It’s difficult not to fall in love with Paris - with its romantic cobblestone streets and Belle Epoque architecture -- and see why so many travelers and dreamers flock to the city. No matter which arrondissement you are in, you’re bound to stumble upon small treasures and pockets of charm in the City of Light. As a teacher, you’ll discover that the distractions of Paris are nothing compared to the amount of opportunity that your TEFL course will bring to your career.
Earning your TEFL certificate in Paris will open up your eyes to not only the basics of teaching English, but also the cultural differences in the French classroom or workplace. You may find yourself learning French words or adopting local practices, as you aim to become an influential and proactive teacher in the ESL community.
4 Week TEFL Courses:
In 4 weeks, teachers are taught the standards for teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), and given practical methods to implement these skills. Earning your TEFL certificate in Paris allows teacher trainees to understand the nuanced differences in the educational system and its values - a subtlety you may not experience in an online course. In addition, you will be able to practice your TEFL course learnings in a real-life ESL classroom. Teacher trainees spend between 6-10 hours performing practice lessons, and even receive critical feedback from students and instructor (talk about practical!).
Combined TEFL Courses:
Less commonly offered by TEFL providers, the combined online and in-class TEFL course is a rare, but convenient option for teachers in Paris. The standard combined course will include a 100-hour or 120-hour online TEFL course (completed at your own pace), followed by two weeks in Paris, where teachers will complete their live teaching practice and observation portion. This is a great course for those who are short on time, or unable to commit to straight 4 weeks of training.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look:
The best time to take your TEFL course is in the spring. Schools and recruiters will begin hiring in June and July, as August is a holiday month (most offices and schools are completely shut down in August). Plan ahead and start your TEFL course in April or May, or even earlier to be safe! Note that a standard course is 4 weeks long (and the provider will arrange housing only during those 4 weeks).
To enroll in a TEFL course, you must be over the age of 18 and a fluent English speaker. However, if you are planning to teach in France, upon completion of your course, you must also hold a bachelor’s degree. The French government requires all of its foreign English teachers to hold a degree from a 4-year college/university.
After completing your TEFL course in Paris, you will need to decide where to begin your job search. While there are opportunities in France, many of the programs have strict requirements. For example, France’s government-sponsored teaching programs require their teachers to be under the age of 29 years and a U.S. citizen. This program, organized by the French Ministry of Education, places young teachers in schools around the country as assistant language teachers.
Another option is to teach at a language school or through a large business/corporation. As an instructor at a language school, you do not need to be under 29 years of age; however, you must have a degree and TEFL certificate. At a language school, you may teach young learners or adult students, and cover a range of topics such as Business English or Conversational English. Unfortunately, some language schools will hire teachers for short terms, as work visas are very difficult to obtain for foreign teachers (even with their sponsorship). Similarly, Paris-based multinational companies may hire part-time English teachers to tutor their employees in Business English. You can find work like this through the French Chamber of Commerce.
Cost of Living:
The cost of living in Paris is high, as one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Rent will be your most pricey expense, with a one-bedroom apartment averaging about 1,175 € per month. If you live outside of the city center, for a similar apartment, your rent will be closer to around 825 € per month. However, most TEFL courses include accommodation in course fees. If your course does not, they do offer subsidized housing for teacher trainees and often they are within walking distance to the school. Lastly, food and transportation can get pricey in Paris; a meal at an inexpensive restaurant may come out to about 12 € and a one-way metro ticket will be 1.80 €.