As the most visited country in the world, France is unsurprisingly a sought-after destination for English teachers. However, when it comes to job hunting the question remains: where do you start? Depending on where in the world you hail from, there are a variety of teaching jobs available to suit nearly everyone. The following options are five of the best.
While you’ll encounter many British English teachers in France thanks to the proximity to the UK, assistantships such as TAPIF are a great way for Americans to get a foot in the door of the industry. With over 27,000 TAPIF alumni in the US, the program is extremely popular and highly competitive as a result.
During their 7-month contract, teachers will teach 12 hours per week in up to 3 schools, leading conversation classes for a monthly stipend of €790, with healthcare included. Although accommodation isn’t provided, some schools may help with the process of finding somewhere affordable for your stay.
The assistantship runs from October to April every year, and applications for 2023-2024 are currently open until January 15th 2023. To have the best possible chance at securing a spot, applicants should have at least a B1 proficiency in French, previous teaching experience, and should also hold a degree or be in the process of studying for one.
Though not required, a TEFL qualification could also go a long way in improving your odds of being accepted. For more information, take the tefl org survey here on the best course for you to teach English abroad. Unfortunately, TAPIF does have additional criteria regarding who can apply, and only accepts applications from people aged 20-35. If you fall outside of this bracket, don’t lose heart; France is not short of assistantships and other ESL job opportunities.
Language centres can be found throughout France, especially in big cities like Paris or Lyon. What sets them apart from other teaching positions is that, generally, employers aren’t as strict when it comes to the requirements teachers need to land a job. Some may request that teachers have a degree to be eligible to apply, but many other centres won’t. So as long as you have a TEFL qualification, you should be good to go.
Bear in mind that it’s standard practice to do your research before applying. As this is the private sector, there will be language centres with better reputations than the others. Failure to do so could mean securing a job that requires a lot of commuting across the city throughout the day and working strange hours that are organized to fit around the working schedules of your students.
Brits and Americans should also look into visa requirements. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a language centre that is willing to sponsor a work visa. Acquiring a temporary work permit might be easier for British citizens, but this is something to do your homework on post-Brexit.
Teaching English at a university in France is one of the best-paid jobs in the industry, but unfortunately also one of the hardest to find. Thanks to the generous teaching salaries as well as visa sponsorship, these positions are highly sought after and competition is fierce. If you’re looking to apply for an opening, you will need to be a highly qualified teacher with an MA and an impressive resume.
As these roles are hard to come by, your best bet is to keep an eye on job boards like those on dreamjob.ma, contact the universities you’d like to work with directly or ask around. It’s not uncommon for candidates to be contacted on a word-of-mouth basis, so be proactive and let your reputation and experience speak for themselves.
Another possible entry route into teaching at universities is to apply for an adjunct faculty position. To do this you will need to be a freelancer and have another source of income as teachers are normally paid at the end of the academic term that they teach, as opposed to every month. As it is an adjunct role, and not permanent, these types of positions do not usually offer visa sponsorship.
For those on a student visa, private tutoring is a popular way to make a bit of extra cash. On a student visa, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, so if you want to dip your toe into the ESL industry during your time in France, this is a great option.
Typically, private tutors charge around €15 – €25 per hour, depending on the type of English that you’re teaching, and how many students. As a rule of thumb, you can charge more for more specialized English classes such as Business or Legal English.
To break into the private tutoring sector, networking is key. You need to establish a reliable network of students, and that can be harder in big cities like Paris where you’ll face more competition from other freelance teachers, though it’s not impossible. Consider a cancellation policy too for your students, to ensure you have a reliable income coming in each month.
Despite there not being a specific visa for digital nomads in France, it’s still possible to teach English online, just through a slightly different route. You’ll need to apply for a visa to be considered self-employed and demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself.
It is illegal to work remotely on just a tourist visa or visa-free stay, so no matter how tempting it may be, it’s not worth it in the long run as it could jeopardize your chances to stay in France long-term if you’re caught.
The biggest advantage of teaching online is that you can establish your clientele before making the move. This will make the visa application process that much smoother as you’ll be able to demonstrate the profitability of your business and ensure that you’re set up and ready to start contributing financially as a taxpayer upon your arrival.
Overall, whether you just want a bit of life experience in a new country or to establish a career in ESL teaching, there is something for everyone in France. Teaching English means that a fleeting visit doesn’t have to be all you’ll ever know about French culture. How long you choose to stay is completely up to you.
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