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Never go to Paris

 
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muzorewi1984



Joined: 06 Aug 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:30 pm    Post subject: Never go to Paris Reply with quote

I was tempted to write a huge misery memoir here: God knows I could, but I'll stick to giving advice on the off-chance it might help people who, like me, want to find a teaching job in Paris.

That advice is simple: DO NOT GO TO PARIS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE PREVIOUS TEACHING EXPERIENCE.

Seriously. About 80 per cent of all language schools here state on their ads they want experience, the rest will tell you they do later. I emailed, phoned or visited (yes I did the whole print off your CVs and tramp around Paris for several days dropping in on schools in person routine) pretty much every language school worth going here (20+). And had pretty much identical conversations with nearly all of them:

Me: Hello, I'm interested in the teaching position.

Them: Oh Ok. How much teaching experience do you have? (almost literally always the first question)

Me: Well, I'm newly qualified.

Them: Well, have you taught in France before?

Me: No.

Them: What countries have you taught in?

Me: I haven't. I'm newly qualified.

Them. Oh (awkward pause follows).

Ok. Of all the dozens of schools I applied for I ended up with four interviews. Here is how they went:

School 1: Went to interview. They actually told me, and emailed me later, saying they would give me a job. Then, one day before they were due to give me the contract to sign, they emailed me again saying they were withdrawing their job offer for no reason.

School 2: Invited me in for two interviews and then (three weeks after the first interview) sent me an email saying they had to turn me down because they didn't have as much work on as they thought

School 3: SPECIFICALLY SAID in their ad that experience wasn't required. Went to a presentation evening where it was stressed WE TAKE PEOPLE WITHOUT PREVIOUS TEACHING EXPERIENCE. Went to an interview. Two weeks later I was told I had been rejected. Phoned up and asked why. Got the reply: "You did a good interview, but we had other candidates with more experience".

School 4: Only had one job going and many people applying for it. You can guess the rest.

Seriously. I like Paris as a place and I might try to crack it again, but I will certainly not come back until I have 3-4 years of good experience and preferably some experience teaching businesses (very big here).

OK, this is just what happened to me, and I'm sure if you trawl this board you'll find people saying "I was fresh out of college and I got a job in Paris in 2 days and it was great! I love it here!".

Fine. I'm sure they're telling the truth. They got a lucky break, I've had four weeks of absolute hell on earth. At the very least, if you are thinking of going to Paris to teach without much experience my advice is to think very hard indeed.
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riverboat



Joined: 22 May 2009
Posts: 117
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. It must have been very frustrating.

To give another side to the story: I got a job in Paris with a CELTA and no teaching experience. As did quite a few other people at my school, some in the last couple of months. Some with only an online cert.

I know at least a couple of other people who have got jobs here with no experience, at schools including Berlitz and Wall Street.

To be honest, it's very possible that the 'sorry, we need experience' line is just code for something else. How you come across, as in whether you seem polite and professional, and they feel comfortable sending you out to represent their school and work with clients, is very important. I know for a fact that my boss would be 100 times more likely to turn someone away based on feeling they wouldn't be appreciated attitude-wise by clients, or would be difficult to manage from her point of view, than she would be based on a lack of experience.

For example, I don't know if you were paraphrasing in your previous post, but if you really just said 'no' to the question 'do you have teaching experience?' that wouldn't come across well, or give an impression of professionalism or eagerness to work. Something like 'no, but I have had X amount of teaching practice on my TEFL cert, and I used to help train people in my last job' sounds better and shows you're trying to make a good impression.

Then again, it's possible you just got unlucky and if that's the case then it sucks - where did you look for jobs?
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muzorewi1984



Joined: 06 Aug 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything I say is likely to be seen as sour grapes, but I'll try to be as straight as possible. I didn't really want to give names, but, yes, one of the places I had an interview at was Berlitz (option 3 on my list).

At the presentation evening, there were about 12 people who could very easily be divided into two camps:

i) People with no experience who (and I know this sounds like me being bitter, but anyway) struck me as being useless. They were typically Americans there on a student visa who asked questions along the lines of "I'm only here for three months, is that OK?". Some of them couldn't seem to speak English very well themselves.

ii) People who had been teaching for years and asked questions along the lines of "you pay €10,74 a lesson!? I've been teaching for years! Won't I be paid more (answer, no)!"

Because of this, I thought I stood a good chance.

Of course it's my perspective, but I thought the interview went really well. I was really confident going into it and the interview mainly focussed on aspects of French and English grammar and how I would teach them. I have a background in linguistics and know both languages very well (I have a degree in English and have studied French at a high level) so I was on very comfortable ground here. I left thinking "I've really nailed this one". It was by far the best interview I gave out there.

As I say, I got rejected by email. When I phoned up to ask why, the lady seemed embarrassed and she really did just say words very close to "you interviewed well, but we just had candidates with more experience than you."

I still have Berlitz's advertisement which states: "no experience required".

That was kind of it for me.
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Louisdf



Joined: 05 Feb 2013
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

muzorewi1984 wrote:

I still have Berlitz's advertisement which states: "no experience required".

That was kind of it for me.

Yes, but it was likely that other people who also applied had experience, which meant they got priority over you. Remember that in Paris is a popular European destination for teachers, and there are many teachers permanently based with years of experience and a proven track record. In France many people (including people who are unemployed or working at Carrefour) have University degrees/masters etc. so having a degree and a CELTA certificate wouldn't necessarily impress people. You should focus on smaller cities like Lyon/Bordeaux etc. where there are less natives. Also, your living costs would be much more reasonable than in Paris.
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muzorewi1984



Joined: 06 Aug 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely agree. That's what I'm saying - I got to the position where I just thought I was never going to get a job in Paris because no matter what happened in the interview they were always going to have interviewed ten people with good experience and they would always employ those people over me. Which is understandable, I guess. I just wish I'd known that before.
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riverboat



Joined: 22 May 2009
Posts: 117
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry but it is categorically not true that everyone, or even the majority of people, teaching in Paris have experience.

Of course you're in a better position to get a job if you have it, but I know dozens of people who have come here with no experience and got a job. Including at least 2 I can think of at Berlitz.

Personality is very important. You have to be able to work with and adapt to a wide range of clients teaching English in Paris, do a fair bit of ego-stroking, entertaining, making clients like you etc. In this market, that element is just as important as the language know-how and teaching skills. Maybe that was the problem.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 1364
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For many of the Business English jobs in Paris they're looking for a certain personality type and appearance. they want professional looking, i.e. conservative hairstyle, dress, no tattoos people with a business like manner. They won't say this but it's what they want. Do you tick these boxes?
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muzorewi1984



Joined: 06 Aug 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a ten-year career in business behind me. That's why I thought I'd be good for the job. So, yes, I dress like a businessman, short hair, suit, formal appearance. Didn't get me anywhere.

Look, I can only say what my own experience was, which was that the only feedback I ever received for my various rejections was "there were more experienced applicants". If people think that was actually some code for "you have an unimpressive personality and that's why we're not employing you", well... it's hard for me to produce a defence here, isn't it? All I can say is I thought my interviews went well.

For what it's worth, I've spoken to a number of friends I have in EFL and they've all told me I was mad to go to Paris and it's a tough, tough market. That was my experience, it won't be everyone's. If you go to Paris and walk into a job, good for you. I'm not saying that'll never happen. But it didn't happen for me.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 1364
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

muzorewi1984 wrote:
I have a ten-year career in business behind me. That's why I thought I'd be good for the job. So, yes, I dress like a businessman, short hair, suit, formal appearance. Didn't get me anywhere.

Look, I can only say what my own experience was, which was that the only feedback I ever received for my various rejections was "there were more experienced applicants". If people think that was actually some code for "you have an unimpressive personality and that's why we're not employing you", well... it's hard for me to produce a defence here, isn't it? All I can say is I thought my interviews went well.

For what it's worth, I've spoken to a number of friends I have in EFL and they've all told me I was mad to go to Paris and it's a tough, tough market. That was my experience, it won't be everyone's. If you go to Paris and walk into a job, good for you. I'm not saying that'll never happen. But it didn't happen for me.


If you still fancy Paris try BTL Formation. I worked for them for two years, nice people and interesting job travelling all over the Paris region to banks, insurance companies and so on.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15330

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't come to France. It is full of foreigners. You won't like it.
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