Updated: Apr 23, 2022
What is it like teaching English in Paris? I interviewed Amanda who teaches English at a public school in Paris. 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 this story from Amanda who is teaching English in Paris!
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This week I am excited to bring you a story about Amanda’s experience teaching English in Paris! Amanda and I connected via Instagram years ago and she has been living abroad in Paris for over four years! What a dream. She took the opportunity to start teaching full time in Paris after nannying there for two years. You’ll love hearing about her experience. She also shares about living and working in France on her website – Presque Perfection.
How long have you taught and where?
I teach in Paris, France, and have been officially teaching here since 2018. Before that, I participated in the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) program as an assistant English teacher here in Paris for two years.
What inspired you to start teaching English in Paris?
I was inspired to teach English by my own experience learning a foreign language in school! I started to study French in middle school and it was immediately my favorite subject. Speaking French opened so many interesting doors for me (hello, life abroad) and I couldn’t imagine not sharing that gift.
How did you find your teaching position?
I was looking for a way to stay in Paris after I completed two years as a nanny when I found the TAPIF program. It was a great decision! After two years in the program, the Inspectrice hired me as a full-time English teacher.
Are any of your expenses covered with the teaching experience?
No expenses are covered with the TAPIF program, unfortunately, but you get paid a small salary – around 800 euros a month depending on where you teach. As a full-time teacher, I get a full-time salary and some benefits, like half of my transportation fees reimbursed.
Are you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching?
In the TAPIF program, you only teach 12 hours a week so depending on how you organize your schedule, you have plenty of time to explore your home city. I was able to schedule all my classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so I had long weekends every weekend to be able to travel. Plus, as a teacher in France, around every 6 weeks you get two weeks of paid vacation time when the kids are on break, which I always use for travel.
What are interactions with students like?
In the TAPIF program, you go into the classrooms and assist the teachers with their English lessons – each teacher does something different. Mostly, I would prepare 30-minute lessons to present to the entire class, around 25-30 students. Other times I would help with pronunciation or cultural questions.
Now, I have my own classroom and teach my own class with a maximum of 15 students per class, 45 minutes a day. The students I teach are meant to already have a substantial level of English, so it’s not meant to be an English as a Second Language class. Instead, I follow Common Core standards and I get to design my own curriculum.
What is your favorite part of your teaching experiences?
I love getting to share my knowledge with my students and colleagues alike. I am to go-to for English questions in the school, which is really fun. I also love being able to be a walking/talking example of why we should learn multiple languages and of the kind of opportunities it might provide. The baguettes, cheese, and wine in France don’t hurt either. Also, being able to easily travel around Europe on long weekends is a huge plus.
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?
Find a way to make it work. It’s such an incredible experience that if you want to do it, don’t let anyone stop you. I would also say, don’t get discouraged. I often feel like I’m drowning in all that I don’t know; whether that’s things I don’t know about living in a foreign country, struggling to teach in a country that has values that are completely different than my own, cultural things I’ve never experienced, language mistakes; it can all be overwhelming and frustrating but if I can do it, you can too.
You can find more specific advice and information on international internships for education majors by reaching out to Amanda on Instagram and reading about her experience on her website. Find more about other traveling teachers on my resource page!