her name is Isis Diamond.
Isis is a good friend.
She’s been a dominant community
member for over a year.
And she’s also a student of mine
in my Accent Makeover training program.
Let’s welcome Isis Diamond.
– Hello, hello Isis Diamond.
How are you doing?
– I’m good.
How are you?
– I can’t tell you how excited I am
to finally have you on my channel.
for those of you who don’t know you,
why don’t you introduce yourself?
– My name is Isis
I am an English teacher
and I think that’s it.
I like painting.
I like art.
I like psychology.
I like philosophy.
I like self-help stuff.
That’s it, I think.
– Are these your paintings in the background?
– Yes, their mine.
– They are beautiful.
So, Isis, like I said
that in the introduction
but I said that you’re
very dominant member
in our online community on Facebook.
And a very proud member
and super super supportive.
And you’re also my student.
An Accent Makeover student
and an excellent one at that.
So this is how we know each other.
We’ve known each other for over a year, I think.
– A year now. Yes.
– A little over a year.
And I feel like we’ve known each other forever
like for years, right?
So, Isis, the reason why I wanted to talk to you
and the reason why I brought you here
and because I think you have so much to share
with our audience
and community members
who struggle with
maybe shame or with feeling self-conscious
about who they are about being a non-native speaker.
So needless to say you’re here
and we are talking about being a non-native speaker.
You are not a native speaker of English, right?
– Yes, I’m not
– So maybe give us a little background around that.
Like where are you from, originally?
– I was born and raised in Brazil,
so I speak Brazilian Portuguese.
I learned English as a child.
When I was 11
and I finished my program.
I went to a language school
and I finished my program when I was 17.
I started teaching when I was 16.
I taught in Brazil for five years.
And then I moved to Toronto, Canada at the age of 20
and I study translation at University in Brazil.
And then when I moved to Toronto,
I had to go back to college.
I took TESOL to become an English teacher here
and that’s what I’ve been doing here for eight years.
I’ve been a teacher for 13 years.
I’m very proud of my experience.
It’s all over the place.
– So I can say that you’re proud teacher.
It’s safe to say that right here.
And I knew that I wanted to become a teacher
when I was a child.
– Oh beautiful.
How would you define the
difference between who you were,
let’s say eight years ago,
or five years ago,
when you had just moved to
Canada and started teaching,
and the teacher that you are today?
How are those teachers different?
– I think that it’s all about your mindset.
And it’s not about like even being a teacher.
It’s your mindset about the language
and how you feel in the
language about yourself.
Because I remember that in Brazil,
I was always so confident.
I was always so proud of myself.
I always felt that I was a great teacher
and I just felt strong
about English in general.
But then I moved to here
and I think that I
started comparing myself.
I started comparing myself
to the people around me.
Maybe I’ve experienced being around people
who are not as encouraging.
I just looked down on on myself.
I had no problem teaching in Brazil.
I was a teenager and I was
teaching like businessmen
who were older than me
which could be intimidating, right?
But I never cared.
I was like I don’t care.
I don’t care.
I have a lot to tell you, guys
and I have a lot to teach you, guys.
But then I came here in my mindset.
I didn’t even think that I could be a teacher here.
I was like “no”.
“I’m not from here.”
“I can’t be a teacher here.”
What am I gonna do?
And then I did some research.
And then I found out
that I just had to go back to school
and then I could become a teacher.
But I think my limiting belief of this comparison
of native non-native prevented me.
It prevented me for such a long time
that I wouldn’t come out of my shell
and be myself because I was afraid.
I was in fear.
I was in fear for a long time.
– What were the thoughts that went through your head?
What were you afraid of?
– I think at the beginning of my life here
I was always really depressed.
English was my passion.
The main reason why I moved here
even though there was a lot
of stuff going on in my life,
it was because of English.
I wanted to be around English.
And that’s what it is.
It’s my passion.
But then when I found out
I was afraid
of the thing that I was the most passionate about
that killed me.
I couldn’t be myself.
I couldn’t speak up.
I was always afraid.
I was always in my head like thinking,
What if I make a mistake?
What if I make a grammar mistake?
I don’t know how to pronounce this.
I’m not even gonna try.
And then I just decided to be in a bubble.
And I did it for four or five years.
I just decided not to speak in English
and not even to speaking Portuguese.
I remember making that decision.
I was like “I don’t want to speak anymore.”
Because I don’t want people to know
that I’m afraid of speaking in English
and I don’t want people to then
think that it’s English
so I’m not even gonna speak in Portuguese.
That’s a decision I made to myself.
– And how was it?
Like how were your first few years teaching?
So how did you combine this anxiety of being judged
or being recognized as a non-native speaker
while you were the authority
You know, the teacher of English
You had to have this authority in English
and at the same time felt
like you were not even like,
like a fraud,
It’s not your job,
like an imposter.
How did you survive those few years?
What did you do?
Did you did you share with people
that you’re a non native speaker?
Was it something that you were ashamed of?
– I didn’t know how to approach that
but I think like for everybody
even in college just being around native speakers
I was always like “oh my god,
I can’t make mistakes.”
I can’t say anything.
And then after graduating
I got a job.
And I started working
and at work I wouldn’t say a thing in the office.
And I think even after when I talked to some people
they even said like, “oh, we thought you were stuck up.”
Like cocky or something.
And I’m like “no,
I was afraid of speaking in the office
because I was surrounded by native speakers.”
I remember being very soft spoken.
I would explain things,
I would do what I had to do
but I wasn’t myself.
The first four years,
it took me some time to actually try to speak up more
and really be myself while teaching.
It was always the fear.
I didn’t know if I had to introduce myself
and say that I was from Brazil or not
because one of my limiting beliefs
was that students come, they travel abroad
because they wanna have classes with native speakers.
The industry promotes the word “native”, “native”, “native”
all the time.
The word “native” drove me crazy.
So I was always like they come here
because they wanna be around native speakers
because they wanna have classes with native speakers.
So how am I gonna introduce myself?
“Hi, I’m from Brazil”
and a person would come and say,
“Well, I came all the way here from Brazil to have classes
here with a Brazilian?”
And that’s what I told myself.
And I didn’t know how to introduce myself.
I didn’t, I didn’t.
– We talked about it a lot,
you and I
and we discussed it in
the in our community
So what do you think now looking back
and also observing your performance as a teacher?
What do you think the advantages are of being a teacher
who’s also a non-native speaker?
– I think we can relate to the students much more.
Recently on and off in my career here
I would say some things about myself
but I was always not really like.
Oh they are interested because they don’t wanna know
about me because I’m not from here.
They would like to know more about the culture here.
But what I’ve come to realize
that I can relate to them
and I can share a method
which is the most important thing.
I believe that students should become independent
and how you become independent
developing your methods
so that you can learn things regardless
pronunciation of vocabulary or whatever.
And I don’t believe in giving students answers
because they are always gonna be relying on someone
telling them what to do
and I think I love the times.
what I have I noticed
is that a lot of teachers might just say to students,
oh, that’s not how we say it.
Oh, that’s, how we say it.
And it’s not good enough.
It’s not good enough for me
if you say that’s not how we say it.
– I totally agree with you.
First of all,
we have gone through this ourselves
like we have learned it.
We had to learn it.
We did something
like we developed a method in our heads
to really get it right.
And if it was effective
then we know how to communicate
that probably better.
And also like the way I’ve been teaching
and I know that you have too
is through like understanding the mistake.
Understanding the confusion.
And when you start teaching from there,
rather than this is how it should be
this is why you don’t get it to begin with.
This is why it’s not natural.
This is where you automatically go.
Whether it’s sounds or grammar rules or whatnot.
Like if you understand
where are the two languages clash,
then it’s a lot easier to really implement
the new materials
in that angle.
Teaching them learning strategies
rather than just like teaching them the material
is extremely valuable.
I know we will share these opinions.
Why don’t you share a little bit about the transformation
from the person you were to the person you are now
or actually from the teacher you used to be
to the teacher that you are now
and maybe share what has led to this transformation?
What are the things that you had to reframe in your brain
and the thoughts?
The limiting beliefs that you turned
into empowering beliefs?
The disadvantages that you
turned into advantages?
So maybe you can share a little bit of that.
That can people learn from your experience
and maybe apply it themselves?
– It’s easier said than done,
like, oh speak up,
It’s not gonna happen.
You really have to know your words.
You do have to know your words
because you know
so many rules.
You have gone such a long way to get where you are
no matter what kind of English you have,
you have come a long way.
And you’ll have to appreciate that
Because I think what really clicked
was when I was talking to my boss
and he kind of talked to me
as though I was a native speaker
because of course he cannot come and say to me like,
“Oh, congratulations look at you.
You’re a non-native speaker but look how good you are.”
And I was like, no no no, actually,
I want this to be brought up
because like, for me to prep for this class,
I have to really pay attention.
I have to really work hard
and I do a great job
and you really have to pay
attention to what you’re good at
because your fears are gonna be there no matter what.
But maybe even a native speaker
would also have trouble explaining what you’re explaining
but you’re telling yourself
that it’s because it’s not your first language.
It’s just a teaching problem that a lot of teachers
would have problems with.
It’s a native speaker who might struggle
to explain something
and it’s just a non-native speaker speaker
who also struggles just to explain something
and we all have to do research
if we wanna be good teachers.
So it’s about being a good teacher
regardless of where you were born.
It’s about loving
what you do
and wanting to do your best.
If you wanna do your best,
if that’s what you wanna do,
you just have to fall in love with yourself again.
You just have to see things from a different perspective
and apply the “the 5 second rule”.
I set “the 5 second rule” by Mel Robbins,
and just be 5, 4, 3.
– Maybe explain it
’cause I don’t think a lot of people know
what the five-second rule.
What is the five-second rule?
– I’ve been following Mel Robbins for some time
and I’ve read her books
and she’s awesome.
It’s about taking risks
because you’re never gonna feel like doing anything.
That’s what she says.
You’re never gonna feel like making the change
and you’re gonna feel uncomfortable.
And that applies to anything in your life.
Going to the gym, anything.
So you’re always gonna be like “no, maybe tomorrow
or no not today”,
or “I’m not gonna speak up here in class”,
“I’m not gonna speak up in a meeting”,
“I’m not gonna do this”,
“I’m not gonna do that”.
It’s your brain.
It’s by default,
you don’t wanna feel uncomfortable.
You don’t wanna feel the pain.
But if you don’t get out of your comfort zone
you’re always gonna be stuck
and you have to change your mindset.
And you have the five-second rule
she says that
you have to tell yourself
you can count down five, four, three, two one
and you do whatever you thought you wanted to do
because your instincts,
they are telling you that you should be doing something.
But in five seconds our brains
are just going to talk us out of doing something
because of fear.
You’re gonna say I’m stupid.
I shouldn’t say that, I shouldn’t do that
and then the idea is killed,
the moment is gone.
So you have to do it
as soon as you think of something
and you should just take the next step
because if you don’t take risks
you won’t go anywhere.
– Absolutely. So like basically
when the impulse comes up to speak,
to say something, to do something
whether it’s to speak up in a meeting
or to apply for a job that you really want,
just like count down 5,4, 3, 2, 1
and then to just quit.
I think the consequences of not taking a risk
especially when it comes to speaking up or doing things,
the consequences of not taking your risk are much higher
are much worse I mean
than actually trying
something and failing at it.
because if you fail you learn from it,
you make a mistake, the big deal.
Maybe people are gonna think
oh it didn’t sound right
but that’s just about it.
But at least you you tried.
So would you consider yourself
as a proud non-native speaker
if before you used to be ashamed of it?
– It’s because of you.
– It’s because of you, Isis, not because of me.
Because of us.
– Because when I saw your work
I would look at your Instagram page
and I’d be like how comes she’s like
capitalizing on non-natives?
Like how comes she’s proud of that.
And I was like oh, she’s proud of that
because she’s turning her what would be her weakness
into her strength.
And lately that’s how I’ve been looking at myself
because if I just pretend I’m a native speaker.
I pretend somehow
that I don’t talk about myself,
I don’t share who I am,
you’re throwing in the garbage.
and that’s what I felt.
You were throwing in the garbage all of those years.
It’s 20 years.
It’s over 20 years that I’ve been studying the language.
Really focusing on every single aspect of the language.
Everything that happens around me
especially after moving here
and I’m throwing that all out.
I’m like no, that didn’t happen
whatever I want my students to think of me
but how about all my baggage.
I have my baggage,
I cannot do that to myself.
– But your baggage is also
because this is what makes you
such an incredible human being and teacher.
So we don’t need to
wash out our identities
just to fit in or to sound better.
I’m an accent trainer
so I absolutely think that
people need to be able to speak
clearly and confidently
and learn all those elements
but not to lose their accents
and sound like a native speaker.
But just to understand, to simplify things for them.
As speakers, I think this is really really important.
And also I think that us,
you said that,
but I’m just gonna stress that as well,
the fact that our identity
and the fact that we’re different
and being a non-native speaker
I think it inspires our students
to also be proud of who they are.
To stand up for themselves and not to be totally,
constantly self-conscious and self-deprecating,
and feeling bad about the results
that come out when they open up their mouths.
So when we inspire them and encourage them
to make mistakes and be like, okay,
you can reach your goals
and where you want to be despite of the fact
that you’re a non-native speaker.
I think it really creates motivation
and people put in the work
and they feel a lot more confident.
And that immediately affects their fluency
and their communication skills.
– We are a work in progress.
I am a work in progress.
I’m not done.
I’m not even done.
I’m always gonna be learning
because I like it.
And I was gonna say something very quickly
about it’s like playing a musical instrument.
You practice, you practice.
You might think,
“Oh, no I’m playing it very well now,
but I wanna play even better”.
Not because I had a problem with the accent
and like “oh my accent!” whatever.
Yes, I have a little bit of an accent.
But I’m still working on it.
Not because I want to, as you said,
pretend I’m somebody else.
Or Oh yeah, I don’t want
to have an accent at all
so that people don’t know
anything about my background.
No, but it’s about just getting so good
at something because you love it so much.
I’ve changed my mindset about that.
I’m like no, it’s just because I want to know
how everything works
because I’m passionate about linguistics.
It’s your truth.
It’s not your truth but you how you see things.
It’s all about perception.
– Definitely not like working on someone’s accent
and your accent is not like just to to disguise
It’s really just master something
that you are already good at.
And you want to be so freaking good at,
to feel that effortlessness
and that like being precise and all of that.
I think it’s extremely valuable.
I agree with you.
I don’t know if the people watching this know,
but you also have a YouTube channel.
with another beautiful community member of ours,
So maybe talk about that.
– We decided to start our channel.
– Maybe a few words about Carol,
who she is where she from.
– Carol was an amazing person.
Actually she’s from my,
pretty much my city in Brazil.
So she like actually likes St. Paulo
the little place that
I come from Diadema, pretty much
and from Brazil
and she’s been living in the states
for seven, eight years or so.
And she’s an amazing person.
A good-hearted person
and she just wants to help people
also come out of their shells
and that’s like how we clicked
because we just see some things in the same way
and we just wanna share the journey
end the fear somehow because I lived in fear
for such a long time.
and I know that my fears are gonna come back
and my thoughts are gonna come back
but I’m choosing not to listen to them.
And the channel is the Non-Native Power.
It’s actually because of you again, of course.
And like some people might say,
why you keep saying ‘non’?
Is that a bad term?
I don’t think so.
I want to honor not being native
because that is a stamp of my work.
Of how hard I have worked to become fluent.
This didn’t happen naturally.
I have studied hard to sound the way I sound.
To know what I know
and to know how to explain things as a teacher.
I honor the ‘non’
that’s why it’s the Non-Native Power
because we have unleash this power
because so many people are in fear, in suffering,
not changing jobs, not doing things
because of fear.
And no matter what their English level is.
They could be a beginner, an intermediate.
It’s just like,
wherever you’re at
you’re already way ahead of where you were,
a year before, two years before.
So like always,
you need to acknowledge
your work and your progress.
And yes, there’s always more work to be done.
Wherever you’re at
being a non-native speaker means
that you have come a long way
communicating in a different language
which is not something.
For some people, it might come really easily
but for most people, it’s hard work
and being able to speak in English
shows that you’re a hard worker.
And that’s incredible.
And this is why like,
the Proud Non-Native.
I can really resonate with that so it’s beautiful.
Thank you so so much.
So tell us again where we can find you
– It’s the Non-Native Power.
– We’ll put links to it.
We’ll put links to it in the description below.
And Isis Diamond on Instagram, right?
– Yeah Isis.diamond on Instagram.
– Okay, beautiful.
And of course,
we invite everyone to join our community.
Isis is a wonderful moderator,
So if you wanna work more with her
we’re gonna have like a
weekly live grammar broadcasts.
I just like decided that that’s what we’re gonna do
We talked about it but we
haven’t really sealed the deal.
So like that’s it.
Now it’s gonna be published
so you have no choice to do that
answering grammar questions online.
So we’ll link to our community
right below this video.
So Isis it was a pleasure as always,
talking to you.
I love you very much.
Thank you for everything that you do
and for inspiring your students
and for being such an incredible teacher.
And I wish you all the best.
– You’re inspiring.
I love you.
– Thank you.
– My culture, you’re beautiful.
– Bye Isis.
Thank you so much.
Now Isis and I would love to hear what you think.
Being a non-native speaker,
what are the advantages that
you think non-native speakers
have in this global world of ours.
And if you’re an English teacher
share with us your struggles,
and your frustrations?
being a-non native speaker,
who is also an English teacher.
We would love to hear your thoughts,
and we would love to start a discussion
right below the video.
If you like this video don’t forget to subscribe
to my YouTube channel and
come on over to my website
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every single week.
Also, be sure to visit Isis
and Carol’s YouTube channel,
The Non-Native Power.
Links are below the video.
Have a beautiful beautiful week
and I will see you next week.
In the next video.