How I teach English in France as a freelancer

How I teach English in France as a freelancer

France is one of the most popular destinations for our TESOL graduates. So it's always good to hear stories from our teachers who are successfully living and working there. We're delighted that retired HR-professional-turned-English-teacher Maggie Asquith has been willing to answer all our Teaching English in France questions. 

What is your background and what made you choose a GE TESOL course?
After retiring from the NHS as a Senior HR practitioner, I decided to retrain. I knew there had been a teacher lurking in me all my life and my husband and I were planning to test the water with a move to France; I was 56 and not quite ready to hang up my work boots, so what could be better than a TESOL certificate? 

I chose Global English TESOL from the internet as it seemed to offer exactly what I wanted and good value.   

How did you get your first teaching job?
I set lots of hares running as soon as we were settled. I enrolled us as a host family with several companies who match French people, usually age 8 to 18, with tutors/teachers willing to host students wanting to have formal lessons and be immersed in the British life, Brit TV, eat typical food, talk about culture and so on.    

I also offered my services to the local AVF (Accueil des Villes Françaises). This is a government supported network with offices in most major towns in France. They operate largely through volunteers to support anyone who is new and moving to their area. They are lovely friendly folk and delighted to offer advice on the local town, surrounding area, walking groups, shopping advice, utilities, cooking, language conversation and so on. I go to AVF for both French conversation and to work as a volunteer English tutor.  

After about 18 months here, I initiated a ‘Franglais’ group in our local bar and was very fortunate to enjoy good attendance from both French and English speakers. Through Franglais I have made lots of French friends and enjoy being able to greet people by name in the village. My French language is gradually improving. Although Franglais activity does not pay, it is excellent for developing TESOL skills and building your local profile.

Tell us about your work experience there – who did you teach, is there plenty of work etc?
There is a lot of work here particularly with young people wanting to improve and even advanced students have learning needs around pronunciation and use of vocabulary. Hosting French students at home is also a busy little industry. My hosting activity has so far been teenagers, but my next client in November is 69 and wants to brush up before she goes to America.  

I also work part time at the Space and Aeronautical Engineering College, providing English tuition for about 5 days a month. It is great fun as the students are bright and highly motivated.   

What about pay and any tips on gaining work?
Networking and flexibility are key. As well as hosting and the local AVF as mentioned above, there is a good Facebook group based in Toulouse (where I am now) EFL Teachers in Toulouse.    Typical rates of pay average €600 (gross) per week per hosted student (would include 10 hours teaching) and around €70 a day (net) for tutoring in college. I have charged between €10 – 15 an hour for occasional private clients depending on their needs and if 1:1.

If you work privately you must register as an auto-entrepreneur (self-employed) and pay taxes (flat 20%) quarterly subject to earnings threshold. It was introduced to simplify the administration for small businesses and it works.

A final note; the rental market is huge here so I'd advise renting. We have moved and rented a few times and always managed to pick up work which is plentiful.

Thanks Maggie; it's great to hear how you have been using your TESOL certificate to great effect!


Need more advice on teaching English in France? Try the following:

  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: 05/11/2015

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