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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
.... does every (pseudo/quasi-) English speaker coming to France think they can walk into a job teaching English ?

It IS a specialist teaching discipline. You have to have a very good command of English and its grammar, AND be able to convey that knowledge in a meaningful way (normally by using comparisons with French grammar - for which you need a good command of French and its grammar). Being a native speaker is NOT a qualification and undermines all of those who are properly qualified, giving a very false impression to potential employers.

grrrr

H
 
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The last person I knew who wanted to teach English as a foreign language thought that normal English usage was to say "they was...." And considered that I was irritatingly elitist and pedantic by suggesting that she needed to learn to say "they were...."

I suppose, charitably, when you want to make a life change you grab for whatever chance you think might exist, whatever a rational analysis might suggest.
 

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The French school system is quite bad regarding English, so there is an enormous demand for native teachers for the little subsidized DIF training when all these kids who did so poorly grow up a bit and get a job.

I think what a lot of these French "professionals" want is to have a good time and learn a bit of English at the same time. The company's paying for it--that changes a lot regarding the attitudes of the students.

If you are nice, chatty, and have native English, that's all that's required to teach a great number of mediocre French students, who carried into adulthood a lot of their mediocre abilities from school, not to mention the same laid back attitude: I'm here to do things as gingerly as possible--don't think of asking for anything more. I don't like to do grammar exercises, I don't like to write, I'm too busy to prepare for class...

I think there's a huge demand for teachers with little qualifications but who have a certain set of communication skills combined with a sociable personality.

And I think you are blaming too much these "tourist" teachers, whereas I've always heard that the language training companies charge their clients very high rates, and not so much I gather is ever paid to the teacher.
 

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The same problem arises with people who have done a little bit of DiY before moving to a new country and then think that they can set up as a bulder/plumber/electrician. The worst part of this problem is because they speak "English" many other English speakers turn to them for work on their houses because they have fewer language difficulties, BUT, the quality of the workmanship is often terrible and sometimes downright dangerous. It always pays to use a local native craftsman who will be familiar with the construction methods used to build your house. A local man is less likely to ask for money up-front (ostensibly for materials) then do a runner; he is also less likey to do a bad job because his reputation is on the line.

Bear in mind that you are more likely to be cheated by one of your own nationality than a local person.
 

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Bear in mind that you are more likely to be cheated by one of your own nationality than a local person.
I totally disagree with this last part. Of the people who are into cheating others, a lot of them are locals exactly because they know you don't know how things work or what the normal rates are, etc.
 

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I totally disagree with this last part. Of the people who are into cheating others, a lot of them are locals exactly because they know you don't know how things work or what the normal rates are, etc.
Within a few miles of where I am living I can take you to seven people who have been cheated by one of their own - poor workmanship, bad materials, taking several thousand Euros as a deposit and running, among other things. Each person who was diddled thought the same way as you!
 

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This has been a long-standing assumption - that anyone who "speaks" English can then teach it. On the one hand, the way the French teach English (or any other foreign language) basically neglects the art of speaking it. My sister-in-law, the former Spanish teacher, has basically confirmed this for me. She speaks what sounds to me like very fluent Spanish, but even she admits that the French system of education stresses grammar, translation and written expression - not spoken language skills.

It's a basic cultural difference here. But just because someone is a native speaker of a language does not necessarily mean he or she can teach the language.

There is also the little matter of over-estimating the market for English teaching. I find in our local AVF that lots of folks are enthusiastic about "practicing" their English language skills, but not so many are keen to pay to take formal English lessons.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
the french school system is quite bad regarding english, so there is an enormous demand for native teachers for the little subsidized dif training when all these kids who did so poorly grow up a bit and get a job.

I think what a lot of these french "professionals" want is to have a good time and learn a bit of english at the same time. The company's paying for it--that changes a lot regarding the attitudes of the students.

If you are nice, chatty, and have native english, that's all that's required to teach a great number of mediocre french students, who carried into adulthood a lot of their mediocre abilities from school, not to mention the same laid back attitude: I'm here to do things as gingerly as possible--don't think of asking for anything more. I don't like to do grammar exercises, i don't like to write, i'm too busy to prepare for class...

I think there's a huge demand for teachers with little qualifications but who have a certain set of communication skills combined with a sociable personality.

And i think you are blaming too much these "tourist" teachers, whereas i've always heard that the language training companies charge their clients very high rates, and not so much i gather is ever paid to the teacher.
q.e.d.

H
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I totally disagree with this last part. Of the people who are into cheating others, a lot of them are locals exactly because they know you don't know how things work or what the normal rates are, etc.
From expensive experience, I concur

H
 

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My husband and I have been researching a move to France, and hoped he could teach English if we were able to do so. He is certified in English here, and taught it for several years before changing subjects. We knew that he would have to be TEFL certified, but after reading this post (along with responses to a post I made), it is easy to see that is not an option.

We were hoping to use what he knew and had been trained in to help us turn a dream into reality. I guess we will have to change directions, or abandon the dream.
 

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We knew that he would have to be TEFL certified, but after reading this post (along with responses to a post I made), it is easy to see that is not an option.
We were hoping to use what he knew and had been trained in to help us turn a dream into reality. I guess we will have to change directions, or abandon the dream.
If your husband has a degree in English and/or teaching, then he shouldn't need to get a further qualification such as the TEFL. I don't know what your visa/residency status is or will be, but if he does have the right to work and has a degree and experience, then he shouldn't run into problems.

I completely agree with everything that has been said. As I myself am hoping to teach English in France, it's discouraging to see so many wanting the same thing, yet it's clear that many don't have any knowledge deeper than native-speaker intuition. Right now I'm completing my degree in French and Linguistics, and I am in fact studying English grammar. If you are a native speaker and you haven't studied your own grammar, chances are you wouldn't be able to explain much. You know what sounds correct, but that doesn't really help second language learners who need more insight.

On top of this, I have seen some English-speakers on this forum (wanting to teach English, even some who already are) make some mistakes that shouldn't be taught to others. Usually I wouldn't care, but if you want to teach English you shouldn't be making mistakes that you don't want your students to make.

I also think a teacher should preferably be able to speak the students' language.
Of course, full-on English instruction is different to conversation practice, and certainly any native speaker would be a great model for speaking.
 

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If your husband has a degree in English and/or teaching, then he shouldn't need to get a further qualification such as the TEFL. I don't know what your visa/residency status is or will be, but if he does have the right to work and has a degree and experience, then he shouldn't run into problems.

I completely agree with everything that has been said. As I myself am hoping to teach English in France, it's discouraging to see so many wanting the same thing, yet it's clear that many don't have any knowledge deeper than native-speaker intuition. Right now I'm completing my degree in French and Linguistics, and I am in fact studying English grammar. If you are a native speaker and you haven't studied your own grammar, chances are you wouldn't be able to explain much. You know what sounds correct, but that doesn't really help second language learners who need more insight.

On top of this, I have seen some English-speakers on this forum (wanting to teach English, even some who already are) make some mistakes that shouldn't be taught to others. Usually I wouldn't care, but if you want to teach English you shouldn't be making mistakes that you don't want your students to make.

I also think a teacher should preferably be able to speak the students' language.
Of course, full-on English instruction is different to conversation practice, and certainly any native speaker would be a great model for speaking.
Hi Sarah,

Thank you so much for the info. I have looked at several sites, and kept seeing the TEFL info, so once again I assumed that meant you had to have it to teach English overseas. I really need to quit assuming, and I truly appreciate you clearing that up for me! He is certified here in the states to teach both History and English, but I didn't think there would be much call for US History in France:). He has been a teacher for 23 years, so he has plenty of experience. We don't have visas or anything of that sort, as we have just started talking about and researching what it would take to move. It is really overwhelming.

I think it is wonderful that you are studying and doing what it takes so you can teach English in France! I agree that it is a shame that others think they can just jump right into that kind of work with no more than a basic understanding of the language. I am certified in Music, and would not even try to teach English, as I am not always certain I am correct in my grammar usage (I am sure there are mistakes here :) ). I hope you are able to find a job when you are ready.

I agree with you about being able to speak the language of the people you are teaching. I have only had two years of French and it was in high school. My husband and children have never had any. If it looked like we could actually make this work, they would all have to join me in taking lessons. I would never disrespect a country by not having a clue how to converse with them properly, at least on a basic level.

Thanks again for your input! I am sorry for penning a novel here!

Lisa
 

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You are both obviously qualified to teach. You've probably heard this on another thread but it might be worth either of you applying to teach in one of the private or American schools in France; you might have a better chance at finding sponsorship through this as opposed to a small English language insitution.
 

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A US teaching certification isn't going to do much for you in France - other than, as Sarah has suggested, in the private schools that are based on the US curriculum. (Yeah, kind of a non-sequitor, given that there is no national curriculum as such in the US.) Having teaching experience is definitely a plus when looking for a job teaching English, and probably more important than any TEFL certificate.

The issue is that if you're planning on living on the salary of an English teacher, you may be disappointed and if you're relying on the job to get you a visa for France, it's going to be very tough going. (Not to mention the fact that if he manages to get a work visa, your dependent visa most likely will not allow you to work.)

There are Americans over here who have retired to France - it depends on your having a reasonable pension you can rely on to convince them that you aren't going to be tempted to go out and work under the table to make ends meet. And, if you look around you might be able to find some teacher exchange programs that would at least give you a year or two in France. Once you have that experience, you never know what opportunity could drop into your lap.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I can see both sides of this. I totally imagine how frustrating it would be to be a professional with fluent French and English with a mastery of the grammar of both having to deal with an onslaught of people whose sole qualification is being a native English speaker.

On the other hand, I have 3 friends (who don't know each other) who have all taught English in Asia. None of them have degrees in English and I know that 2 of them did really poorly in college (one studied film, the other fashion marketing.) Two of them have been teaching abroad for 5/6 years now and the third has come back to the US but is now teaching TEFL in California. If I was wanting to move to France to teach English, I would probably conclude that (and pardon my bluntness) any idiot can do it. Not to mean that any idiot can do it well--more that any idiot can get a job doing it.

Before anyone gets mad at me, I'm not saying that those of you who don't have qualifications are idiots--just that for argument's sake one could be based on anecdotal evidence. I suspect that a lot of people who have designs on doing it know someone somewhere who is doing it without much (if any) proper qualification. Can't blame someone for wanting to try. At this point, I can only conclude that the odds of getting a job without proper qualifications/experience varies widely depending on WHERE you are trying to teach. May I recommend South Korea? ;)
 

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I appreciate all of the help and info on this thread. I see that posts have been removed, and if they were directed at me, I am sorry for offending anyone. I only came here for help, and did not mean to take over the post. I don't have a clue what was said, but I did not mean to do anything other than ask/learn from those of you who have experience in being expats in France.
 

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A US teaching certification isn't going to do much for you in France - other than, as Sarah has suggested, in the private schools that are based on the US curriculum. (Yeah, kind of a non-sequitor, given that there is no national curriculum as such in the US.) Having teaching experience is definitely a plus when looking for a job teaching English, and probably more important than any TEFL certificate.

The issue is that if you're planning on living on the salary of an English teacher, you may be disappointed and if you're relying on the job to get you a visa for France, it's going to be very tough going. (Not to mention the fact that if he manages to get a work visa, your dependent visa most likely will not allow you to work.)

There are Americans over here who have retired to France - it depends on your having a reasonable pension you can rely on to convince them that you aren't going to be tempted to go out and work under the table to make ends meet. And, if you look around you might be able to find some teacher exchange programs that would at least give you a year or two in France. Once you have that experience, you never know what opportunity could drop into your lap.
Cheers,
Bev

Thank you Bev. You are so helpful, and I appreciate it. I think I will just let it go for now. It seems it is impossible from what I have read. We tried years ago to get a job through the Dept. of Defense to teach in one of the American schools, but it was just at the time they were cutting funding, so it didn't work out. I knew that his certification here wouldn't mean squat anywhere else, but was just trying to show that he was not just a person off the street trying to teach English. I feel I may have offended others, and I know I must come off as a stupid American. It has always been a dream to live in France, and I meant no disrespect to anyone. Trust me, if I could go back in time, I'd tell my ancestors to stay put :). I love my country, but wish I could be in France.

Thank you again,

Lisa
 

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I can see both sides of this. I totally imagine how frustrating it would be to be a professional with fluent French and English with a mastery of the grammar of both having to deal with an onslaught of people whose sole qualification is being a native English speaker.

On the other hand, I have 3 friends (who don't know each other) who have all taught English in Asia. None of them have degrees in English and I know that 2 of them did really poorly in college (one studied film, the other fashion marketing.) Two of them have been teaching abroad for 5/6 years now and the third has come back to the US but is now teaching TEFL in California. If I was wanting to move to France to teach English, I would probably conclude that (and pardon my bluntness) any idiot can do it. Not to mean that any idiot can do it well--more that any idiot can get a job doing it.

Before anyone gets mad at me, I'm not saying that those of you who don't have qualifications are idiots--just that for argument's sake one could be based on anecdotal evidence. I suspect that a lot of people who have designs on doing it know someone somewhere who is doing it without much (if any) proper qualification. Can't blame someone for wanting to try. At this point, I can only conclude that the odds of getting a job without proper qualifications/experience varies widely depending on WHERE you are trying to teach. May I recommend South Korea? ;)
Thank you Audrey. I appreciate your input, and know what you are saying. No offense, but I'd never choose Asia :).
 

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Thank you Bev. You are so helpful, and I appreciate it. I think I will just let it go for now. It seems it is impossible from what I have read. We tried years ago to get a job through the Dept. of Defense to teach in one of the American schools, but it was just at the time they were cutting funding, so it didn't work out. I knew that his certification here wouldn't mean squat anywhere else, but was just trying to show that he was not just a person off the street trying to teach English. I feel I may have offended others, and I know I must come off as a stupid American. It has always been a dream to live in France, and I meant no disrespect to anyone. Trust me, if I could go back in time, I'd tell my ancestors to stay put :). I love my country, but wish I could be in France.

Thank you again,

Lisa
:( Your post makes me sad. You never know, perhaps someday you'll find a way. You could always go about your life but keep looking as a side project. Worst case scenario maybe you can retire there eventually.

Do you live near any of the consulates? If so I would recommend getting involved with them. I find the one in Texas very friendly and eager to interact with the community. You may find some networking opportunities with expats from France who may be able to give you some ideas, advice, or contacts. My husband and I have just started socializing with the French community in Houston and we've met some amazing people with all kinds of connections just in a matter of weeks.

There's also the option of one of you studying there. Obviously the biggest downfall would be supporting yourselves in the meantime, but perhaps it would be possible to save up if that is appealing.
 
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