Completed your B1 level French studies? Eager to do a paid vacation across Europe? Looking forward to pursuing a career in France? You’ve landed at the right place!
WHAT IS THE ASSISTANTS D’ANGLAIS EN FRANCE PROGRAMME?
The programme is an excellent career opportunity to get yourself familiarized with not just the French way of life and culture, but also to get to travel across Europe. The programme is paid as well as legal, and every year, French learners from across the world choose it to live amidst and explore French life. Most teaching assistants cherish their experience throughout life and have infinite stories to tell! If you are thinking of doing the program or if you have already done it, this is going to be a great read for you. I’ve worked as a teaching assistant under Académie de Grenoble in France from 2019- 2020. I have been learning and teaching French for the past 6 years, and the moment I learnt about this programme, I knew it was going to give my knowledge of French and my career a great boost. So under the Grenoble Academy, I was posted in a tiny town called Cluses which had barely a population of 18,000 people! I worked in a high school named Lycée Charles Poncet. My experience was filled with loads of fun, new lessons for life and travel!
While I was doing my level B1 French studies, my French teacher guided me about the programme. It is a short- term programme, but being 22 then, I had absolutely nothing to lose since I was independent of any major responsibility. The idea of getting a paid vacation for 7 months really allured me a lot. Moreover, I was convinced that it was going to add great value to my professional profile.
Hence, I continued my B2 level studies and simultaneously started my research for the English Teaching Assistant Program in France. I got in touch with some past teaching assistants via social media thanks to whom I got my doubts cleared. I applied in October 2018 and got an acceptance letter in April 2019. I was grateful and all set to embark upon my journey in the fall of 2019! In fact, the accommodation part was a piece of cake for me! I was offered accommodation in the lycée wherein I had to pay a monthly rent of just 50 euros, électricité, eau et chauffage compris! There was nothing better than that! I was relieved to know that I had a safe logement and I had plenty of money to travel and to shop and yet save up.
During the first month of my stay, I had mixed emotions of excitement as well as fear of facing a new world. Every single day I learnt something new. Gradually, I adapted better, thanks to my flat mates who were very friendly and my colleagues and professor referent who were always so welcoming! I loved the fact that every 5 weeks of work were followed by 2 weeks of vacation. And so the programme offered plenty of travel opportunities across Europe’s Schengen region.
WHAT IS YOUR JOB ROLE AS AN ENGLISH TEACHING
An English language assistant is assigned to devote 12 hours a week in up to 3 schools. While applying, the candidate has a choice for primary school, secondary school and high school. No prior teaching experience is necessarily required, but it is good if you have some. The net salary is 790 euros per month. Teaching assistants are usually trained for the first two weeks of their joining, wherein they simply observe different classes and how the professor conducts them. Further, classes are started under the assistant. Teaching assistants are generally suggested to avoid communicating with the students in French.
As an assistant, you work under the guidance of a main professor who suggests you the theme of discussion, and you take either all or a portion of a class, mostly guiding dialogue among the students in English. You may do so with the use of activities, games, exercises etc. These tasks vary depending on the requirement of the professor and your skills. Your overall experience may be different from other teaching assistants depending upon your colleagues, professor referent, students and of course, self- motivation.
PLUSES AND MINUSES OF ASSISTANT D’ANGLAIS PROGRAMME IN FRANCE
REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICATION ARE NOT SO STRICT
To become a teaching assistant, you do not need any prior teaching experience. If you have some, it is always good, but there is no such requirement. All you need to be is between 20- 35 years of age and have a good level of English (7.5+ band in IELTS Academic) and French (DELF B1 certification minimum/ BA in French). Also, you are required to be a “Currently Enrolled Student” in either any Alliance française or in any recognized university in India. That’s really not a complicated eligibility criteria!
LEGAL AND PAID CONTRACT
As a teaching assistant, you will be on a contract of 7 months (1st October to 30th April) and you will be paid monthly for your job. It is a legal way to go about exploring further career opportunities for yourself in Europe.
THE JOB ROLE IS FUN
You will be interacting with a lot of students rather than delivering lessons. Your job is to make the students communicate in English, so no rote learning! It is entirely up to you as to what games and activities you may want to engage the students in to promote fun- learning. Nothing is too stressful about the job considering it is just 12 hours per week, and the professor almost always gives you ample time to prepare your class plan.
OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS FROM ACROSS THE WORLD
During your contract, you will first interact with others from India who have been selected for the programme, and you will attend an orientation programme on the day of your take- off for France. You will make some new friends there who will be your companions throughout this programme, and probably you will make some life- long friends here. Further, in France, you will meet more teaching assistants of different languages from other countries, which will give you friends, experiences and memories for a lifetime! While traveling across Europe, you will meet more people from across the world and who knows, they might become your close friends!
OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL WITHIN FRANCE
Through this programme, if you envision familiarizing yourself with French life and improving your linguistic capabilities, rest assured, you are going to gain infinitely! It depends on you as to what you want to grab from the programme, you will get to travel to different French cities, meet francophones from across the world, learn French better and discover their culture!
OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE FRANCE
Yes! This programme happens to be one of the best ways to travel to Schengen Europe with even a minimal budget. Having learnt French, you can get the experience of not only France but also its surrounding countries! You can travel and even become a photographer, travel blogger, influencer and what not!
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A FRENCH HEALTH INSURANCE
Under the programme, you will have the right to Sécurité Sociale which you can avail to cover a good percentage of your medical costs, prescriptions and hospitalization fees within France.
SHORT- TERM CONTRACT
To some people, it may be stressful to decide as to what to do once the program is over. The duration for this programme is only 7 months and in case you’re willing to extend your stay in France, you will have to explore a lot more options through your contacts, your skills and you may have to struggle a bit to stay in France. In case you are willing to work in France after the
assistants’ program ends, you should start your job search as early as possible while staying in contact with other assistants. You may find a job either well- paid or with a low salary, so it is upto you to figure out if you can survive with that.
YOU MAY FEEL LONELY
While applying for the programme, you are given an option to give 3 preferences for the academies you would like to be placed in. However, being placed in an academy does not necessarily mean that you’d be placed in the main city. You may be placed in a remote town that you might have never heard of! There might or might not be much for you to do there, so your experience will depend upon whether you are prepared and strong enough as a person to manage living alone.
YOU MIGHT FEEL THAT YOUR WEEKLY CLASS SCHEDULE IS DISORGANISED
12 hours per week is definitely not a lot. However, it depends on what kind of work week you have been assigned. On one hand, I have heard of assistants working continuously 3 days a week and being free to travel the remaining 4 days. On the other hand, there are ones who work all week long, just about 2-3 hours a day and have a 4- hour long window between 2 classes. This can become complicated in terms of commute especially for those who live far
from the workplace. But after all, it is upto your professor referent to decide your weekly class schedule.
THE SALARY MAY BE TOO LESS FOR THOSE PAYING A HUGE
For a 12 hour per week, you are paid 790 euros per month net as a teaching assistant irrespective of your location in France. If you’re lucky enough like me, you may get an accommodation for a low rent or even free accommodation. But if you get an accommodation for a higher rent, you may have to seek CAF which helps you pay a percentage of your rent so that you just pay the difference. However, the procedure for CAF is not so smooth for everybody. So the assistants’ salary may be too less for you and you might have to cut down other expenses to get to travel. Or else, save up quite some money before you come to France.
THE ASSISTANTS’ ORGANISATION MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THERE TO GUIDE
Assistant d’anglais is an experience that I will cherish all through my life! I did have some difficult days for sure, but I am glad that I could still make the best out of this opportunity and have a life- changing experience! The programme is absolutely worth it if you’re learning French, are eager to travel to Europe with a strong mind ready to learn better, and have an interest in teaching. Bon courage !