Frequently Asked Questions
Will I pass the TEFL course?
Almost certainly - if you are able to work at degree level and are prepared to work hard and put much of your life on hold for the 4 weeks! We do endeavour to only accept trainees who we feel can get through. As there is continual assessment, you will be informed early on if your work or professionalism is not reaching the required standard, so you can make adjustments. If you struggle with the teaching aspect, there is sometimes the possibility of arranging further teaching practices post course, but this is at our discretion, and further fees are incurred so try to avoid this. Completion of theory work takes priority over teaching practice as work to be completed during the 4 weeks. We are very supportive throughout.
How does the teaching practice on a TEFL course work? Who do I teach? How often do I teach?
You teach a minimum of 6 hours in total, to small groups (eg usually of 4 to 12 students) of mixed age and mixed nationality. You will gain experience of teaching at least two different levels. Your students come to the classes for free and are delighted to have a real teacher teaching them - the classes are a lot of fun! The first lesson you teach in week 1 is planned for you. We give you plenty of help planning your lessons, and you get indepth and very supportive feedback after each time you teach. You will also observe your fellow trainees and experienced teachers.
How intensive is the TEFL Toulouse course? What if I am ill during the TEFL course?
You need to be free of any other commitment for the month you are with us, and do all you can to not to miss any element of the course. You are essentially learning to be a language teacher, and learning the 'rules' of the English language, in just 4 weeks. Attendance at the school is from 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday (with breaks and lunch break), and you will need to do some work in the evenings and weekends too. We do not recommend more than about a 45min drive door to door to reach us, if you live in France already - we can provide local accommodation for the 4 weeks. The whole thing is such fun though - just see our "testimonials" on the home page!
If you have genuine unforeseen problems we are usually able to implement special procedures to help you get through your TEFL course. This usually involves teaching any missed classes in the week after the course. There are fees involved.
There is sometimes the opportunity to take an afternoon off here and there, but this depends on trainee numbers.
The one to one project has a deadline of one week after the TEFL course ends.
Will I be able to find teaching work straight away after the TEFL course? Tell me more about TEFL TOULOUSE job guidance service. What sort of TEFL work will I get?
On average, our past graduates get some teaching work as little as a week after they finish, and get a full teaching timetable by around a month later. We show you how to set up as a freelancer (auto-entrepreneur in French) and you should be prepared to work as one as language schools want freelancers more and more these days. More on this below. Schools will usually start you off with around 10 hours a week to see how you get on, then increase once they realise how good you are! Many graduates top up with private teaching. We also have a lot of ex trainees who make a living teaching English in their home or gite in France.
One of the reasons for us opening in France is due to the current high demand for English all over the country. France is changing - fast. There are over 30 language schools in and around Toulouse. Freelancing can be more lucrative if you have a nose for business - so even in months when there isn't much hiring, you can still make ends meet by teaching privately. Quite a few of our ex trainees have even gone on to open their own language schools in France!
We offer a lifelong job guidance service. This means that as well as providing indepth help re setting up in France, we can give you support for the rest of your life, regardless of the location - we have ex trainees who have taught in Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, China, Mexico......... Just stay in touch and we will help you along the way.
*Please note that it is difficult to find English teaching work in English speaking countries (UK, Ireland, Australia, USA etc) due to the huge amount of competition for jobs. However, with recent waves of immigration this may be about to change!
Can Americans do a TEFL course in France? Can Canadians do a TEFL course in France? Can Australians do a TEFL course in France? Can Americans work in France?
If you are from the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand then you can always just come and do our TEFL TOULOUSE course on a standard 3 month tourist visa. 3 months is still plenty of time to do the course and then enjoy France / Europe! Jonathan is an ex tour guide for France and Spain and can recommend some great locations and even suggest some mini tours!
If you are based in the US you might even want to compare the cost of a local TEFL course + accommodation (if you don't live where the course is) at home, with TEFL TOULOUSE + flight + about 400e for accommodation with us. There may not be that much difference and you will have the time of your life for 3 months!
If you are from Canada, Australia or New Zealand, and are 18 to 30 years old, then you should ask your French consulate about the "working holiday agreements" whereby you can have paid employment in France for up to a year without having to worry about special visas.
It's all about reciprocal agreements between countries - and these do change. Contact your French consulate / embassy to get the most up to date and relevant information for your case.
Of course if you have a European passport, you do not need to do anything - you can live and work anywhere in the EU.
*By purchasing a French course (at http://www.alliance-toulouse.org/index.php?L=2) whilst in your home country, Americans, Canadians and Australians are sometimes able to come and stay for up to a year teaching in Toulouse. Contact us for more details.
How much can I earn as a TEFL teacher in France? Do TEFL teachers work for different schools? How many hours can I teach TEFL a week? Working as a freelance "auto-entrepreneur" TEFL teacher in France. Types of TEFL work contract in France
Most private language schools in France pay 20 to 30 euros an hour gross to newly qualified teachers and then you lose a bit of this for tax. They give you a short term contract and deal with the bureaucracy for you. Language schools are now increasingly asking their teachers to set up as freelancers ("auto-entrepreneurs") though, so they don't have to pay your tax! You just bill the school for the hours you work there, as if you were a plumber or electrician!
You can charge upwards of 30e an hour locally if you are qualified and set yourself up as a freelancer ("auto-entrepreneur") which is not hard to do, and we show you how to do it. You lose a bit more tax with this - which is why you should charge more - but have greater flexibility.
The easiest way to envisage being a freelance teacher at a language school is to imagine yourself as a plumber - they need a teacher and call you, you quote your rate and they either accept or decline (or make you an offer!). You just send them a bill for your services at the end of each month.
As a freelancer not working for a language school - ie you put ads around town and get your own students - you can tell your students that you will be away on XYZ dates, but can find a replacement teacher if they want one - ideal if you have another lucrative part time job or want plenty of free time or flexibility.
It is common for teachers to be freelancers AND have a contract with a language school. Contracts offered are usually CDD (short term contracts) or CDI (long term contracts). Most teachers have at least 2 teaching "jobs" at once, eg working privately and then with 2 other language schools.
Universities here in Toulouse pay TEFL teachers up to 60e an hour -although the catch is that you have to have another contract somewhere else and usually have a year or two experience. But a great option if you do!
Upwards of 30 hours a week teaching is going to be tiring. The great thing about TEFL teaching is that you can usually take on more or less work depending on your personal aims for any given period of your life- especially if you are freelance. Or just go back home for the summers to teach in summer schools! It's an ideal job if you have seasonal work or a serious hobby!
In any case make sure you have access to enough money to survive for a couple of months until you get a full timetable - although in sunny Toulouse you can while away a morning quite happily with a 2 euro cup of coffee!
Will TEFL TOULOUSE help me find a job teaching EFL wherever I want to go?
Please note again that it can be difficult to find English teaching work in English speaking countries (UK, Ireland, USA, Canada..)
Accommodation for the TEFL course. When should I arrive in Toulouse?
We have hand picked some great host families, single owners renting a room, studio flats - past trainees have been delighted. Prices are around 350 to 600 euros for the 4 weeks. You can often pay a bit extra and arrive a few days early or leave a few days later, and this is highly recommended - just pay the host family a bit extra for the extra days. It is highly unlikely you will want to leave Toulouse just as you have finished the course and can start to really discover the city and have fun.
You will be too busy during the course to do much going out during the week, so ex trainees who don't know Toulouse have recommended arriving at least 3 days before the course starts and leaving perhaps 5 days after it ends. See our Accommodation page and get in touch - every situation is different and we are all very flexible! Please finalise accommodation with us well before you arrive, to be on the safe side. Accommodation fees are paid direct to the owner upon arrival.
I'm European. What documents do I need to bring to work in France?
None. You can just come with your passport as if you were going on holiday. Any paperwork can be done here after the course.
Do I need to be a native speaker of English to do a TEFL course?
No, and we welcome applications from non-native speakers who have an advanced level of written and spoken English. Note for all: non native teachers can be excellent at teaching all except the very highest level students, due to their acquired knowledge of English grammar! They can, and often do, keep us native speakers on our toes! Established TEFL techniques can of course be used to teach any language. We have had very positive reports from French trainees who are in Asia teaching English and French, with our TEFL certificate.
What is TEFL course moderation /TEFL course accreditation / TEFL course validation?
We believe that having experts come to scrutinize us is in your interest as well as ours. TEFL courses, as with anything you purchase, should be obliged to be what they claim to be, and do what they claim to do. External moderation (resulting in "validation"or "accreditation") visits ensure that that certain standards are met and maintained. It's what adds the required weight to your TEFL qualification, and gives you peace of mind when you book a course. Some of the best known external validating bodies for TEFL courses in Europe are Cambridge (CELTA), Trinity, SIT in the USA, and IATQuO. We have opted for validation by the latter who require similar standards. Unfortunately there are some "pirate" TEFL courses out there who do not adhere to high standards, or claim to be externally accredited, when in fact the accrediting body has been set up internally!
Be wary particularly if the address of the training centre is not immediately apparent and you seem to be getting funnelled into a huge worldwide corporation. More in this in "how do I choose a TEFL course?" below...
TEFL or CELTA or online or weekend TEFL courses? TEFL course prices
First things first. Courses that are just over a weekend or online can be very cheap - but probably won't get you a job! Can you really learn to teach with a webcam or over a weekend? We - and many language schools hiring teachers suspect not. If you owned a language school would you take on a teacher who has learnt to teach online or over a weekend?
Price differences for 4 week intensive courses like ours are largely to do with the cost of the validation process mentioned above, as well as paying the rent and the staff! We firmly believe in having pleasant city centre premises and paying staff what they deserve, so you might find us a little pricier than the competition. We think we are the best!
Because traditional validating bodies like Trinity and Cambridge (CELTA) are well known, they charge the training centre more money, and charge more often, and this extra cost gets passed on to you when you pay the course fee. Some centres can offer lower priced CELTA courses but then might charge more for accommodation, or run courses with very large numbers of trainees. Many smaller training centres have opted out of CELTA due to the fees they would have to pay and the straitjacket approach they sometimes require re course content.
CELTA stands for Certificate in Language Teaching to Adults, here at TEFL TOULOUSE we also include sessions on how to teach children and teenagers, as well as help finding work in France. CELTA and Trinity are probably the best known validators and provide guaranteed excellent courses, but there are more and more TEFL courses out there. You just have to tread carefully (see "How do I choose a TEFL course?" below)!
What's the difference between a TEFL course and TESOL program?
Exactly the same. In Europe we tend to call the industry TEFL, whereas in the US, TESOL is used to describe what we do. British English uses the word 'course' while American English sometimes uses the word 'program'. Learn about "trousers" v "pants", "colour" and "color" and other British English versus American English differences on the TEFL Toulouse course! A full list of TEFL acronyms is at the bottom of this page.
How do I choose a TEFL course?
When choosing a TEFL course (just choose ours!) you should consider the following:
- The exact location of the training centre (ie not just which city or region, but which part of the city). You must find out the address of the training centre to prove it exists! Google maps?
- Validating body (is it really an external impartial body, and is it credible?)
- Reputation of the course - do some googling re course reviews, and read testimonials
- Does the website feel academic? Friendly? Homely? Honest? Helpful? Or does it feel like a travel agent site selling backpacking holidays? Discounts and flashing lights?
- Qualifications and teaching / training experience of the lead trainer and other staff. Lead trainers need to be PGCE / DELTA qualified. Other staff should all be TEFL Cert. + 2 years teaching, plus intensive training.
- Number of teaching practice hours and course duration - go for a miniumum of 6 hours teaching practice and 120 hours of tutor /trainee contact time, as per British Council requirements
- Minimum and maximum number of trainees on the course / in any room at once! 5 to 16 ideally. Careful - some courses take huge groups of trainees and as a result trainees get reduced contact time with staff.
- Course length (usually 4 weeks). Some places offer 5 week courses to spread things out, but of course you'll pay more for accommodation.
- How much lesson planning HELP do trainees get from trainers? There should be at least 1.5 hours a day given to lesson planning with the presence of a trainer with one trainer for every 6 or7 trainees.
- The cost and location of accommodation - watch out!!! This can be a real shocker, eg if you do your TEFL course in somewhere like London or NYC. We have seen accommodation fees of over 1500 pounds in London!
- The cost of living, and travelling to the training centre (again, beware of big cities like London). It is also recommended that you do a TEFL course in the area you would like to teach in, to get to know the culture / city, to be on the spot to start work after the course, and to avoid another air fare just for the interviews. Most language schools in Europe only interview teachers who are already living locally!
- Finally, what are the employment opportunities, post course, if you plan to stay in the area?
We feel we are very competitively priced for a city centre training centre with expensive rent! Our certificate is externally moderated by IATQuO, we get excellent reviews, our course contains 120+hours tutor - trainee contact time with 6 hours minimum teaching practice, and groups are usually from 7 to 12 trainees, although we may be able to accept a few more in the summers. Accommodation is around 400 to 650euros for the 4 weeks so that keeps your price well down, as do all the low cost flights arriving in Toulouse...
At the end of the day, go with your instinct. Did the school answer your enquiry quickly? Does it feel too glossy and generic? Are you getting personalised or cut and paste responses? Can you pop in for a visit? Is the emphasis really on teacher training, or just on having a 4 week holiday?
Weekend TEFL courses in France. Online TEFL courses. Will an online TEFL course get me a job afterwards?
We do not offer either online or weekend courses I am afraid - because you won't get a job afterwards! Our feeling is that of course you can learn about language and its teaching this way, and if that's what you want then this may be the option for you. But we believe you have to teach classes repeatedly for a total minimum of 6 hours, with periods of several days reflection in between. We also think you need feedback from observers, to become a "real" teacher and avoid making the mistakes that even very experienced teachers make. Our trainees often talk about the learning curve involved with being observed, and wonder how one could ever learn to teach without actually teaching and getting feedback. Could you learn to drive a car by reading a manual? Play a sport by watching it? Teaching practice, observation and feedback from experienced trainers is our speciality.
Do I need to speak French to do a TEFL course in France?
What is the cost of living in France? Eating and drinking in Toulouse? Transport in Toulouse
Its about the same as in the US or UK, perhaps a little cheaper. Toulouse is less expensive than Paris or London, of course. As a rule of thumb, eating and drinking wine is cheaper, drinking beer is generally more expensive than the UK or USA. Eating out at night in France can be much cheaper than most imagine -a fabulous French dinner with plenty of wine can be had for 25euros in Toulouse - and for about 12e at lunchtime. There are great organic fruit and veg markets here too which can save a LOT of money, as French supermarkets tend to be a bit pricey. A bottle of wine costs about 4euros at supermarkets. For renting post course, a room in a shared flat goes for about 300euros a month, your own little studio for about 500e a month. Toulousains love picnic-ing by the river too when the sun's out - and it costs virtually nothing! If you want to save even more money, you can pop across the border to Spain and stock up. Health care is CHEAP for you Americans, compared to at home. Brits shoud bring along their E111 forms to get reimbursements back at home.
Public transport is cheap, everyone uses the rent-a-bike scheme, but taxis - which you cannot hail - can be pricey and are to be avoided. Toulouse is the perfect size to walk across anyway.
How do I apply for the TEFL course? What do I need to read before the TEFL course? What do I need to bring to the TEFL course? Health insurance in France?
The first thing to do is apply - just press "apply" on the home page! Take your time here - we need to see your true writing ability, especially for the 400word part at the end of the application form. This question also asks you to reflect on why you want to do the course, which is important for you to think about. Of course, by applying you are not tied to anything - and do give us a call or email first if you have any questions - we are here to help.
All course materials are supplied, and books for reference available. We do recommend either Jeremy Harmer's "The Practice of Teaching English as a Foreign Language", or Jim Scrivener's "Learning Teaching" if you want to find out more about language teaching and learning, although the course is largely based on these 2 books anyway.
We recommend Raymond Murphy's English Grammar in Use (Intermediate) as a lifelong grammar reference /exercise book. If you cannot get hold of "Murphy" then try Michael Swan's "Practical English Usage". Do try and dip into Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue, it really gets you interested in our language.
Bring your laptop computer if you have one - we have wifi and remote printing and you'll want to use it in the evenings. No need to bring many clothes - the shops are great here! See below for more about facilities. Bring a phrasebook if your French isn't that great - although everyone in Toulouse seems to want to practice their English!
We strongly recommend you organise basic health - and perhaps belongings - insurance, but if you are American for example you will find treatment is much cheaper in France than at home, so you might not want to go overboard if you are on a tight budget. Do be careful with travel plans though - you mustn't miss any of your TEFL course.
TEFL Toulouse facilities and location / parking
All materials that you need are included, but do bring your laptop if you have one. The training centre has classrooms with computers, photocopying, remote printing, WIFI, coffee making, a kitchen and eating facilities. As we are in the wealthy and leafy area of the city next to the parks, most trainees just go out to get a breath of fresh air and a coffee or a sandwich at lunchtime. Free parking spots can often be found about 5 minutes walk away - otherwise you can probably park right in front of the school - at a price!
We can sometimes let you use one of our two parking places. Just ask.
Is there a best time of year to do a TEFL course?
If you teach privately, there is less of a "hiring period" - individuals are looking for teachers all year round and you will surely find work by ensuring you have plenty of ads up around town wherever you live. The majority of hiring in language schools gets done in September and October, June and July for the coming academic year, and again in the New Year, but TEFL is booming in France, so there is work to be found in the local language schools all year round. Any time is a good time to qualify to be an EFL teacher in France! Also because many people work in TEFL to travel, the turnover in langauge schools is quite high, as people want to try teaching in another country. We used to recommend against qualifying just before the summer, but then ex trainees came back to us saying they had landed a job in June for July and August! So now we don't!
What does TEFL, TESOL, ELT, CELTA stand for? What's the difference between TEFL, TESOL and TOEFL? TEFL acronyms defined
ESL = English as a Second Language
EFL = English as a Foreign Language
TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (what TEFL is known as in the USA)
ELT = English Language Teaching
ESP = English for Specific Purposes (eg for Pilots)
CELTA = Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (the name that Cambridge chose for their TEFL course)
There are also lots of acronyms for names of exams that learners of English take. Here are some:
IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, KET, PET, FCE, CAE, CPE, BULATS.... the list goes on! You will learn about all these on the course!
The Certificate in TEFL, (aka "The Cert"). This is the first qualification and is what we offer at TEFL TOULOUSE
The Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults (aka DELTA or "The Dip" is what you may wish to go on to do after a few years teaching.