The Teaching Assistant Program in France is a joint initiative of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. The program's goal is to strengthen English-language instruction in the French educational system through the establishment of a native speaker presence. The program also provides American Francophiles and future teachers of French in the U.S. with excellent teaching experience and first-hand knowledge of French language and culture.
Assistants are assigned a 12-hour per week teaching schedule that may be divided among up to three schools. Classes are conducted in English. The teaching assistant may conduct all or part of a class, typically leading conversations in English. Duties may include serving as a resource person in conversation groups, providing small group tutorials, and giving talks related to American studies in English classes. Assignments vary depending on the school’s needs, the assistant’s abilities, and the educational level to which the assistant is assigned. ↑
Two different contracts are available. All contracts begin October 1st and April 30th.
• Elementary School – Children aged 8-11 years old. Assistant organizes oral activities on his or her own with small groups, or works alongside the teacher with the entire class present. Good level of French required.
• Secondary School – Students aged 11-18 years old. Assistant serves as a resource person in conversation groups, provides small group tutorials, facilitates English-language clubs, or works alongside the teacher with the entire class present. No prior teaching experience necessary. Proficient level of French required. ↑
Teaching assistants receive a gross monthly salary of approximately €965. Mandatory deductions for health insurance and French social security are taken, resulting in a net monthly salary of roughly €790 (approximately $1,039). Due to the higher cost of living in the overseas departments, assistants placed in the Académies of Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique and Réunion receive an additional salary allowance of 30% to 35%. The stipend provides enough money to live the lifestyle of a typical French student in most regions of France. Assistants do not receive any additional support for travel to France or for dependents. Personal funds are needed for the initial period of the contract. ↑
American teaching assistants are covered by the French “Sécurité sociale” which covers 70% of medical costs, 35-65% of prescriptions, and 80% of hospitalization fees IN FRANCE. The plan does NOT cover travel outside of France, costs for returning to the U.S. for medical treatment, or repatriation of remains in the case of death.
Assistants are strongly encouraged to purchase travel health insurance or an international student/youth card that will cover medical expenses for emergencies that happen outside of France. This additional coverage also helps cover the assistant during the initial period of the contract as the assistant cannot benefit from immediate reimbursement for medical costs until he or she receives a social security number (the enrolment process can take 2 to 3 months to complete). The assistant is technically covered starting on October 1, but must pay out-of-pocket until he or she receives a social security number at which time he or she can be retroactively reimbursed. An individual policy is not required, but extra coverage is highly recommended. ↑
Assistants are responsible for making their own living arrangements. Some schools are able to help their assistants secure housing or make arrangements for the first few weeks in France, but this is not guaranteed. Assistants should expect to find their own housing. The CIEP, the Embassy and the school districts in France also offer a number of resources and suggestions during the summer on how and where to start looking for housing. ↑
• CITIZENSHIP: Candidates must be American citizens or foreign nationals in possession of a U.S. Green Card. Foreign nationals with a Green Card may only apply if they are nationals of one of these countries (link: http://www.ciep.fr/en/assistantetr/pays-concernes.php). French nationals and French-American dual citizens are not eligible to apply.
• AGE: Candidates must be between 20 and 30 years old on the start date of the program (October 1).
• EDUCATION: Candidates must have completed at least two years of higher education by the beginning of the program.
• BACKGROUND: Candidates must have completed the majority of their elementary, secondary and university studies in the United States. ↑
Proficiency in French is required (minimum level of B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, link: http://highereducation.frenchculture.org/sites/default/files/cefrguide.pdf). French majors and minors are encouraged to apply. Candidates who do not have a major or minor in French may apply if they have developed at least a basic proficiency in French (equivalent to 3 semesters of college French) and/or lived abroad in a Francophone country. ↑
Application Evaluation Criteria
Applicants must be proficient in French. Language skills are essential in facilitating work in the classroom and integrating into a new community. A personal statement in French and letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s French skills, attitude and work ethic are required. If the applicant does not have proof of having taken French courses or does not have access to a French professor to complete the language recommendation, he or she can submit scores from a standardized French language test (TCF, TEF, DELF, DALF) available through the Alliance Française. Applicants must take their test before the application deadline, so it is important to research testing dates WELL IN ADVANCE. For more information, contact your local branch of the Alliance Française (link: http://www.alliance-us.org/en/Directory.aspx).
The selection process favors applicants who have experience teaching or working with children, adolescents, and/or adults. Such experience is not necessarily required, however all applicants should demonstrate at least an interest in education.
Candidates must also possess the skills to promote cultural understanding between France and the United States. Previous experience living, working and/or traveling abroad is helpful in demonstrating this ability and appreciation of other cultures. ↑