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teaching French abroad?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by AlexanderBrandy, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Hi Remy,
    I know little about Australia or NZ but it's still possible to find a job as a French teacher in SE Asia (and elsewhere). I wouldn't go as far as to say that openings only exist to 'provide jobs for old codgers and mates'. In many former French colonies, whether it is in Africa or Asia, French is still spoken or recognised. You would be surprised (I know I am) at how many local people can speak French in places like Vietnam, Mali or Cambodia (especially the latter).
    However, it is true that those jobs are slowly but surely disappearing and are being supplanted by Chinese and Spanish. Even five years ago most applicants would have found a job eventually, but now there is much less demand and a much stronger competition for openings, especially in SE Asia. There is also a growing tendency for schools to hire locally amongst the French expat community rather than hiring from abroad.
    If you are desperate to teach abroad, consider applying for jobs everywhere, such as the Middle East and Africa, and don't restrict yourself to specific geographical areas. At the very least, it'll give you valuable experience which you can then use to target jobs in places you are more interested in.
    If you are desperate to teach in SE Asia, then of course do apply for openings when you see them. You may also want to consider jobs in the many Alliances Francaises in the area. Be aware that the financial package is often very poor, and you should not consider them if you have a dependent or financial commitments. However, being already in SE Asia will give you a leg up when positions in International Schools do occur.
  2. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    There are good international schools which French and German alongside Mandarin and Japanese, Spanish etc as options. One advantage you have if you are a French national is that it makes the work permit situation easier. Look in December/January for vacancies - MFL is a shortage subject and good schools will be interested. You should however try to develop German as well - two languages to good IGCSE level and one to A-Level/IB with proven results will help in the application. Good luck.
  3. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Established commenter

    India is another huge market for French and German. It is less a matter of
    than of simple practicality. When a factory is tooled up to make Ford Prefects it takes a while to switch it over to Suzukis. Anyone who has tried to recruit them knows that Mandarin teachers don't grow on lychee trees.
    I take Alexander's point about schools preferring to recruit locally but there are headteachers for whom a combination of native French and experience in a British curricular framework would be attractive.
    As usual Have-Genius-Will-Travel comes up with a debatably dogmatic dictum:
    But sometimes it's a matter of cultural loyalty or sheer bloody-mindedness. By trying to stamp them out Franco gave great support to Catalá and Euskara and don't get me started on the Basque bombings or Welsh in Patagonia.
    That's a touch ironic in a chap who has patently outlived his hair. Time's wingéd chariot, Davy bach.
  4. I don't know Mainwaring. I know they exist but they very much seem to be a dwindling number. A few years ago I was in the exact same position as Remy: native French speaker, a few years under my belt in the British system, and a keen desire to teach in SE Asia. I had great references to boot and the experience of teaching a bunch of other subjects.

    At first I applied to schools that I liked in the countries that I wanted. When that didn't work I applied to random schools in the countries that I wanted. When that didn't work I applied to good schools in countries I didn't care about. When that still didn't work, I applied for any schools anywhere in the world. Sure enough I did get some job offers from crappy schools in the middle of nowhere. But even then, that was usually on the back on my other teaching subjects. Every morning I'd look at the TES, at the SA and TieOnline database, so it's not like I was slacking off.

    Fast forward a few years later when I was back on the job market. The first thing I noticed was that there were even less jobs than the first time around for French, but the amount of ads for Mandarin was considerably higher. As it happens, I no longer teach French because I don't believe there is much of a future in it. I wish Remy the best, and maybe I was just unlucky, but I think he needs to be aware that landing that dream job is not going to be easy. Ça craint!
  5. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Established commenter

    Your account of you first-hand experience rings true, Alexander. I've no axe to grind for French. As a typical Brit who studied it for seven years I've no problems reading it and (merci a Mme Tison almost 50 years ago) even pronouncing it reasonably well but I'm a hundred times more fluent in Spanish which I acquired apparently by osmosis during twenty years of frequenting bars and bodegas.
  6. Am in the same situation as Remy. French is my subject, SE Asia is the goal...

    Damn, this thread's depressing.
  7. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Is it not possible for you to apply to the French Lycee's or some such institution? I know that there are a number of French schools in Asia.
    Unless, of course, they want the Capes...
  8. Yes, and no. For most jobs going in French schools abroad, you do need to have the CAPES (or IUFM). It's a requirement in order to receive fundings from the French government.
    There are a few exceptions (most notably the French School in Singapore), but Remy's background is in teaching French as a Foreign Language (commonly called FLE in French schools) at secondary and there is little demand for this, since most students at secondary level in those schools are usually pretty good French speakers already. There is a slightly higher demand for FLE teachers at Primary level, where most of the non native speakers are, but the competition for those jobs is fierce.
    Don't be. Yes the demand for French is lessening... but it still exists. Just be prepared for alternatives in case it doesn't pan out. The most important thing you can do to bolster your chances is to be able to offer another subject, be it another language (preferably Spanish) or something else entirely (ICT, ESL, and so on).
  9. wow, first thing, I'd like to thank everyone for taking the time to reply to my message.
    Despite truly grim news, there is still hope! I feel I could enjoy myself pretty much anywhere warm, so when the time comes to apply, I won't restrict myself to a specific destination, and we'll see how that goes.
    Haven't heard much about Australia and NZ though, if anyone could add comments on the status of French teaching over there, it would be much appreciated!

    again folks, thank you for your time!

  10. Hello there,
    I am a French teacher with the same background as you. I taught 2 years in Kent then moved overseas. I've just moved to Hong Kong where French is taught nearly in every school and language institution. It's very popular. Have to say though, that if I have found a job at one of the International schools there, it is thanks to my dependent visa. I would have had problems being employed on an overseas contract. My problem is not the subject I offer but more the fact that I have only one MFL to offer. Most schools want teachers who can offer 2 languages French /spanish or French / German and even one MFL + ESL in some situations. So if I were you, I would work on my German, do a course and make sure you can offer it to at least IGCSE level or grade 10 MYP. As you are based in England, I would sign up for the COIS job fair next January. This is what I did back in the time. I went to the fair, got a job in Africa and never looked back!! can't tell you anything about NZ though sorry
  11. in order to gain a qualification in Spanish through distance learning you may wish to consider this course. You can do it from anywhere and after 2 years you'll be allowed to teach Spanish. Helps if you have previous knowledge of Spanish and you will have to spend around 3 months+ in a Spanish speaking country at some point.

    It is specifically designed for MFL teachers who can currently only offer 1 language.

    I am following this course at the moment and I highly recommend it. I know of no other university offering anything like this.

  12. yasf

    yasf Occasional commenter

    Canada is, apparently, the country to go to for French teachers as there is a massive shortage of properly qualified French teachers willing to teach the anglophones. I guess you'd have to like skiiing and great expanses of nothingness though.
  13. Hi everyone !

    Sorry for bringing that subject out of the dust. hehe

    I agree that the subject is so depressing, but so true at the same time.
    I am also a French teacher and I would like to go teach overseas for a couple of years.
    But as soon as I started looking for a job, I noticed that French is not really in demand.
    You'll only find a couple of job offers here and there. I must thank Alexander for his piece
    of advice. We need to consider other avenues. Why not becoming an English teacher
    instead ? ^^

  14. Hi
    Just wanted to add my tuppence worth here - I did the distance learning course with Dundee and am now teaching Spanish (in Scotland though). It is worth it. Does anyone know of the demand for French/Spanish/Italian teachers in Europe? I am interested in working abroad (preferably in Spain/Italy/France/Switzerland). I have 5 years experience now and have taught French up to Scottish Higher level and Spanish Standard Grade (GCSE). Any idea of salaries offered?

  15. Hi,

    I'm also a French native with some experience of international job hunting. My feeling is that schools are definitely looking for native speakers of the language (with UK training of course). I have also found that there are not a lot of jobs out there, and presumably, a lot of people applying for them. I think you need to be flexible and build up your experience. A second language is definitely a plus, but so is IB experience. It's expanding, and I don't think that many languages teachers have taught/are teaching it. I've just accepted an offer to teach French and EAL in an international job. I hope this new experience will help me go further in my career. Et bonne chance à tous les français en recherche d'emploi à l'étranger!
  16. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences Champagne and Kamol. I am now planning to do an ESL additional qualification. This will probably help me to secure a job abroad. Well... I hope so ! Thanks again.
    Have a nice day !

  17. Hi all,
    I am also a native French speaker with a PGCE looking for a job. There are some out there (the one I'm leaving for example!) and I must say that last year when my school (international, in Africa) advertised for a MFL teacher we didn't get one single decent application (but about 50 of non qualified untrained 'teachers'). This year was a different story but we only received about 5 trained, qualified teachers' applications so there might not be that many jobs out there but I'm not sure we are that many either...
    Anyway, bonne chance!

  18. I find it very daring applying in any school and in any country. I used to apply too, for any school, but only for London. Before being qualified as a teacher, i wanted to apply to any school in London. But now i would like to apply for specific school, teaching french or Teaching beginner who wanna learn English. Do you talk French properly?
  19. I'am a native french speaker, i just finish PTLLS, i'am looking a job as a french teacher. I can also be a teaching assistant. Do you have a paper that allowed you to teach french?
  20. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    It's called a PGCE.

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