I teach, therefore I learn. - Anonymous.
Have you ever considered teaching a foreign language course? If you haven't, then now is the best time to do it. Around 2 and 2.5 million French citizens live outside of France and a lot of them are teaching French as a foreign language. This is an indication of the demand the language has across the world. And not just for intermediate and advanced students, you can become a French language teacher in schools, colleges, or universities and start teaching beginners.
Becoming a French teacher can be really fun. You can not only teach students, but also work as an interpreter for any embassy and interact with immigrants, refugees, children, teenagers, or adults. But first, you need to understand how to learn French, if you aren't already an expert at it. You also need to be aware of exactly what a French language teacher does beyond just teaching a foreign language.
Read on to find out more about the roles and responsibilities of a French teacher and the skills you need to become one. For more information on how to learn French or French teacher jobs, visit Alliance Francaise.
How To Deliver French Classes As A Language Teacher
As a French teacher, you are most likely to start teaching with a beginner class. These are mostly people who do not speak native French. You must understand that those who opt to learn French do not belong to French-speaking countries. Unlike French-speaking countries where children learn to speak the language since birth, in non-French countries, the scenario is pretty different. Just like you would have to really work hard to learn Sanskrit in India as a second or third language, so will these students in non-French speaking countries. In Mali, for example, French is a second language and it’s used by part of the population.
So, you have to choose your content very carefully when delivering French lessons. French as a foreign language is more akin to your typical foreign language classes at school. You have to teach it in a way that familiarizes students with not just the vocabulary and grammar, but also the culture of France. You really have to build an experience for them to well-versed with the language so much so that they almost speak like a native French in Paris.
The benefit of being a French teacher is that you can teach anywhere in the world where the language is spoken. Or you can also organize an online class every now and then. And considering French is the fifth most popular global language, that market is huge. This is, of course, notwithstanding the challenges of teaching a foreign language to a beginner who has no clue about its origins. A French teacher needs to adapt to each lesson and each student as they can even find themselves in classes where the students are of different ages.
Roles and Responsibilities of A French Teacher
No matter which country you choose to work in as a French teacher, there is a standard set of roles and responsibilities that you will need to perform in the given profile. However, you have to remember that a degree in the French language is not a ticket to a job as a French teacher either in schools or universities. In fact, a better place to start would probably be as an interpreter or teaching assistant. But the primary goal in any job profile remains the same- teach French to non-native French students.
Responsibilities of A French Teacher
If you are a French teacher, you will be expected to deliver certain basic outcomes that include:
- Creating the content based on information and standards laid down by an apex body.
- Creating lesson plans for each day of study.
- Teaching French vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
- Enhancing French writing skills for intermediate and advanced students of the course.
- Exposing students to French culture.
- Organizing activities to facilitate learning outside the classroom for a few hours every week.
- Designing cultural activities to complement the language courses.
Skills Required To Become A French Teacher
As a French teacher or any teacher, you must be a master of the 2 P's- patience and pedagogy. You have to remember that time is of the essence here and you must invest in each student if you want to be a great teacher and mentor. Your empathy for students can go a long way in creating masters of the French language in the future.
Learning a new language after the age of 5 is very difficult. As a toddler, your brain can pick up words much faster than when you are older. As a French teacher, you must be cognizant of this challenge and design your lessons accordingly. Remember that your role is to encourage and reassure the student, showing them how to continue and not lose confidence.
Listening with empathy is another skill that you should build. This helps you identify the precise challenge a student might be facing and work on it accordingly. Spending a couple of hours just understanding the struggles of your students makes you more flexible as a teacher.
Of course, a French teacher needs to master the French language. Although you are not expected to have the level of expertise a native French would have, you are expected to have a high learning orientation. The latter helps you keep up with evolving language changes and enhance the learning experience of your students.
Other Soft Skills That Are Good To Have As A French Teacher
If you want to be at the top of Google search options for "Best French Teachers Near Me", you can work on building your soft skills along with your language certifications:
- Lead by example.
- Being attentive.
- Being solution-oriented.
- Being imaginative.
- Good public speaking skills.
- Excellent non-verbal communication skills.
Different Options As A French Teacher
The good part about being a foreign language teacher is that you have choices when it comes to choosing a career path. Similarly with French, there multiple ways to teach the language as a French teacher. You can teach French at universities to foreign students, teach immigrants moving to a French-speaking country, or even offer lessons to associations or private companies. You can even look for employment in foreign cultural or language centers.
Make sure you have the necessary qualifications like a language certification from Alliance Francaise and the required language degree. You can arm yourself with degrees and apply for jobs abroad. Or you can also take the route of enrolling in language programs abroad and starting out as a language teaching assistant.
Your level of expertise and experience will determine your pay scale. Also, the nature of your job profile and terms of employment may sometimes dictate your salary. Make sure you check the paperwork required by the country too.
Never be tired of learning or teaching others.- Confucious.
As a French teacher, it is important to be aware of your audience. Needless to say that you definitely won't be teaching any native French. You will however be extensively interacting with asylum seekers, immigrants, and students of language courses. In light of this, it can very well be said that the age group you will be dealing with is going to be pretty extensive. Make sure you have a fair understanding of your students' expectations across all levels.
You will have a relatively easier time with the younger lot who can pick up a new language faster and better. This is owing to the speed of information processing by the human brain and has got nothing to do with a learning orientation. Learning new languages can be difficult for the brightest students.
If you need help with your French language understanding, why don't you sign up for a free class on Superprof and get your doubts addressed? You can post your queries, interact live with experts, and also get a glimpse of how an online tutor conducts a French language class.
So, are you excited enough to start your journey as a French teacher?