30 Reasons To Be a Teaching Assistant in France

Accepted to TAPIF? Thinking of applying next year? Already a teaching assistant and needing to be reminded of why we all came out here in the first place? These are the Reasons you’ve been looking for:
  1. You speak some French and want to improve.
  2. You want to become fluent in French—this is not easy. I suppose it’s possible, but it requires far more work than I or any of my friends were willing to dedicate.
  3. You want to live in France for 7 months.
  4. You want to live in Europe for 7 months, and you’ll settle for France.
  5. You want to drink scrumptious 4 euro wine for 7 months.
  6. You wouldn’t mind getting drunk with your friends on 2 euro bottles of hangover-inducing wine.
  7. You want to live within 25 feet of the best bakery in France for 7 months—fyi, the best bakery is always the closest or second closest one to your apartment.
  8. You like café crèmes.
  9. You want to drink café crèmes on outdoor terraces…in France.
  10. You want to buy and consume countless tubs of Nutella and call it a “cultural experience”.
  11. You wouldn’t mind becoming a regular at the local Irish/expat pub.
  12. You want to travel in Europe.
  13. You want to help support yourself while traveling in Europe.
  14. You didn’t study abroad in college and you regret it.
  15. You did study abroad in college and it was the best time ever.
  16. You only want to work 12 hours a week.
  17. You have something you want to accomplish during the 156 hours a week you’re not working (write a novel, compose a symphony, apply to grad school, etc.)
  18. You wouldn’t mind having 6 weeks paid vacation during your 7 month contract.
  19. You can survive on only 800 euros a month (and have savings, or generous parents, to supplement that).
  20. You like teaching!
  21. You think you might like teaching.
  22. You want to be a teacher, or at the very least you would consider it if you couldn’t find a different job.
  23. You don’t want a real job yet.
  24. You had a real job and you need a break.
  25. Nobody has hired you for a real job yet and you need to get out of your parents’ house.
  26. You want to beef up your résumé.
  27. You “forgot” to apply to grad school last year.
  28. You were rejected from grad school.
  29. You didn’t apply to grad school because you don’t know what you want to study.
  30. You need some time to “find yourself” and “figure out what you want”.


Basically, if a baguette-filled, Nutella-smothered, wine-soaked year in France doesn’t appeal to you, DON’T DO IT. If it does, and you think you can handle the 12 hours of work, and the even more daunting 156 hours of free time, and the thought of hanging out in a teachers’ lounge making mostly awkward small talk in French tickles your fancy, COME COME COME COME. Best job ever.

Fellow teaching assistants, what can you add to this list? Why are you over here?

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7 thoughts on “30 Reasons To Be a Teaching Assistant in France

  1. Thanks so much for making this list! I’ll be secondary in Aix-Marseille next year and I’m eager to learn more about the experiences of current assistants. Question about filling the time: have you found much to do outside of travelling and the self-directed activities you mentioned? E.g., volunteering opportunities, conversation clubs, side jobs such as tutoring English or babysitting? (Of course, I realize that these will differ depending on where I’m placed!)

    -Sarah

    • Congratulations! I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time. Provided you’re near a city, finding conversation clubs should be easy. In Nice, for example, I know of at least 2 or 3 bars that host conversation exchanges on different nights of the week. As for side jobs, you will have no problem filling up your schedule with tutoring gigs or babysitting jobs, you just have to put yourself out there, let people know you’re available. I placed an ad for private English courses on cherchecours.com. I didn’t end up taking on that many jobs, but that was by choice. For babysitting jobs, I suggest you just mention your availability in the salle de profs at your school and hope word of mouth is sufficient. As for volunteering jobs, I’m positive you could find something very worthwhile and fulfilling; the key to everything in France is dogged persistence. Bon chance! xx

  2. Pingback: Lesson Learned: 10 Tips for Teaching Assistants in France | Doing It in French

  3. Pingback: TAPIF | Choosing to be a Language Assistant in France | Ciao, Urte! | Travel is life.

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