Questions about TEFL and TESOL in France

Why do a  TEFL course in Europe?

1Is the TEFL course for me?
In our experience, and judging by past successful trainees, we think TEFL TOULOUSE is probably for you if some or all of these ring true for you:

  • You are interested in the English language and how it works
  • You want a course with plenty of teaching practice to accompany the theory – a minimum of 6 observed hours, as well as peer teaching
  • There is a bit of a performer in you, waiting to get out!
  • You like working with people
  • You can dedicate 4 weeks to the course, without any other commitments
  • You are energetic and lively
  • You are at a bit of a crossroads in your life
  • You are interested in foreign cultures, languages and lifestyles
  • You see TEFL as an appealing (temporary or permanent) career
  • Doing a 9 to 5 office job doesn’t appeal to you / you are sick to death of it!
  • You want to have fun at work, and have a sense of humour
  • You enjoy languages, and travelling / living abroad
  • The South West of France / Toulouse appeals to you
  • You are independent
  • You want a big change of direction or career
  • You are accompanying a partner overseas / already have a working partner here
  • You have children and are looking for a flexible part time job, with possible full time options in the future
  • You are not completely sure you want to teach, but in any case want to improve your ability to address groups of people confidently and in an engaging way

2Will 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. Experienced teachers take heed – there may be some habits that need breaking!

3How 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 (usually 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 largely planned for you. We give you plenty of help planning your lessons, and you get in-depth and very supportive feedback after each time you teach. You will also observe your fellow trainees and experienced teachers.

4How intensive is the TEFL Toulouse course? What if I am ill / need to take time off during the course?
You need to be free of any other commitments (including other work, dental appointments, etc!) for the month you are with us, and do all you can to not miss any element of the course. If you have young children we recommend that you find someone to feed and entertain them in the evenings. 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 45 minute drive 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 from ex-trainees!

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 during of just 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 a few days after the TEFL course ends, but you are welcome to hand it in by Friday week 4.

5How do I apply for the TEFL course?
Just fill out this application form! Take your time here – we need to see your true writing ability, especially for the 400 word part at the end of the 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.

6How can I pay for the TEFL course?
You can pay by online bank transfer, cheque from a French bank account, or cash in person. You are responsible for any bank charges. We are often able to accept last minute applications. In this case we will ask you to pay the full course fee in one go.

7What do I need to read before the TEFL course?
All course materials are supplied, and books for reference are 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 two 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.

Course practicalities

1Do you provide accommodation?
We have hand picked some great host families, single owners renting a room and studio flats – past trainees have been delighted. Prices are around 400 to 700 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.

Please see our Accommodation page or get in touch for more information – every situation is different and we are 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.

You should absolutely AVOID trying to find somewhere to live on your own with just a few days before the course – it’s too risky. Beware of staying with party-type friends too – you need to study! Any questions, just email us at

2When should I arrive in Toulouse?
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, so that you have time to explore the city – you will be too busy during the course to go out much during the week! Also if for some reason you need to do extra teaching practice, it is good to have a few extra days the week after the course so that we can set this up. Or come and do an intensive French course with us the week after your TEFL course ends! We can organise this once you arrive.

3What do I need to bring to the TEFL course?
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! Bring a phrasebook if your French isn’t that great – although everyone in Toulouse seems to want to practise their English!

4Where is the training centre? Does it have parking?
TEFL Toulouse is located just next to the Jardin des plantes in the centre of Toulouse. Please see this map for the exact location. 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!

TEFL Toulouse graduates

One of our first ever courses in 2010!

St Sernin

St Sernin, the emblem of Toulouse

Entry requirements

1Do I have to be a native speaker of English?
Most trainees on the course are native speakers of English but around 15% are non-native speakers. If you are a non-native speaker you must have excellent English to be accepted. If in doubt, just contact us or fill in the application form. Non-native speakers whose application form we accept always have an oral interview (by Skype or telephone) to establish their spoken level of English.
2Do I need a university degree?
We accept candidates without a degree, but we need to see that you are able to study at degree level.

3What is the minimum age?
We are one of the few TEFL courses that accept applicants as young as 18 and have produced some excellent young teachers. Note that we do not enter into correspondence with parents though.

4Do I need to speak French to do the TEFL course?
You do NOT need to speak French to follow the course – TEFL methodology enables you to teach students whose language you do not speak. However, if you want to stay in France post course you should start learning! Why not book a discount French course with us the week after your TEFL course ends? We can organise that for you once you arrive.

5Can Americans do a TEFL course in France? Can Canadians do a TEFL course in France? Can Australians do a TEFL course 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 400 euros 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 the Alliance Francaise) 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 or see our Working after the course page for more details.

Working after the course

1Will TEFL Toulouse help me find a job wherever I want to go after the course?

We offer a lifelong job guidance service. This means that as well as providing in-depth help 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.

See our Working after the course page for more information.

2Will I be able to find teaching work straight away after the TEFL course? 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. Some language schools offer short or long-term contracts, but we also show you how to set up as a freelancer (auto-entrepreneur in French), as language schools want freelancers more and more these days. 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! – and you can top this up with private teaching.

Work is also available in universities, although you need to have another contract somewhere else and usually have a year or two of experience. But a great option if you do! We also have a lot of ex-trainees who make a living teaching English in their home or gite in France, and some have even gone on to open their own language school.

See our Working after the course page for more information.

3How much can I earn as a TEFL teacher in France?
If you set yourself up as a freelancer (auto-entrepreneur) – we show you how to do this – you can charge upwards of 30 euros an hour locally.

Universities here in Toulouse pay TEFL teachers up to 60 euros an hour, although you may need to have taught locally for a couple of years to get University teaching work. Unis here in Toulouse are full of ex TEFL Toulouse trainees!

See our Working after the course page for more information.

4I'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.

Life in Toulouse and France

1What is the cost of living in France? What about eating and drinking in Toulouse?
It’s 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 25 euros in Toulouse – and for about 12 euros 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 4 euros at supermarkets.

For renting after the course, a room in a shared flat goes for about 300 euros a month, your own little studio for about 500 euros a month. Toulousains love picnicking 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 Americans, compared to at home. Brits should bring along their EHIC cards to get healthcare.

2What's public transport like in Toulouse?
Public transport is cheap, everyone uses the rent-a-bike scheme, but taxis – which you cannot hail – can be pricey. The number is +33(0)5 34 250250. Toulouse is the perfect size to walk across anyway.

What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL and CELTA (etc)

1Should I do a TEFL, CELTA, online or weekend TEFL course? Why do TEFL course prices differ?
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?

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.

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! YOu will find that our Spring courses are the cheapest – you can save 100s!

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 with 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)!

2What 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 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 on this in “how do I choose a TEFL course?” below…

3How 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 (i.e. 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 minimum 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 or 7 trainees.
  • The cost and location of accommodation – watch out!! This can be a real shocker, e.g. if you do your TEFL course in somewhere like London or NYC. We have seen accommodation fees of over £1500 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 summer. Accommodation is around 400 to 700 euros for the 4 weeks so that keeps your price well down, as do all the low cost flights arriving in Toulouse…

Still want to shop around? 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 and talk to current trainees? Is the emphasis really on teacher training, or just on having a 4 week holiday?

4What do TEFL, TESOL, ELT and CELTA stand for? 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.

5What's the difference between a TEFL course and a TESOL program?
They are 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!
6Is 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 language 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!

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