Blog post

Don’t Miss Out: Teach English in France with TAPIF!

22nd March 2024

Do you want to combine cultural immersion, language learning, and adventure in one? Then teaching English in France with TAPIF might be just what you need. Bonne lecture!

What is TAPIF?

TAPIF stands for Teaching Assistant Program in France and is a teaching program that gives native English speakers the opportunity to teach English in France. The goal of the program is to spend a period of time, usually 7 months, teaching English while also immersing yourself in the French language, culture, and cuisine. The term “assistent” comes from the fact that participants do not teach classes on their own but under the supervision of local teachers, thus assisting them with English language instruction. 

Can I teach English in France with TAPIF?

The French Ministry of Education and the organisation administering the TAPIF program are the ones that decide on the eligibility criteria. Since these criteria may change from year to year, it is best to contact the official TAPIF website for the most up-to-date information. As it stands now, the eligibility criteria are as followed:

Nationality: Participants must be citizens of a country where English is the official language, such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. There are a few exceptions and special eligibility criteria for non-native English speakers who are fluent in English and which to participate in the program. 

Age: Participants must be between 20 and 35 years old at the time of the application. 

Education: A general minimum requirement is two years of higher education, either at a college or university. However, it is important to note that educational requirements might vary depending on the country, region, or choosen institution. 

Language Proficiency: When you apply for an English teaching position, it will come as no surprise that being proficient in English is non-negotiable. Additional basic or expert command of the French language does give applications advantage in the application process. 

Criminal Background Check: The application process includes a standard criminal background check. 

Motivation and interpersonal skills: Teaching is much more than just sharing knowledge. Having enthusiasm for teaching, an exciting cultural exchange, and the ability to work together with students and colleagues are also important factors that will be considered during the selection process.

Program duration and structure

The TAPIF program is not something you can take up any time you want. Startdates are once a year somewhere in early October. With a general time period of seven months, the program ends in late April or early May. The exact dates are subject to change from year to year. Here you can find out more about the TAPIF Program basics

The workload can vary a lot depending on the needs of the school. Generally, assistants are required to work 12 to 20 hours per week, which allows time for lesson planning, assistance in the classroom, and personal cultural activities. 

When you are selected for the program and have arrived in France, you will usually first attend an orientation session. This orientation gives you all the necessary information about the program, the administrative procedures, the teaching expectations, and even cultural adaptation. 

Next, participants are assigned to schools and institutions all across France. Most positions are in urban or suburban areas, although there are schools in rural regions as well. Once you arrive at your destination, you can start assisting the local teacher with English language instruction. 

Benefits of teaching English in France with TAPIF

Teaching English in France with TAPIF comes with a series of benefits, such as cultural immersion, language learning, experience and professional development, financial support, networking opportunities, personal growth, and travel opportunities. 

By working and living in France for seven months, participants of the TAPIF program have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the French culture, language, and cuisine. Discover the many aspects of this culturally rich country, and don’t forget the sample the wine and cheese. 

The other major benefit of participating in the TAPIF program is gaining invaluable teaching experience and the change for professional development. Being the assistant to a local teacher allows participants to watch and learn teaching techniques from an experienced local teacher while also getting hands-on experience with lesson planning, how to manage a classroom, and how to interact with students.

While the wages for a teaching assistant are not that high, participants do receive a monthly stipend to cover their living expenses while in France. Some participants are also eligible for other benefits such as health insurance. 

Living and working abroad can be amazing, but it also forces you to step out of your comfort zone, adapt to new situations, and become independent and resilient, thus leading to personal growth. Thanks to France’s central location in Europe, you can even go “abroad” during your time abroad and visit other European countries of interest. 

Challenges and Considerations

All that being said, there are a few challenges and considerations to make before you start on this adventure, the first one being a language barrier. While English is the language of instruction, that does not mean your students will be proficient enough to carry out full conversations in English just yet. When you yourself have limited proficiency in French, communication challenges might arise. 

France has a western culture, but moving to a new country can give a culture shock, even among similar western countries. Be mindful of differences in the French education system, classroom dynamics, social norms, and unfamiliar customs. 

While participants do receive a monthly stipend, finding a suitable place to stay within that budget might be challenging, especially in major cities like Paris. The major cities in France are generally known for their high rent and expensive living costs. 

Another challenge that comes with moving to a new country is social integration and the possibility of homesickness. It is almost inevitable that you’ll experience some sort of homesickness if you are away from your friends and family for a long period of time. A good way to counteract that loneliness is building social connections and making new friends with colleagues, students, fellow participants, and locals. Do be mindful that forming new friendships as an outsider might take time and effort. 

Prev Post Next Post