This paper presents our voices as international teaching assistants (ITAs) of public speaking courses at American universities and discusses how non-native English speaker identity, or non-nativeness is displayed, developed, and negotiated through our inter-actions with both native and other non-native speakers. Regarding our companionship as ITAs of public speaking as a subject of study, we engage in narrative co-construction about our survival in graduate programs. We argue that non-nativeness is not monolithic but is more relational and multilayered than it tends to be assumed. Obtaining a teaching position was an epiphany for our relationship, changing the perceptions about and attitude toward our own non-nativeness. Our narrative about the issue at hand speaks not only for other ITAs but also for all groups of people involved in basic communication education. Two practical implications are presented to better the entire basic communication situation. We suggest that holding “enacting voice sessions” provides all teaching assistants and a course director with opportunities to share their voices about teaching, and that the discussion about non-nativeness of ITAs needs to be incorporated into the public speaking classroom to cultivate students’ understandings of cultural diversity in their everyday context.



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