Teaching Assistant Program in France
87% Rating
(16 Reviews)

Teaching Assistant Program in France

Teach English in France! Are you ready to expand your cultural horizons and share your language and culture with French students? The Teaching Assistant Program in France offers you the opportunity to work in France for 7 to 9 months, teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year, nearly 1,500 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and in the overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Gabriella
Female
26 years old
Petaluma, CA
Saint Mary's College of California

Independence Through TAPIF

8/10

TAPIF was a real lesson in independence in another country, for me. Although the word "program" is in the name, TAPIF provides more of a loose outline for what is provided, and what happens as a result, is very much up to you. For instance, you are assigned a specific school, or perhaps multiple schools, however work hours and conditions are something you need to discuss with teachers and administrators. Often times, teachers are so thankful to have you at their school and will want to make full use of you in their classrooms. It can be a very rewarding experience to work with kids ranging in ages from primary, middle, and high school ages, and gives many teaching assistants a good idea of how they feel about teaching.

As teaching assistants, you are paid about $1,039 per month, which is not much, however many make it stretch by nannying and doing other part-time jobs in the communities where they live. There is also a lot of free time to travel, as there are about two weeks of vacation every six weeks, and assistants work only 12 hours per week.

If you are interested in having a more immersive and rich experience with day-to-day life in France, TAPIF can allow you to meet and form relationships with the teachers you work with, the students you teach in the classroom, as well as with TAPIF assistants from around the world, and other community members. As always, the experience is what you make it, so don't be afraid to use your time there to explore and form as many relationships as possible!

How can this program be improved?

Many TAPIF American teaching assistants do not understand that this is not the type of program that provides a lot of "hand holding". This is by no means a bad thing, but I believe this could be better communicated to its applicants to avoid misunderstandings.

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Rachel
Female
27 years old
Stamford, CTO
Southern Connecticut State University

Challenging, but worthwhile

8/10

I participated in the TAPIF program during the 2014-2015 school year in two middle schools located in very rural southern France communities.

As someone with previous teaching experience (in Peace Corps and AmeriCorps), I definitely walked into TAPIF thinking that I knew what was in store for me. Turns out, I was totally wrong! The things that I thought I would have difficulty with (language, making friends, etc) were the easiest - and the most difficult was the actual job. It was difficult in the sense that there is a set curriculum for English at every level of the French education system, so there was already a plan for what I would do, what I would teach to what grades, etc. All my previous teaching positions had required a much larger amount of creativity from me, as I created the curricula, all the content, and implementation. I serious lacked this with TAPIF.

But with that being said, you only work 12 hours a week. Your job is so minimal that you have so much time to make the most of your year abroad. I took yoga classes, traveled, read so many books, go to concerts.. As long as you're willing to roll with the punches and make lemonade out of a few lemons (if you happen to stumble across them!), you'll cherish this year in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

How can this program be improved?

There should be more coordination between the regional language director (the person who places you in your schools, hosts the trainings, and is your general contact for any questions / concerns during the year) and the school in which you work. The schools often lacked or misunderstood the fundamentals of what the English Teaching Assistant position was supposed to be. For example, as a teaching assistant at the elementary level, I was never supposed to be alone in the classroom - but often found myself that way when teachers would utilize that time to make copies or plan for a later class. Problems like these were easily resolved once I spoke with the regional language director, but could easily be resolved if participating school teachers underwent a sort of training seminar before a ETA was placed in their school.

Another thing I would change - extend the position to the entire school year! I missed out on a couple really awesome events at the end of the school year that I would have loved to go to because the program only runs October through April.

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Justine
Female
26 years old
New Jersey
Rutgers University

When you won't be home for Christmas

9/10

I taught English in France's public school system for the 2013-2014 school year. I was a little sad about spending Christmas away from my family and having a holiday break with nothing to do since all my activities would be on hiatus.

The night before the vacation started, I asked my co-teacher what I had to prepare, and she told me just to bring myself. The next day, she brought me to the classroom to witness a grand surprise: The students had decorated the classroom, written "Merry Christmas Justine" on the board, dressed up, brought food and desserts, and chipped in money to buy me a holiday present.

They told me, in their best English, that they wanted to give me a good Christmas since I'd be away from my family. It was one of the fondest and most memorable holidays I'd ever had, and it only happened because I was experiencing the season as a foreigner.

How can this program be improved?

I wish that the program coordinators had let us know in advance how difficult it would be to find housing, as well as some general tips and tricks on how to find appropriate living arrangements.

Rashaad
Male
36 years old
New Jersey
Coppin State University

A fast, fun and crazy way of working and living abroad

7/10

When I arrived in France to work as an assistant English teacher at a high school in Rouen, I didn't know what to expect. Neither France nor teaching was new to me - but teaching and living in France would be a unique experience. However, I was sure that I would get adjusted to the teaching aspect of living in France.

The teaching was no problem. As for the living aspect of my French stay... things I took for granted in the United States were just a little different in France. Such as swimwear attire - I was thrown out of a public swimming pool in France because my boxer-length swimming trunks were "prohibited." As soon as I was told that, I noticed all of the other guys were wearing speedos. And of course, dealing with all the bureaucracy was frustration.

But where else can you be considered cool, work 12 hours a week, treat yourself to delicious cheese and be charmed by people with a sexy accent? As well as get kissed by cute people on the cheek. You can also protest with students at your school and be invited to hang out with them afterwards. And have plenty of time to explore a beautiful country and continent. There's only one job in one country.

How can this program be improved?

I would change a couple of things. First, I would change the length of the contract. When I was an assistant in France, the assistants (working at high schools) had seven-month contracts. I wish we had eight or nine month contracts. Also, I would have like to have worked more than 12 hours a week. There were weeks when I worked eight or nine hours per week and that was too few.

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Kaleena
Female
27 years old
Seattle, WA
Oberlin College

TAPIF: A Fun French Challenge

10/10

I spent eight months teaching in France through TAPIF (Teaching Abroad Program in France). It was a challenging experience--I worked in a small town in the middle of no where--but one I wouldn't trade for anything.

Everyone who does this program will have a different experience. A lot of it depends on where you are placed--in a big city or a small town. It also depends a lot on if you are placed with other assistants or alone (as I was). At the beginning I was really anxious about living alone in this tiny town but it was a priceless experience, especially for developing my French. I lived with two French teachers--one of which was also new to town. My French improved dramatically over the eight months that I spent there. Another bonus of small town living is that it's cheap!! So I was able to take the generous time off (you only work 12 hours a week + there is an academic break of two weeks every six weeks) to travel and explore Europe.

Yes it was challenging. It could be hard to be alone. But I was able to do and see so much. I would definitely recommend this program, but advise prospective applicants that it's a growing experience and that it wouldn't be without certain challenges.

How can this program be improved?

I would make it easier for assistants to connect with each other.

Program Listings

France

Teaching Assistant Program in France
Teach English in France! Are you ready to expand your cultural horizons and share your language and culture with French stude...