France receives more foreign visitors than any other nation in the world and many of these come to teach English. Thousands of ESL teachers come to France each year to experience the history, culture, fashion, and cuisine. If you want to join them, have a read through the following guide to teaching English in France.
What are the basic requirements for teaching English in France?
As you will find in most of Western Europe, employers of foreign teachers in France generally expect their employees to have completed a TESOL certification course. Anyone who arrives without one is likely to struggle in what is a very competitive job market, where the majority of those applying will be TESOL certified.
What is the best way to apply for jobs teaching English in France?
If you are successful in applying for the government-run teaching assistant recruitment program known as TAPIF, you will have everything arranged without having to leave your home country. In contrast, most independent employers of ESL teachers in France prefer to interview and hire teachers face-to-face. The best approach is to simply arrive at the destination of your choice and immediately start visiting employers in person. Although this method might be a little daunting at first, the strong demand for English teachers in many areas means that those who take the initiative should get fast results.
When is the best time to apply for jobs teaching English in France?
If you intend to work as a private tutor you can arrive at almost anytime of the year and start looking for clients. The best time of year to apply for full-time positions in language schools is generally towards the end of the summer. From late August to early October many schools are looking to fill the positions that were vacated at the end of the previous school year. January is also a good option as a smaller number of jobs become available around this time.
What visa will I need to teach English in France?
EU citizens are in a great position as they do not need a visa to live and work in France for any length of time. This means that teachers from the UK and Ireland often have a significant advantage in the job market. For many non-EU passport holders it is notoriously difficult to get an official work permit which leads many teachers to simply work on their original tourist visa. Although this is technically illegal, it is still common practice and rarely becomes a problem for the thousands of foreign teachers who choose this route each year. There are a few alternatives for non-EU citizens, including taking a government approved French language course that might make you eligible for a student visa. This type of visa is a good option for some people as it also allows you to work as a teacher up to 20 hours per week. If you have a Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport and you are between 18 and 30 years old, you can also apply for a working holiday visa. This is a one year visa that allows some level of employment, although you should contact a French embassy or consulate in your home country to make sure you are aware of the specific restrictions it sets out.
How much money will I need to start teaching English in France?
For many teachers, it is necessary to travel to France without having a job in place. Although this is a common approach to finding a good job and most teachers have little trouble sorting something out quite quickly, you will need to have sufficient funds to see you through to your first paycheck. In most cases, a budget of $2000 to $3000 US dollars would be advisable.
What can I do to ensure I find a good job teaching English in France?
To give yourself the best chance of landing a good teaching job in France you should contact as many potential employers as you can find in your chosen area, regardless of whether they are actually advertising vacant positions or not. You should be able to find all the possible options via the local Yellow Pages, an online search, or by speaking to teachers in the area. The best approach is to actually visit them all in person rather than by email as this gives you a chance to make a good first impression and to sell yourself. Having a copy of your CV/resume and cover letter in French that you can leave behind with each employer can also be beneficial.
Can I earn extra money working as a private English tutor in France?
If you are a first-time teacher it might be difficult to find a full-time teaching job initially, so many teachers take on private students to supplement their part-time language school income. There is a high demand for private tutors in all the big cities, particularly for those with a decent level of the French language. You can promote your services via notice boards, local newspapers, and word of mouth. Although it might take a while to build up a lot of regular clients, any amount of extra work can make a big difference to your overall finances.