Paris, France English Teaching Q&A with Lindsey Huckson

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

Teaching English in France


What is your citizenship?

Canadian

What city and state are you from?

Hamilton, Ontario

How old are you?

26

What is your education level and background?

Bachelor's Degree

Have you traveled abroad in the past?

Taught English abroad previously

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?

Kunshan, China

If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?

Brock University - for an AQ course

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?

The opportunity to travel, learn new things, meet new people, grow as an educator, and experience another culture.

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?

Finances and failure.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
    
Sad because they would miss me, scared for my safety and well-being, but still supportive of my dreams.
France Teaching English

TEFL CLASS INFORMATION

Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?

I chose to get certified because I am always looking for ways to expand my mind. I have a passion for learning and a strong desire to see the world. I had just gotten out of a very long term relationship and needed a change in scenery. What better way than to pour myself into my studies and then travel across the globe!

I chose ITA because they just seemed to have all the answers to all my questions. They are extremely organized, highly enthusiastic, open to compliments AND concerns (this is important), active on social media, and optimistic outlookers. I enrolled in the Chicago TEFL course because I love that city! I went once and just knew I would be going back one day... and it just so happened to be for the ITA course!

Which TEFL certification course did you take?

USA - Chicago TEFL Course

 Chicago TEFL Class Graduation

How did you like the course?

It was highly intensive but a great learning experience. I made lifelong friends while in the TEFL course, I spent many nights waaaaaaay past my bedtime, cried a little, laughed a lot, heard some great stories from previous Alumni, changed my outlook on teaching (in a neutral way - just a new perspective), learned how I manage under pressure, etc. But, most of all... I had a LOT of fun!

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?

One big thing my TEFL training helped with is nerves. I remember feeling so nervous to teach my first adult class - something I had never done before. Yet, somehow, I kicked butt! This prepared me for the real world where I would be placed inside a classroom and have 15 minutes to prepare. There is no time to be nervous when the pressure is on! You just... make it work somehow.
 
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?

I chose to teach English in France in the city of Paris. Do I really have to explain myself here?

Teaching English in FranceHow long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?

5 months; I plan to stay a full year, probably longer.

What school, company, or program are you working for?

BISP

During which months does your school typically hire?

I'm not sure but I assume in the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?

Not officially, but more or less.

How did you interview for this position?

- Skype/phone interview

What kind of Visa did you enter on?

Working Holiday Visa

Please explain the visa process that you went through.

Canada and France have an awesome Youth Mobility Agreement Act visa which makes the whole process SO much easier to come live abroad. Instead of re-iterating the information provided on the internet, I will just include the URL for the government website. It includes everything you will need to know if you are a Canadian looking to teach in France, or if you are a French looking to go to Canada.

What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply

- Bachelor's Degree
- Native English speaker


What is the best way to apply?

- Apply online
- Email
- In-person

Tell us about your English teaching job!

- I work full time, which is approximately 42.5hrs a week
- I make approximately 1500 - 1800 € each month
- I can save money, but that is not really my focus while living abroad
- I work for a Bilingual School in the heart of Paris, where half the day is taught in English and the other half in French (I only teach the English)
- I have a total of 24 children... 12 in the morning class and 12 in the afternoon class
- Students are 3-6 years old because I work with both Pre-K and Kindergarten
- I'm not sure how I managed to, but I have 12 to 16 weeks of vacation (crazy, I know)
- The company pays half of my transportation each month, so an additional 40€ per month

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?

I have a boyfriend here. That made EVERYTHING easier. I can't even imagine how much of a pain it would be to do it on your own.

On a scale of 1 - 10 please rate your experience with this school.  8

 

COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!

Teaching English in France

Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...    

France is a beautiful country. Here are some things I noticed during my 5 months here:

- Bonjour/bonsoir is VERY important... there is no such thing as 'over the top' when it comes to saying these greetings; if you do not say these words, do not expect a wonderful response or service
- On that note, there is not really 'customer service' in France, so my expectations are low... on the bright side, this means I am often happy with whatever I receive
- Dinner starts around 8pm here, not 5pm
- A lot of people like to walk around parks or lay on the grass and have pastries, wine, etc. while they socialize with friends
- Going for coffee or drinks is a very common social activity 
- Public transportation is extremely efficient... frequent metro carts and often exactly on time
- Downside of public transport is that there are thousands of people and it can get pretty squished
- Since my days are packed with work, I do not travel often during regular weeks or weekends. However, since I have a lot of vacation time, I can travel through Europe for a pretty great rate during my holidays

************
MOST IMPORTANTLY: If you are considering making the move to France, DO IT!!! There is absolutely no way you will ever regret it. Living abroad changes you as a person, for the better.

Teaching English in France

COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY

What are your monthly expenses?

Again, I live with my boyfriend, so I do not really keep track of any expenses. Sorry, I am not much help here!

How would you describe your standard of living?

Average to above average

In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?

1500€

France Teaching English

ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS

What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?

Read books before you go to avoid culture shock! Learn some of the language, try to understand the culture, and give yourself time to adjust. Understand that there are pros and cons to living abroad and make sure you are okay with feeling out of your comfort zone for a little while. Also, develop patience (this is a big one) and save up some money to get you on your feet during the first couple of months.

For more on Lindsey's adventures, check out her blog:  https://livelovetraveltrust.wordpress.com/

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