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These notes provide basic information about what to expect when seeking work teaching English in France. Note that there will be considerable variation between schools, employers' preferences, and government regulations, and requirements will change from time to time. Before entering into any commitment, you are advised to check with an appropriate authoritative source such as the embassy in your country.
Being a native-speaker of English in France is a great asset with regard to teaching English, and when this is coupled with a qualification which is accredited by an independent, professional body like the College of Teachers then it is possible to develop a worthwhile career.
It goes without saying that having a good level of French will also be extremely valuable, whatever your ambitions.
There are different opportunities available:
The rate of pay that you earn will depend a lot of what you are doing and where you are working; rates are likely to be higher in Paris and lower in rural areas. Working from home may lead to a lower rate of pay per hour at first but your outgoings may be lower than with other options. Some families are keen for their children to have good language skills and are willing to pay ?20 an hour (sometimes more for experienced teachers) and some teachers have built up a successful small business in this way.
You are unlikely to find a full-time teaching post in a language school right away so be prepared to take whatever hours you are offered and build up experience as quickly as you can. (This is exactly the same in the UK in fact.) Having a CV with a significant amount of experience will generally help you to find work in future but note that some language schools may be more inclined to employ a newly qualified teacher on the basis that this teacher will be cheaper to employ!
Working for a government school may not be easy at first because there are often tests to pass and extensive regulations to cope with. However, with experience of teaching as well as experience of dealing with French bureaucracy, people have found interesting teaching posts.
Many people wanting to stay in France long-term have set up a company of their own. These days it is possible to set up as an 'auto-entrepreneur' if you are permanently resident which means that you are effectively freelance. You can work for different language schools if you wish and also completely independently as a consultant. This is what some people wishing to teach Business English have done. Companies respond well to the fact that you have a company (however small!) and feel that they are more likely to receive a professional service. The rate of pay available for people teaching business English is also significantly higher than general English so €30+ an hour or more would not be at all unusual. Note that being self-employed, and running your own company, means that you will need to pay your own social security contributions so you will need to charge a higher rate per hour.
If you are looking for reputable language schools you could check the Fédération de la Formation Professionnelle - FFP (French Training Federation) which has a list as a starting point. You could also try the Pages Jaunes (Yellow Pages). Another possibility is the British Council which should have a list.
Where possible, make direct contact with language schools if this is where you would like to work. Making direct contact with schools and, hopefully, a senior teacher/manager, and handing in your CV, will mean that they are more likely to call you when a vacancy arises. Whether this vacancy is just one hour of teaching or a whole month, always try to say 'yes'. If you can show that you are available, flexible, friendly, imaginative and easy to contact via mobile or email, schools are more likely to call you again and again.
Teaching via the Internet is growing and you may be able to do this independently if you can source your own students, or for a language school. Your rate of pay will depend on a number of factors but expect about €10 for a 30-minute session.
It is easier for EU nationals to live and work in France but it is not unusual to find Americans or Canadians teaching English either freelance or with language schools. The bureaucracy can sometimes be a problem in France but people with a good level of French will manage if they are committed to living and working in France.
Completing the TESOL-direct 150-hour Associateship in TESOL will provide you with the skills you need to teach English in France. Having a TESOL Certificate in Teaching Business English will significantly improve your skills, and your CV, and could lead to higher rates of pay working for a language school, or directly with a company.
Note that whether you have a TESOL or TEFL certificate is unimportant. Both acronyms refer to precisely the same style of training and both are accepted by all employers. We offer TEFL courses on our sister-site www.englishtc.co.uk .
Please don't hesitate to contact us for advice on gaining an English teaching qualification by distance learning.