- Overseas Jobs Teaching French
- Are the Teaching Jobs Permanent or Temporary?
- What does the teaching role involve?
- What Countries Can I Work In?
- What is the Application Process?
- Can I Teach Overseas While Learning French as Part of My Degree?
- What if I Don't Want to Teach or my French isn't Good Enough?
Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
International students are the bread and butter of most universities when it comes to finances. However, they also play an important role in international relations, communication and understanding.
In pre-Covid times, there were plenty of opportunities to study overseas — and we will get back to this, so it's worth thinking about it now. A little advanced planning never hurts.
There are a number of programs, such as Erasmus, EF and CIS Australia, where students can apply for short or long term study opportunities in a range of countries.
Alternatively, you might like to work or volunteer overseas to gain in-country speaking and listening experience.
One of the most enjoyable ways to experience life overseas is through working in a school. If you speak both French and English, you might want to consider applying for a position teaching French classes for foreign language students. Not only will you be using your language skills to help other students, but living overseas is a great way to develop your own language skills and cultural knowledge.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about teaching French overseas.
Overseas Jobs Teaching French
There are a number of independently run programs you can apply for that will set you up with a position teaching French. Often, there are a number of conditions applicants must meet, such as age limits, but don't worry if you don't fit the criteria — they are not the only way to secure a position overseas as a teacher.
Most Australians, when they are looking at working overseas, feel they will have to teach English. There's nothing wrong with that but if you have a good speaking proficiency level, and a sound knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, there is no reason you can't help with French classes or tutoring in other countries.
There are jobs available in a range of school settings — from primary school to university — or you could apply for a position as a teacher in a language school, company or advertise your services as a private French tutor.
Are the Teaching Jobs Permanent or Temporary?
As with all jobs, the length of time you are in the job is between you and your employer. Being overseas, however, there may be different stipulations for the foreign teacher but if you have the skills and all the right paperwork, it shouldn't be an issue.
Learning a language takes a long time, learning French is no different. Ongoing, regular lessons in a class run by a teacher with good speaking, listening, reading and writing skills themselves is going to provide optimum opportunities for French language students.
Advantages of teaching overseas
- Your language skills will improve in all areas (speaking, listening, reading, writing and vocabulary and grammar development).
- You get great job satisfaction when you help students learn and improve their language skills.
- You can earn while you learn (about language, culture and how to be a better teacher).
What does the teaching role involve?
The time you spend with students in French classes will vary depending on the country you are in, and the school setting. Remember, too, that you need to factor in preparation time for your lessons and courses. And possibly out-of-hours work, including marking and revision.
As well as the actual lessons taught in class, you may also be required to:
- run a French language club after school
- organise trips and extra-curricular activities
- help students with revision for exams or language certification
- provide lessons on French culture
- help students with conversation practice
- provide extra help to beginners who are having difficulty, or students who have advanced skills.
Overall, your role as a teacher, both in your French classes and outside, is to help students engage with the French language and culture.
What about French language assistants?
The difference between a teacher and a language assistant is simple — the teacher organises and runs the French classes, and the French language assistant's job is to help the teacher.
A teacher is also, understandably, paid more than a language assistant.
What Countries Can I Work In?
Where you can work will depend on the program you are using. If you're not applying for a program, then the choice is yours — as long as you're prepared to do the leg work.
Many countries, such as the UK, USA, Canada, China and Germany, are always looking for teachers to run their French classes. Remember that each country will be different, from the salary and class time to the class sizes and course expectations. The amount of time you can stay in a school, as a foreign teacher, will be different in different countries too.
French is a popular language to learn across the world. So is English, so if you have skills in French and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualifications, you'll be able to provide French lessons and English lessons. Instantly, you'll be more employable and valuable as a teacher.
If you feel you need to improve your French conversation skills first, or brush up on your vocabulary and grammar, why not enrol in an online class today?
What is the Application Process?
The important question is: how do you apply for overseas teaching jobs?
As mentioned, requirements are different depending on each country, however, in general you will need evidence of two things:
- extensive French language study (undergraduate degree in languages) with a high level of language proficiency
- undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications in teaching.
Evidence is usually required in the form of transcripts and certification. Your university will provide help with these documents.
Your university or school may also have contacts with other education institutions around the world. Sometimes they will have reciprocal arrangements and exchange teacher programs. It's worthwhile asking about these.
Many overseas education institutions and schools advertise their teaching positions internationally and there is also nothing wrong with contacting the school or institution where you're interested in working and pitching yourself. Look online regularly. Check out online job databases and regularly check school online sites.
In all cases, when you are applying for any position you will need to provide:
- your CV or resume
- a cover letter
- a certified copy of your degree or other relevant qualifications
- identification documentation.
In some cases, you may need to sit a proficiency test or provide evidence of your language proficiency level. References from past employers or supervisors, who can attest to your teaching skills, are also useful.
Remember that the academic year in other countries will not necessarily be the same as that in Australia. Be aware of these. There's not really much point in applying right at the start of the school year, when the school will already have every teacher they need.
Can I Teach Overseas While Learning French as Part of My Degree?
Some students like to take a gap year during their degree to gain practical, in-country experience — this can be very beneficial in the long run. If you would like to do this, you may qualify to apply for a teaching assistant program overseas. This probably won't give you credits towards your degree, but it will give you valuable experience.
Always discuss your plans with your university to make sure your time away does not impact the attainment of your degree. (It will put you a year behind, but that should be all.)
You may find you have the option to do a course or two overseas, which you can count towards your degree at home.
What if I Don't Want to Teach or my French isn't Good Enough?
Whatever you decide to do, living in another country and experiencing a different way of life, is rewarding. You do not have to teach if that isn't your thing.
If teaching is your thing, but your French level isn't good enough — don't forget about English teaching. Lots of students do this part time at a language school (which don't always require a degree qualification). Or, you can take a working holiday, pick up casual work and enjoy immersing yourself in another culture.
If you want to study, there are often internships or short university courses available.
Be patient. Try new things. Be open to new experiences. Develop new skills. Listen, read, and speak. Learn lots.
And remember, Superprof is accessible everywhere. While you're away, you could arrange for some private, online tuition to help you maximise your experiences and improve your skills.
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