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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine November/December 2002
Related Topics
Teaching English Abroad
Teaching English in France Programs and Resources
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Teaching English in France: A Step-by-Step Guide
Teaching English in Paris, France

Teach English in France

Work as a Teaching Assistant

Why work as an English assistant in France? First, because it’s the easiest job to find in France without physically being there. From the perspective of the French Ministry of Education, which recently started recruiting kindergarten through high school English assistants, your ability to speak English fluently is in such high demand that the normal problems of obtaining a work visa are waived.

The requirements for the job are the completion of a major or minor in French and two letters of recommendation. You also must be a U.S. citizen and no more than 29 years of age.The job does not require fluency in French.

The contract is from October to the end of April, with three 2-week breaks in between. The breaks are a wonderful opportunity to explore outside of France. I came home for the Christmas break and traveled to Egypt and Ireland during the winter and spring breaks.

Don’t expect everything to be planned for you. You may have to wait a long time to even hear if you are accepted. I applied in February and didn’t receive the acceptance letter until July to start the job in October.

Finally, the location of your school and your responsibilities are not up to you. The French Ministry of Education hires for schools throughout France, so you may not get your first choice. Also, because the English assistant position is a fairly new one, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about what the English assistant’s role really is within the school. For example, I rarely had the opportunity to teach, and, when I did, it was always with the primary English teacher by my side. Some of my friends, on the other hand, were solely responsible for their classes.

For more information on the Teaching Assistant Program in France go to

See Susan Griffith's article on Teaching English in Europe for a more detailed discussion, links and advice on teaching English in France.

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