Teacher Feature #5

ImageName: Emilie-May Hubbard

Nationality: British and French

 How long have you been teaching? 

I’ve been transmitting the love I have for English language and British culture for 19 years now. I started teaching children when I was a young student. Our sessions were mainly based on having fun, discovering genuinely English traditions and cultural features. I then realised how English language was perceived and sadly automatically associated to a scholastic subject.

What are you teaching? 

EFL/ESL English in companies

What certifications do you have? 

Initially I didn’t want to be a language teacher or trainer but was venturing out on a more artistic venture as I wanted to be an Art Restorer (which I am also today). Therefore I decided to officialise my British nationality when passing my History of Arts degree with the Open University . In the meantime I continued to help children and young adults by giving English sessions and sharing my knowledge, as sharing is key to me and then taught as an independent worker.

How did you get into teaching English? Where are you currently working? country, school, companies, etc.

I gradually switched from teaching kids to helping adults and then had the chance to work for training companies and language schools for working people. As a result I was given the opportunity to become a Key Account Manager and Pedagogical Assistant in a training company in the Paris Region called ‘Business Class’. I do realize fortunate I am to have such a position and to be able to continue training too.

How long have you been working there? 

I have been working for Business Class for more than a year now and as the company is successful, we deal with more and more requests which are always made-to-measure.

Where else have you worked?

 In other training companies as an independent trainer.

Where do you prefer teaching English? 

I prefer sharing cultural and idiomatic aspects of the language in companies.

What do you love about teaching English? 

Helping trainees to gain self-confidence and making them realize that they can enjoy speaking English.

What are the advantages to teaching for you?  

Learning a language is a real eye-opener for trainees who discover other ways of addressing communication and encountering enriching people. The world is your oyster as we say!

What are the disadvantages to teaching for you? 

The training can be too short and frustrating for both learner and trainer. The trainee acquires knowledge and ease but has to stop once the allocated number of hours is over.

Do you like teaching English?  Why? 

Meeting great people from miscellaneous backgrounds. As a trainer you are constantly learning new things having to adapt the sessions to specific fields or diversified positions.

Do you do another job? 

Yes, I’m very lucky to have another job I also love. I am an Art Restorer, I more precisely restore paintings under the independent worker status.

Thanks so much Emilie-May for your insightful interview about teaching English in France.:D  Hope this helps someone.

Teacher Feature #2

stephanieName: Stephanie Thomas

Nationality: French-American

How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been teaching in France since 1996, though not always to the same public.

What are you teaching? EFL/ESL

I’m teaching EFL to middle school students. Having done both, I have to say I’ve always been a bit dubious about the EFL/ESL distinction.  English as a foreign language is meant to be for people living outside of English speaking countries, and English as a second language for those living in a country in which primarily English is spoken (think teaching little French kids in Normandy VS teaching Mexican laborers in California–just an example)I think the ESL/EFL distinction is artificial and our focus as teachers has a lot more to do with the WHO and the WHY. Who are we teahing and why do they need to learn English? Do they know why (think those little French kids again) ?

What certifications do you have? 

Besides a Master’s degree, I have a *TEFL certificate and a *CAPES.

How did you get into teaching English?

Unlike a lot of people, teaching English was my first choice. Of course, back in college, I thought I’d be teaching literature and writing to native speakers! Never mind. Girl meets boy and they move to France. Girl gets job teaching English. And likes it.

Where are you working? country, school, companies, etc.

I’m working in a French middle school, in the private system.

What kind of contract are you working under?

I have a permanent contract. It’s so permanent that we call ourselves “lifers,” except in this case, I can decide to leave the “prison” through the front door while I still have some dignity left.

How long have you been working there?

I started in September 2012!

Where else have you worked?

I worked for a couple of training companies offering mostly business English courses, from 1996 to 2008. Afterwards, I set up on my own for a few years–it was financially rewarding, but I missed having colleagues and someone else to call up late payers.

Where do you prefer teaching English?

My favorite courses were small groups in companies, probably for the social aspect as much as anything. I also liked intensive one-on-one courses–just a week with a good set of really precise objectives. That was fun.

What do you love about teaching English?

In my current position, the students can be really endearing, and their breakthrough moments are really special. When a kid gets up in front of the class to talk about his last vacation, and he’s red as a beet and stutters through it–it’s very satisfying to see him smiling at the end, proud. It takes a lot of hard work to get even some of the students to that point!

What are the advantages to teaching for you?

Teaching in companies allowed me to more or less set my schedule, particularly with individual students. I never had to worry much about missing a day, as we could always reschedule. This flexibility was really important to me as my family grew (and grew…). In the school system, I like having a set salary and lots of time off with my kids.

What are the disadvantages to teaching for you?

Again, corporate language training was much different from school teaching. I loved teaching adults, but I think being privy to certain personal information about my adult students (they tended to share freely) made the job challenging in ways I wasn’t equipped to handle. I don’t mean to be enigmatic, but it was largely these “intimacy” issues that drove me out of corporate training. In my school, I also have access to information about my students, but I think it helps me understand them better and teach more effectively. Sometimes it’s just plain depressing, though.

Do you like teaching English?  Why?

I like it most days. I can think of things I’d rather be doing, but they don’t pay for plane tickets. I like to think I’m making a difference to some of these students, igniting an interest or uncovering a talent.

Do you do another job?

I’m a devoted wife and mother of 4 awesome kids; these are the things, I hope, I’ll be remembered for. That… and my irregular verbs rap. It rocks.

*TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.  TEFL is one of the certificates required to teach English abroad.

*CAPES stands for Certificat d’Aptitude au Professorat de l’Enseignement du Second Degré.  This French diploma is needed to become a civil servant teacher in middle and high school.

Big thank you to Stephanie for sharing a bit of her teaching experience with us.

Get Qualified for TEFL!



Lifelong Learning

Learning is Life

Life is Learning

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Certificate Program

in conjunction with

Graduate School-Newark, Rutgers,The State University

of New Jersey  USA

Tuesdays, January 8 – June 4, 2013

The TEFL Certificate is a course for those of you looking into a portable career worldwide as a teacher of English or other languages. It is designed for participants with little or no teaching experience as a practical course which stresses teaching practice and hands-on experience over language theory. The methodology is dynamic and interactive emphasizing actual teaching and observation of teaching and learning. It will prepare you for employment in the field of foreign language teaching and instill a reflective approach to learning. You will become operational in various teaching methods in a wide variety of contexts in order to continue to develop throughout your career, wherever and whatever language or subject you might be teaching.

Participants who successfully complete all course requirements receive an internationally recognized TEFL Certificate in conjunction with Rutgers State University of New Jersey, Graduate School of Liberal Arts, Newark, New Jersey, essential for teaching English in France and other countries. Graduates also receive continuing education credits from Rutgers University.


Jacqueline Garçon is a practicing classroom teacher who has extensive experience teaching English, EFL/ ESL and French. She has worked in program design and management plus teacher education and French at Harvard University.  She engages in research, contributes to professional journals and presents at international conferences. She has an MA in TESOL from Boston University and an MA in French from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The course will be held in Paris near Montparnasse.



For further information please contact Jackie Garçon

at Languages & Lifelong Learning

Languages & Lifelong Learning, Association loi du 1er juillet 1901, noº Siret 51173895700014



Red Tape part 2

Well 9 days, 5 hours combing the internet, and 10 phone calls later I’ve come to the conclusion that there is very little incentive in France to get out there and create your own business.  My goodness you have to be a lot more than Superwoman or Einstein. I imagine you have to be that rabid dog foaming at the mouth with teeth biting the bone for dear life, while being dragged through hoops on fire.  I knew this all along but I just kept thinking it’s the 21st century and things are going to be better.  I realize more and more it’s a cultural mindset.  I’m not French, so really I can’t relate and I don’t want to; that would be the end of who I am if I started to.

So what should I start with – the good news or the bad?  The bad news is I can’t teach in companies and do personal tutoring as a self-employed teacher.  I have to choose.  The civil servant on the phone suggested I could start two separate companies, then I could do both.  Silence prevailed because I thought I was going to scream.  It’s really unfair how they try to control how much you make and how much business you can do.  The agrément I need is the basic one called the agrément simple.  Each job has either the simple one or a more complicated one which has lots more checks and paperwork.  These agréments are for various types of jobs like, child care, tutoring, giving classes in a clients’ home, transporting young children(handicapped or the elderly), etc.

Good news I don’t have to go to the Préfecture d’Evreux to get my agrément file, I can do it on the internet.  I have to provide lots of paperwork, like diplomas, brochures, etc(more on that later).  I will send all the information in by  internet and then I have to wait two months for the response.  Before I make this demand I have to change from my auto-entrpreneur to a micro-entreprise.  I was told this takes about fifteen days.  That means I must have all my paperwork to change statutes before I apply for the agrément.  Don’t forget this is France and July and August are the months where the fewest knowledgeable and helpful people work.  The French are usually away here on extremely long summer vacations about  2 – 4 weeks.  Everything works at snail pace – dreadfully slow.  If I can respect this schedule I should know when the summer school holidays are finished at the end of August or in September.  Hi ho, Hi ho, I’m off to work,  I go…..

Red Tape

Starting a small business in France is no simple task.  I’ve taught these past few years with a statute called “auto-entrepreneur”.  This means that I can work as a self-employed teacher.  I’m expected to bill my clients with no VAT and declare my total earnings every three months, whether I earn something or not.  After declaration we have to pay our social charges which are determined by the amount earned and the type of business activity.  The statute auto-entrepreneur has a limited turnover of 81,500€ for selling merchandise  and 32,600€ for provision of services.  Unfortunately, those who work as auto-entrepreneur can’t write off their expenses. So it could be very costly to work depending on your activity.   This statute could have been very comfortable for me except no one is allowed to be on this statute longer than three years.

I’m slowly coming to my three years in November 2012.  So I’ve been working towards changing to a company.  This afternoon I tried to call the DDTEFP which stands for Direction Départementale du Travail, de l’Emploi, et de la Formation Professionnelle.  I called to ask them to send me the file by email, that I needed to get an agrément.  The agrément is an approval which shows that you are a recognized trainer and gives your clients advantages on their tax forms.  Instead, I got a civil servant on the line telling me what I can and can’t do.  She basically told me that I couldn’t tutor English and teach English in companies, that I had to choose.  I understood that the file she was to give me was for tutoring but, I just wanted to know if there was a file I could fill out to teach in companies as an independent as well.  She then persisted to give me a bogus email address to get the file.  I went to the address but the file wasn’t there.  This is typical of French administration.  The people who answer the phones never seem to know what’s going on and always seem to steer people in the wrong direction.  I then called the Chamber de Commerce to ask them what I needed to teach in companies as an independent and they didn’t know anything either.  I couldn’t believe this.  Normally the Chamber of Commerce should know how business works here in France.  This lady gave me another number.  I called that number and she didn’t know either and of course the person who could answer my question was on holiday and wouldn’t be back for a week.  We are on winter break at the moment.  So I started my search and found everything on the net.

A self-employed trainer needs a number from the DRTEFP which stands for La Direction Régionale du Travail, de l’Emploi, de la Formation.  Apparently many trainers are discouraged by the process of obtaining the famous number.  Basically, I must fill out a file asking for the number while providing a teaching service to a first client.  I must tell the client that I’ve applied and I’m waiting to receive my number from the DRTEFP.  Usually the number is distributed within two to three weeks.  Then I must rebill the client with the new valid number received from the DRTEFP.  Et voilà I’m in business. Sounds a lot like getting the green card.  You need a green card to get a job and you can’t get a job until you have the green card!

That took three hours to discover this afternoon and I still have to get both files sent to me by email.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be more fruitful.  I need to get on the move Mick Jagger…..