Updated: Apr 23, 2022
What is it like teaching English in France? I interviewed Camden who has been living in France and working as an English teacher at the collegiate level. She shares how she got started, her experiences while there, and more.
The traveling teachers series is all about people who travel and you guessed it – teach! Each interview features a different teacher, traveling to a different place, and teaching a unique group of students. So often we hear of people teaching abroad, but what is it really like? How do you find opportunities?
There are many questions surrounding traveling and teaching. Through this series, I hope you are inspired by the good work going on around the world, learn, and start to think about ways you can travel and teach abroad yourself. I’m excited to share the truth about how to teach English in France with you.
If you plan to be a traveling teacher, a TESOL certification is a great way to start. I got mine through International Open Academy for just $19! Highly recommend this as a first step in your traveling teacher journey.
This week I am excited to bring you a story about Camden’s experience teaching English in France! Camden has taught in different places in France, but most recently in the South of France! What a dream. She shares with us how she found the opportunity to teach English in France and details about how you can too. You can find her on Instagram here.
What inspired you to start teaching English in France?
I studied to become a French teacher, but I wanted to spend some time in France improving my language skills before teaching. Obviously, I couldn’t teach French in France as an American, so I decided to teach my native language instead!
How long have you taught and where?
For the past four years, I’ve taught in the east of France near Switzerland, in Paris, and most recently in the south of France!
How did you find your teaching position?
I got my first teaching gig through the Teaching Assistant Program in France, which I applied to after college. I also worked as an assistant in a private school in Paris when I studied abroad for a year for my Master’s degree. I found my current teaching position as a “lectrice d’anglais” at a university on the Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur website.
Are any of your expenses covered with the teaching experience?
The region where I was placed as a teaching assistant with TAPIF provided me with cheap housing at the school where I worked and a salary of around 800€ per month. As a “lectrice” at a university, I don’t have any expenses covered, but the salary is much better than that of a teaching assistant.
Are you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching?
Yes! France has so many school vacations and holidays, so there is a lot of free time for traveling. The train system here in France is also very well connected so it’s not difficult to see other parts of the country. One of the many reasons I love France is the diversity of all the different regions. I’ve visited big bustling cities, charming villages, snow capped mountains, acres of vineyards, and coastal Mediterranean towns while teaching abroad in France.
What are interactions with students like?
As a TAPIF assistant, I worked with small groups of teenagers. Some were not very motivated, while others loved English. Overall, I had a fun time playing games and doing fun activities to help them practice speaking. Now that I work at a university, most of my students have a higher level of English so we can tackle more advanced topics and have deeper conversations.
What is your favorite part of your teaching experiences?
The cultural exchange! I love helping my students feel more confident with English and sharing my insight about anglophone culture. Plus, I learn a lot from them too. I’ve also met so many new international friends and even my boyfriend while abroad. If I hadn’t have moved to France my social exchanges and life experiences wouldn’t have been as enriching.
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?
Study the language and culture before arriving and keep an open mind! Living in another country is an amazing opportunity, but you should also be prepared for culture shock and communication struggles. It does get better with time, you just have to persevere and enjoy the new experiences!
You can find more specific advice and information on how to teach English in France by reaching out to Camden on Instagram. Be sure to check out her website as well Baguettes and Bicyclettes. You can also read about teaching English in Paris in another traveling teacher feature and find more about other traveling teachers on my resource page!