Does anyone teach English as a foreign language in France?

(22 Posts)
Booboostoo Sat 20-Jun-15 08:18:39

How did you get into it? Did you train/re-train and what courses did you find useful?

When we lived in the UK I worked ft as an academic (philosophy) but I am now SAHM. My French is not good enough to teach philosophy in France but I was wondering if TEFL might be a career option in a couple of years when the kids are both at school. My DD's maternelle has asked me to offer short sessions in English on a volunteer basis so I have done an online course on TEFL in primary years which was very interesting and I was wondering whether I might expand on that.

OP’s posts: |
Bonsoir Sat 20-Jun-15 08:36:43

I don't teach English as a foreign language but I do do occasional English tutoring for IELTS, writing personal statements and job applications as well as for a couple of DC with learning difficulties (dyslexia). I only do this because people ask me and as a favour. IMO with your background as an academic you would find it more interesting and more lucrative to teach clever teens and adults - the shortage of good EFL tuition in this market in France is massive. Do you have a local Grande Ecole de Commerce? They always need native speakers profs.

Bonsoir Sat 20-Jun-15 08:37:38

How about asking a private Prépa if they would like Philosophy tuition in English?

Bonsoir Sat 20-Jun-15 08:39:39

Basically I am pretty sure that some Prépa or Grande Ecole would jump at the chance to employ you to teach in English!

Bonsoir Sat 20-Jun-15 08:41:13

If you want a couple of people to talk to about working in a Grande Ecole de Commerce, please pm me and I will give you details/introductions.

SunshineAndShadows Sat 20-Jun-15 08:44:11

A few of my friends have done this via TEFL and then worked for private companies like Wall Street teaching

ChilliMum Sat 20-Jun-15 08:48:06

I teach at the chambre de commerce. I did my celta did a quick Google search for learning English in my area and then sent a cv to every organisation that teaches English. I started work within a month.

I fit it around the kids and I love it and it is helping my french too. Pm me if you have any questions.


Booboostoo Sat 20-Jun-15 09:00:14

Thank you everyone.

I should have also said we live in the middle of nowhere, rural area an hour out of Toulouse and I am not familiar with the French educational system. I assume Toulouse will have opportunities for all kinds of things, but the long commute would be very difficult.

Thank you for the offers of more information, I will PM.

OP’s posts: |
Bonsoir Sat 20-Jun-15 09:40:08

You could negotiate one or two days a week at Toulouse Business School. The friends we have who teach at Grandes Ecoles aren't doing 9-5 Mon-Fri - they do several jobs.

Booboostoo Sat 20-Jun-15 10:47:57

That sounds very promising, thanks Bonsoir, will PM you.

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justwondering72 Sun 21-Jun-15 06:59:37

Hope you don't mind me jumping in as I'm in a similar position to you - former researcher, PhD, now living in France and considering looking for work, but my French is far from perfect. Virtually every woman I know teaches English (language) here now though very few started off in this field! It's the go-to option for every trailing spouse that wants to work. And they all seem to have taken very different paths to it and carving out different niches - some are TEFL qualified, many aren't, some teach in private schools / prepa / etc, others work for commercial providers eg Wall Street, Berlitz etc, others do private lessons or phone lessons. The pay and conditions vary hugely.

My question is - my French is not great, and I would struggle to negotiate / discuss with a french speaking employer. Will they take me seriously as a result?

Other question... Is it worth doing a TEFL? Opinion among my friends is very divided on this. I'm not trying to be self righteous, but I feel pretty uncomfortable about taking money to teach people when I have little teaching experience and no qualified teacher status.

Booboostoo Sun 21-Jun-15 08:32:57

Not at all Justwondering.

I did a version of the TEFL many, many years ago and it was purely exam based. I think things have changed a lot now. There are many different providers, some offering online versions, some offering teaching practice in a classroom. I did a short, online course with the British Council and that was very good but it did assume some teaching experience, e.g. we were asked to create specific exercises, or develop lesson plans, or respond to particular problems and I think it would have been difficult to do all this without a background in some kind of teaching.

OP’s posts: |
Bonsoir Sun 21-Jun-15 08:55:40

My opinion of TEFL (which I haven't done myself) is that it is useful for teaching beginners/intermediate students. However, if you want to teach advanced students who already have a good command of English (and tbh this is where the interest, money and teacher shortages lie) it isn't useful.

Bonsoir Sun 21-Jun-15 09:00:22

Also - if you are female, have a non-French EU passport and a PhD, the Grandes Ecoles are crying out for you on their staff to improve their rankings!

justwondering72 Sun 21-Jun-15 20:17:19

Bonsoir, I've been told much the same by friends here, some of whom are working in grande ecoles and other universities, and I find it so hard to believe. In the UK I would seriously struggle to get any job in any decent uni - I have no publishing record, a 7 year career break, I don't speak the local language fluently, I'm completely out of touch with the literature and research in my field etc. What am I missing here? Are UK unis and French ones not comparable? Are there employment options here that don't exist in the UK? Please explain if you can, I just can't get my head around it!

Bonsoir Sun 21-Jun-15 20:34:46

A Grande Ecole de Commerce is not a university or a public research institution - it is a teaching-focused business school. All the Grandes Ecoles de Commerce lack native speaker English teaching staff. Providing your PhD is in a domain with a reasonable relationship to something taught on the course, you should be able to find work. Research your closest Grande Ecole de Commerce and see whether you can identify something you could do for it.

justwondering72 Sun 21-Jun-15 21:08:43

Ahh, that makes sense. So there isn't really an equivalent in the UK? And they aren't universities, no research or publishing, but they are still the top tier here?

Thank you for your help, sorry to hijack your thread op smile

AuldAlliance Sun 21-Jun-15 22:15:55

Be very wary about the type of contract they offer you.

"Vacataires", which is what many institutions will be looking for, need to have other employment so their SS and other "charges" are covered, and are paid twice yearly.
If you have other work to keep you going, that's fine, but otherwise it's not an ideal way to earn a living...

Bonsoir Mon 22-Jun-15 06:14:23

"Vacataires" do not count in the statistics that boost rankings though. If you have a PhD and are a foreign woman you are manna from heaven for the stats wink

Bonsoir Mon 22-Jun-15 06:18:14

justwondering72 - Grandes Ecoles de Commerce are not known for being particularly intellectually challenging. The really hard part is Prepa (two year course leading to a competitive entrance exam) rather than the GE itself, which teaches technical skills and gets students internships.

justwondering72 Tue 23-Jun-15 14:28:58

Ahh, I see. I was assuming that because they are seen as the top tier, producing heads of state and captains of industry, that they were like the Russell group of France, Oxford and Cambridge equivalents Doh, I should have twigged that rote learning and the memorising of facts was what really counts in the French education system, from maternelle all the way up to the grande ecoles! Well I can see now why my friends who work in them keep encouraging me to apply. Thank you for all the info smile I hope you've got something useful out of this hijack OP;)

Bonsoir Tue 23-Jun-15 17:18:29

The real clever clogs go to Ecole Normale Superieure! And then they subsist in a life of the mind and earn peanuts!

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