Teaching English in France

Hello All,

I've read some useful information on this site already and I'm rather hoping that the knowledgeable folk here can offer some comment on my thoughts. I was thinking of teaching English here in France but, tbh, I think it's probably not viable in my part of rural France.

First things first; I have a degree in Linguistics (language is something I'm interested in) and have taught a few English classes already, when I lived in Germany. I also started a PGCE before I left the UK and did several weeks of teaching experience before dropping out and coming to France. So, I'm not coming to this totally blind. I've already identified the CELTA course I want to do in the UK (full time).

Secondly, I'm on job mailing lists here in France (one being the pôle emploi). I see the English language jobs come through and have formed an opinion on what's going and where.

To cut to the chase; I really don't think there's enough work locally, or within reasonable travelling distance. That is, if I'm to rely on work being provided to me. That that there is quite poorly paid and irregular. I might get a couple of hours a week for maybe €12 an hour, €15 tops. Add in travel time, lesson prep etc and I reckon I can call that €12 a day! Then social contributions come off of that, it leaves me less then €10 a day. I 'bag of a fag packet' calculate that it'll take me a couple of years just to earn back my course fees and accommodation etc!

I think that to earn anything remotely viable, I have to be proactive; leaflets, flyers, advertise generally, etc. The thing is, I don't think the market is there. As I said, I live rurally and I really don't think there's sufficient interest in learning English around here, but I am going to talk to a local language school to try and get their opinion.

Before I can the idea finally, I wanted the opinion of others as I tend to be overly pessimistic generally.

Thanks in advance,


Pedagogically I can see why an online course is not recognised. You are not in physical contact with students or teachers. Knowing grammar and being a native speaker is not enough to be able to teach English. You have to know HOW to teach and you only learn by doing so in a REAL situation intensely day after day. There is no viable alternative in my opinion. It's a shame people get sucked into paying money for courses which are ultimately rather useless in terms of interactions and getting employed later. Keen people determined to make this poor-paying activity their career will invest in a recognised qualification - expensive and stressful (I say that from experience) but it did help my credibility and confidence when starting out in a French university.

I've had a dickens of a difficult time trying to be employed even with my degree (relevant), decades of teaching experience at all levels and a teaching qualification, plus my tefl certificate. Had to lobby very hard to get a new CDD contract where I have to double my hours to get the same pay - almost impossible, definitely not good if you want any planning time but its a job so I get to stay in France another year. Losing my apartment and belongings though. Teaching is not for the faint-hearted who are not French.


I have a PGCE and an online TEFL. I have a one week contract (8hrs) one and a half hours away in August. Then I might get a year contract, but I don't yet know the number of hours or if it will be viable, to be honest.

This year I taught English through the website Laureat.fr, but I was driving as many hours as I was teaching. I had good feedback but the fuel and the wear on the car mean unless it can lead to something better it's not worth it.

I also live in a rural area and I have given English lessons at 13 euro an hour with students stopping or starting whenever there is no predictability or security.

This summer, I applied to teach English at UK summer camps and they would not accept my TEFL course, it must be one with observation included and recognised by the British Council. I am hoping that the experience I will get in August and Sept will help me to get summer work in 2016.

That's my experience in case it is useful.

Except that the capes gets you a job but you have to go where you're told - usually where you don't want to go - until you build up enough points to get moved to where you do want to go...!

Another stick you might be beaten with is age. How old are you? I ask because by the time you manage to get sorted out, perhaps do CAPES and then sit around waiting, you might just find people a bit younger getting preferential treatment. I know a Dutch woman who would teach German and English, has French qualifications but has done one sick leave stand in for a couple of weeks over two school years. She is now 58 and has been told younger teachers get preferential treatment where she lives in Lot et Garonne.

Primary school forget it - used to work for the Inspection doing just that upto 2010 when the standard enseignantes were sent on short formations to teach English and most of the intervenantes like me were made redundant. I can't even teach English on a voluntary basis in my local school.

I too am in the sticks and have been registered with groups such as Anacours but the majority of proposed missions were just too far away. I've had approx 6 weeks of chéque emploi work last year to help a young chap with his BTS and this year, having switched to the microentrepreneur scheme, I have just had 30 hours work at a local centre PeP for schools on school trips. I teach because I enjoy it, not to be my bread and butter

I think that you have two choices:

  1. Invest in your future and get the qualifications that will enable you to enter the French education system so you can look for jobs with good pay and prospects.
  2. Admit that the sort of English teaching that you can access will provide you with pocket money at best.

You've answered your own question, Andrew. I taught freelance, CCI, IUT etc. I turned down primary school work because the pay was so bad. It often just isn't worth it unless you can get into a decent institution (40€ an hour at the CCI and IUT meant I earnt a decent living for a number of years but it's often hard to get in and they like qualifications - I've got french and british ones). If you're in it for the long term then, as Véro says, go down the CAPES route. It means long term stability and a garanteed job (but be prepared to move unless you can get a stack of points!)

Bonne chance, mais je crois qu'il vaut mieux chercher ailleurs...!

Well, if you are British you could give it a go. If you are not EU don't bother.

You could also check out kindergarten and primary schools - it is obligatory for kids to learn a language at least in primary (I think from CE1 up but may be wrong as my daughters' school was a little "flighty" on this) and many obviously choose English. My daughters' school now (of course, now that they've left) has the "official" English class taught from CE2 to CM2 by a teacher from the associated collège, but a private school (actually run by one of the mothers) now also teaches kids from MS to CP... That might be worth looking into. Also Maison pour Tous, lessons by phone, soutien scolaire... Lots of possibilities, I wouldn't give up yet!

Bonne chance!

If you're in the sticks I entirely agree with you (unless you wish to go down the capes route: BA + MA then concours and you might end up anywhere).

Teaching freelance might, however, work in a biggish city, there are not only corporate language classes but also school-type stuff eg Acadomia etc.