Alumni Spotlight: Sophie Priso

Sophie is an American living in Paris. She loves to explore and find new opportunities at home and elsewhere!

Why did you choose this program?

I have been a FSL (French as a Second Language) teacher for awhile now and figured that it would be much more practical that I teach English (my native tongue) in French schools. I have lots of experience teaching but desired to have a little more experience teaching in English specifically before I start teaching it at the beginning of this school year. I searched for programs I could complete in my home city, Paris, and that's how I found TEFL. It looked like a wonderful program, and it did not disappoint!

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Seeing as I am already a Paris resident, I didn't actually require any help organizing things that most students needed (for example: plane tickets, SIM cards, lodging, budgeting, transport options, dining options, communication in the foreign language, etc). Because of my lack of need in this area, I don't have a personal story to tell, though I know that the professor of this class, Steven Jacobson, was incredibly helpful to many of my classmates when it came to organization and pre-departure.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be open to the experience! I think you can get a ton out of this class if you are really willing to put yourself out there. I can be a pretty shy person, and during this class, I really tried to venture out of my comfort zone. I am so grateful I did! There are many opportunities for observation, teaching, and discussing,

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

During the week:

  • Monday-Thursday are spent in the classroom (10AM-5PM, but this can go longer).
  • Friday morning: Time out of class is meant to be dedicated to preparing lesson plans.
  • Evenings/Week-ends: Depending on how efficient one is during the week, the course will occasionally call for minor preparation in "non-class" time.
  • Homework: You have to do write-ups of observations, course lessons, and evaluations.
  • The fourth week: You will have three online final exams, they each take about thirty minutes and these are done during class time. The material is covered in class and in a manual given to students before the class starts.

Daily Schedule:

  • 10AM-1PM: Preparation, group discussion, teaching.
  • 1PM-2PM: Lunch.
  • 2:15PM-4:00PM: Teaching.
  • 4:00PM-5:00PM: Discussion and review of the day.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

This question doesn't apply to me, so I can't really answer it. However, I will say, don't be afraid to do this program if you don't know Paris or don't speak the language! Steven Jacobson, the professor, is an American. He is very friendly and willing to help with anything that may seem overwhelming! Plus, Paris is a pretty global city, and it won't be too hard to find someone who speaks English, Spanish, or German, so if you speak at least one of those languages, going to Paris without a word of French is definitely plausible!

Any last piece of advice for prospective students?

Don't be disillusioned by the communication with the New York office! Before you arrive in Paris, you will be in communication almost exclusively with them. I legitimately thought TEFL Paris was a scam because communication with the New York office was so terrible. However, your problems with them will be worth it once you arrive in Paris; the end result is worth the original struggle, promise! ;)