The study of French is fast becoming popular among many students and across different institutions outside of Canada. If you are a native French speaker from the province of Quebec or studied the French language at the university, you may consider a career in teaching.
How can you become a French teacher and where can you find teaching jobs? There are vast opportunities to explore as a French teacher in and out of Canada.
In this article, we will reveal everything you ought to know about teaching French in Canada and in other countries where the language is not their first language.
Teaching French Abroad: An Overview
You can pursue career options that will enable you to teach French as a second language in many countries. In Canada, French is a common subject in schools, and there are many French language immersion programs organised by the Canadian schools to help immigrants and refugees learn the language.
French is the native language of millions of people in Canada. But that doesn’t mean you can’t teach French as a second language right here. You can explore opportunities to teach French in Canada. After that, proceed to teach students in other countries who are trying learn this language of love as their lingua franca.
If you want to teach French abroad, you are expected to:
- Help your students understand the French culture through your teaching.
- Teach the French vocabulary and grammar.
- Help your students achieve language proficiency in French just as they do with their native language.
- Help them prepare for exams in a language school or university.
However, it’s pertinent to know that you do not just need to understand the language for you to excel as a French teacher, but you should also know how to impart knowledge to others who are trying to learn it.
There are different ways to become a French teacher abroad. In most cases, you may have to teach a class that is not even fluent in English. This is usually the case in most developed countries with poor infrastructure and education system.
Not so many native French speakers are good teachers. Even if you understand the French language like the back of your palm, you may need to take steps to learn how to teach it effectively. Teaching is a skill that should be understood on its own.
And when you eventually combine your teaching skills with your language proficiency, you will discover how easy it can be to teach French as a second language in any country.
Become a French Language Assistant
There are various career paths in teaching French. One of them is becoming a language assistant for French classes. You can learn how to become a French teacher by working as an assistant, helping teachers to teach French in classes.
Many who are trying to become French teachers take this route because it gives them an opportunity and hands-on training on the steps needed to teach the language effectively at any level. Language assistants do not teach. Rather, they help other French teachers in their classes.
There are vast array of opportunities to explore as a language assistant abroad. Generally, these roles are best suited for native speakers. French language assistants in various countries help the teacher deepen their understanding of French culture concerning the country’s academic structure or system.
Many schools hire language assistant alongside the French teacher. But the employment terms of the assistant are mostly on contract basis for one year. And it’s subject to renewal the following year if the school deems it fit to do so.
To become a French language assistant, you must be a French national, living in France or any other French-speaking country. They may also require that you have a degree that may not necessarily be in French education.
Teach French as a Private Tutor
Teaching French in a private setting can be a lot of fun. Any school doesn’t employ you. You fix your schedule and work closely with your student to attain their desired level of language proficiency. This is what private tutoring entails.
However, teaching French in a class can be a different ball game from a private tutoring. Many teachers who teach the language privately have different means of getting students for French lessons. Some of them partner with tutoring platforms like Superprof to render their teaching service for a fee. They do this by setting up a profile and highlighting their skills as well as their teaching experience.
Students interested in private French lessons can enroll in these lessons by hiring a tutor to teach them at their convenience. You will have the flexibility of fixing your rate, working with the student to reach on a schedule for the lessons that is convenient for both of you.
You could teach at your own home, at your student’s home, or any other location that you both deem convenient enough for private coaching.
Depending on your availability, you may joggle between 2 to 3 students and have classes several times a week. Even though the private tutoring terrain is highly unregularised, you are expected to report your income and pay taxes to the government. But if you don’t earn, you won’t pay taxes. It’s as simple as that!
How to Teach French
Now that you know the career options in teaching French abroad, how can you become a French teacher? Every teacher wants the student to learn as they teach. But this is easier said than done. This can be challenging if the students feel intimidated by the dynamics of the language.
How can you teach French for beginners? Keeping your students’ motivation high and helping them practice what they learn quickly is the hallmark of teaching. Unfortunately, not many teachers understand these critical elements.
By deriving engaging ways for your students to grasp the basics of French, you will help them discover the fun aspects of learning this language of love. And most importantly, help them become fluent speakers too.
One of the best ways to teach French is to use real-world scenarios that allow the student to discover practical ways of learning French. You can engage the senses of everyone in the class when you ask each student to act out specific situations and use the language to illustrate a case study, converse with a friend or any other scenario that fits the context of learning.
If you are taking a beginner class, you can help your students pronounce French words using English to French phonetics as much as you can while teaching. Encourage them to pronounce words in French, even if they think it might be wrong. That way, you will help them build their confidence level as they learn how to start a conversation using the language.
You can use videos to teach French beginner lessons or even advance classes. There are a plethora of them, and many of them are free to use. Most of these video apps to learn French, such as Fluenz, are simple to use because the French vocabulary has been broken down in bit sized chunk, so it’s easy for a beginner to use daily. Moreover, the phonetics are intentionally slowed down for a complete beginner to use conveniently.
French Immersion Programs
These programs aim to introduce French as a second language to children without it having any detrimental effect on their English skills. A French immersion program is not something new in many schools across Canada and many other countries.
Students learn to use French to solve problems, analyse situations, converse, and tell stories. However, a French immersion program is structured; French teachers play a huge role in the child’s learning experience.
Suppose you are hired to teach French as part of an immersion program in an elementary school. In that case, you must monitor the child’s progress and ensure that they are learning the language in ways that would help them to become fluent French speakers without damaging other intellectual capacities partially or entirely.
You can do this by showing interest in the child’s daily activities; communicate with the parent about your concerns and suggestions. If you feel the child may not be an ideal student for an immersion program, don’t hold it back. Inform the parents and the school authority as well. However, for kids between the ages of 3-8 years, teaching them the French language will require a lot of patience and tolerance. Many will follow through easily, while others may require more effort, encouragement, and a lot of follow up.
Teaching is a rewarding experience for anyone that has a passion for it. However, it’s highly recommended to focus on your career goals and fulfill your passion rather than focusing on immediate monetary rewards. This will help you stay motivated as you move up the ladder and discover many opportunities in your career.
All thanks to the internet. There are many websites where you can go to and learn the rudiments of teaching like a pro. You can also join Facebook groups to find other French teachers seeking diverse opportunities for growth in their career paths. This is one of the many ways you can stay motivated as you take appropriate steps to teach the French language.
Discover more opportunities for French teachers.