Teaching Assistant in France Program

Teaching Assistant Program in France

About

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.

Headquarters

4101 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington D.C, DC 20007
United States

Reviews

Ari
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

This is by far the worst job I have ever had. I understand it’s the luck of the draw with schools, teachers and placement, but why does that have to be the case. Living in Paris should 100% mean more compensation than 790€ a month to pay monthly expenses of over 1000€ a month. Living in Paris is not cheap and they should know that.

The only perks comes outside of the classroom which I don’t consider perks at all. You have time to travel yes, but no money to do so. You get a visa, but are not allowed to exceed 30% of your income with a second job.

If you’re as unlucky as I was, you are placed in a school that never requested an assistant to begin with, so not only do they not WANT to deal with you and your paperwork, they don’t know how. I was informed at orientation that our secretaries would handle our social security, come to find out when it’s too late, that my friends and I have not received it and thus no health insurance. So we ended up paying for health insurance we could never use. On top of that, the schools are unforgiving when calling out, even months in advance. So in consequence, you have to go to work with debilitating fevers because you have no health insurance and no money to pay the 20€ out of pocket to see a doctor every week. It is important to know that you will most likely get sick considering working with kids and working in a new country.

Overall, this company places you in France but does nothing to help you process in assimilating nor compensates for the costs. The only benefits come from when you are not working, which should not be considered benefits if the job didn’t provide it. There are many legit companies that will send you abroad, pay for your ticket to get there and accommodations long enough for you to get assimilated. All of that, which a reasonable, livable salary.

There were times that I didn’t have money for food. I will be writing to me school to stop endorsing this program.

What would you improve about this program?
It needs to pay a livable salary if you will not allow more hours or a second job.
Kyle
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

For those looking to teach for TAPIF, I would advise you to look elsewhere. The reasons for this are as follows:
1. The monthly stipend is not sufficient. Given the low amount of pay, it is nearly impossible to enjoy living in France. I had many financial difficulties, and I think that it is irresponsible for TAPIF to suggest at every step of the process that the stipend is sufficient for living. To suggest that students tutor on the side to make ends meet is also irresponsible, given that such activity is illegal.
2. The organization is extremely disorganized. Not only are assistants given very little training, but they are given very little advice in terms of how to deal with the day-to-day hassles of living in France. I was given contradictory information, told that I had free housing (when in fact the opposite was true) and not supported in the least by the program in terms of my desire to develop as a teacher.
3. The suggestion that assistants apply for CAF is misleading. In truth, the CAF system is extremely disorganized and unreliable. Assistants should not be told that they will get the money allotted to them. Furthermore, assistants should not be told to leave open their bank accounts after the program is over. I am currently dealing with a huge headache given the fact that my bank account is overdrawn and the CAF money TAPIF told me would be transferred is never going to come.

There are many other minor complaints that I have about this program, but these are the glaring issues. I think, overall, that the program presents a false reality at every step of the process. Be wary.

Response from Teaching Assistant Program in France

The organization takes feedback from Teaching Assistants seriously. We have passed this feedback along to the CIEP, the agency in France that oversees all 4,500 Teaching Assistants each year.

The CIEP has contacted the school in which Mr. Dunn was placed to ensure that the miscommunication regarding housing options does not occur again. The stipend is set by the French government and communicated to all applicants and assistants throughout the process.

We will take into consideration this feedback regarding the CAF in future communications and guidebooks for Teaching Assistants. The program has no authority over the CAF, a French government housing subsidy for which some Teaching Assistants are eligible. The program does not guarantee the CAF subsidy.

We appreciate feedback and take it seriously to better inform program improvements.

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Anna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Teaching Assistant Program in France allows you to live and work in France as an English Language Assistant for 7 months (October-April). The program helps you procure a visa and but once you arrive in France, the program is basically done with you, aside from a making sure you are able to take the necessary steps to validate your visa. If you're looking for advice, or need your hand-held that's not happening. While I had tutoring experience, I wasn't quite prepared for how difficult teaching can be, especially being stationed in a vocational school where the students were understandably more interested in their work placements than learning English. Still, most of the staff where I worked were kind, welcoming and interested in American life and I was very happy with the accommodation I rented at the school (although most of the people I asked agreed, the rent was unusually high). As an African American assigned to a small town in Northern France, I was surprised by the amount of diversity I encountered. I never felt uncomfortable.

I wish we had received a better orientation, something that would explain the French school system to us and offered us some pedagogy and advice about classroom management. Two hours worth of workshops do not prepare you to stand up in a classroom full of French high school students, and your high school and college French classes may not have given you the adequate vocabulary to give a student a good talking to! Still, I had a great experience overall. I had my favorite groups and teachers to work with, and the other language assistants at the school where I worked were awesome. Although we weren't all from the same country, and didn't all speak English, I really made two lifelong friends. They were my main support system and we operated as both friends and family while abroad. I knew they always had my back. France offers ample school vacations and I was able to use that time to travel to several different countries. The school even allowed me extra time off when my family came to visit. I learned an amazing amount, met people from countless other countries, solo traveled out of the States for the first time and really broadened my horizons. Would definitely recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
More supports from the program immediately after arrival such as an explanation of the French school system, for example grade levels and grading.
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Gabriella
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Justine D

Justine D'Souza credits an interest in foreign language and culture to growing up with immigrant parents in a homogeneous Jersey suburb. After graduating from college, she interned in Washington DC, went to France to teach English, came back to America to teach French, and currently works for a New York city not for profit.
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Why did you pick this program?

I chose TAPIF because it would enhance my French fluency while giving me the opportunity to teach English to a population whose native language I'd understand.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

I tell them that it is an excellent but challenging endeavor. (And perhaps it is excellent because it is challenging!) Living abroad is irreplaceable among all other experiences.

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

Meet as many natives as possible, and always be willing to learn from them.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

I like to tell people about the dreadful experience of opening a bank accountand the wonderful experience of receiving a surprise party from my high school students and colleagues.

What should prospective travelers know about going to France?

1. It's good to know some conversational French beforehand. 2. The sights and foods are incredible. 3. It is a myth that all French people hate America.

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