The answer is a resounding yes. If you have a fair amount of experience in teaching, both online and in physical classrooms and know how to deliver online French language lessons, then the job is yours!
Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops. - Henry Brooks Adams.
There are more than 10,000 positions open worldwide for French-language assistants. And the best part is that you don't have to be a native French speaker to become a teaching assistant. All you need is to have a sound understanding of how to read, speak, and write the language. There are so many people travelling beyond their national borders in order to contribute to global teaching of world languages. And you could be the next one!
All About The French Language Assistant
A French language assistant, as the name suggests, assists in teaching a language. So, when you go to learn French language like in a French language course, you must have come across an individual who helps with the teacher's notes or assists with assignments. That is who a language assistant is. In fact, a language assistant can sometimes engage with students to deliver a free lesson or two beyond your regular French lessons.
Generally, this position is for native speakers of the language. This is primarily because teaching a new language requires a sound understanding of the culture and context. The latter requires cultural immersion that goes a long way to help students get the right amount of exposure.
You will find a language assistant in:
- Primary schools.
- High schools.
- Other educational institutions.
- Embassies of various countries in partner nations.
The programmes for language assistants are usually reserved for university students who are native speakers of the language or residents of French-speaking countries. So, no matter what level of expertise you are at with your French language skills, native French-speaking people will always get the preference owing to the nature of the job.
Role of A French Language Assistant
It is important to note that a language assistant doesn't replace a teacher, but rather helps to make the former's job easier. For students too, having an extra pair of eyes to go over their writing and grammar understanding, is very helpful and enhances their learning experience. You will often find a language assistant engaging with sub-groups of students, exposing them to practical French-speaking experiences. Their main focus will be on the communicative aspects of the language rather than the academic side of things.
Other responsibilities of a French-language assistant include, but are not limited to:
- Helping students practice and improve their basic understanding of the French language.
- Organizing spoken French and interactive classes.
- Helping students build knowledge of the culture and history of the language.
- One-on-one engagement beyond language books.
- Participating in educational activities at the school, college, university, or language centre.
- Organizing exchange programs.
- Establishing language clubs or book clubs.
- Providing additional support to students to qualify for competitive language exams.
- Executing cultural events to enhance exposure to the native culture.
- Enhancing language vocabulary and grammar understanding beyond language courses.
Find out more about the roles and responsibilities of a French language course assistant.
Benefits of Being A French Language Assistant
Language assistants have great career potential. You can enroll for jobs in the domestic country, for example in the French embassy here in India, or even travel to France and join any educational program as a language assistant. Depending on the destination, assistants usually go for between 4 and 7 months. This is primarily because language assistants are hired on a contractual basis which corresponds to the academic term tenure. The term could be different for various countries and also depends on the nature of the program.
Advantages of the Profile
As a language assistant, you stand to benefit in the following ways:
- Become a trainer.
- Get exposure to world culture.
- Get trained by experts.
- Have a flexible career profile.
- Enjoy the benefits of working abroad.
- Study while you earn.
- Learn new skills while on the job.
- Get paid for acquiring new skills.
- Good salary packages and great saving potential.
- Exposure to multiple cultures including their food, fashion, and lifestyle.
- Ample scope to have fun while working.
Possible Countries of Work for French Language Assistants
While you can always choose to remain in your own country and work as an assistant in a French language course, there are various other countries to explore when it comes to finding a job.
- New Zealand
Other Languages (Dutch, Portuguese, etc.)
How is A Language Assistant Different From A Language Teacher?
A language teacher is a primary agent through which language lessons are delivered. A language assistant, on the other hand, acts more like a pillar of support to enhance the whole teaching and learning experience. Some of the key differences between a teacher and a teaching assistant are given below:
- A teacher is the captain of the ship, while the assistant acts as the First Officer.
- A teacher is in charge of reviewing the curriculum, making necessary course corrections, and keep track of students' progress by tracking milestones.
- A teaching assistant, on the other hand, supports the teachers with add-on services like marking attendance, help teachers with checking homework and organizing supporting activities to complement the lesson plans.
- The teacher is someone who acts as the leader of the course, while the teaching assistant acts as a co-voyager.
- The teaching assistant also has the important role of working with students to address their requirements beyond just the lesson plans.
Basic Eligibility Criteria to Become A French Language Assistant
The eligibility criteria vary across different countries. However, there are some standard requirements for a French-language assistant to be hired into any language course:
- Preference is given to French nationals living in France.
- You need to be enrolled as a student in any French university.
- You should have passed the second year of your degree course.
- Prior teaching experience of the language is given preference.
- Age is also a factor; in India, you have to be between 22 to 35 years old to become a language assistant.
You don't need to be a teacher in order to become a language assistant, but a keen interest in teaching is a must. You do not necessarily have to apply to language programs and can also apply to vacant positions directly. Usually, language assistants start at the beginning of the academic year as this time is the best for them to get to know the students.
A Year of Experience in A Foreign Country Can Help
An immersion program helps immensely, especially in picking up a language that is as intricate as the French language. If you’re studying a language degree, you can opt to do a year abroad as a language assistant. Most universities have this option and actually encourage you to go abroad. You can even apply for grants to help you with funding. In some cases, since your year abroad is an extra university year, it mightn’t affect your grades.
Depending on the programme you do or whether you apply directly, there may be limitations to the number of years you can be a language assistant. However, countries like Germany, Austria, and India allow you to apply for contract renewals at the end of the academic year. This means you will have to be an excellent performer to the extent of being an asset to the university so they would want to keep you.
There are still other countries like the USA, Mexico, Taiwan, Australia, and Canada that do not allow you to apply for any renewal. The end of the contract implies you either have to start looking for jobs in the same country or come back to your home country and enroll in another program.
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. - Albert Einstein.
A teaching assistant is no less than a teacher himself. You can be a private tutor or university staff. Either way, teaching is a great way to encourage the next generation of leaders who would carry the culture and history of the French language to the next generation.
As a student of the French language, you can search for "French classes near me" and sign up for one-on-one French lessons on Superprof. You can opt for group tutorials or individual tutors. Both have their own advantages and will contribute to your French language course in their own unique ways.