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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine November/December 2002
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Teaching English in France as a Teaching Assistant

Teach at schools in France
Teach at schools in France.

Why work as an English assistant in France? First, because it’s one of the easiest jobs to find in France without physically being there. From the perspective of the French Ministry of Education, which 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, with over 2,000 people applying to receive roughly 1,100 available positions.

Among the requirements for the job are the completion of a major or minor in French or three semesters of French and two letters of recommendation. You also must be a U.S. citizen aged from 20 to no more than 35 years of age. Experience with TEFL and ESL is an edge to demonstrate your training and experience in the classroom, as the website describes in detail. You will a stipend of €790 (net/month).

The contract is from October 1st through April 30th. 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 January and didn’t receive the acceptance letter until April 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 visit on the Teaching Assistant Program in France go to

More more opportunities, 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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