How to Become a French Teacher: Step-by-Step Career Guide
Learn how to become a French teacher. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements, and find out how to start a career in teaching.
Do I Want to Be a French Teacher?
A French teacher instructs students in French language skills and introduces them to French culture. Language teachers who offer instruction to children in public schools may be most commonly found in middle school and high school settings. These educators plan and deliver lessons, assign and assess practice work and evaluate student progress throughout the school year. They are often responsible for students in common areas, such as hallways and lunchrooms, in addition. Working with young people who may be unmotivated or unruly can be demanding and tiring. Many find great rewards when they are able to observe the many milestones reached by their students, however.
Budding French teachers who plan to teach in public schools have to attain at least a bachelor's degree, generally in education or French, and complete a teacher education program, which includes a student teaching experience. After completing a degree program and the required state exam(s), individuals can apply for teaching certification in the state in which they anticipate working. Some states may require educators to obtain a master's degree following certification. The following table illustrates the basic requirements, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for working as a French teacher:
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree required; some states require a master's degree|
|Degree Field||French, education|
|Licensure and/or Certification||Teacher certification required to teach at a public school|
|Experience||Student teaching internship required|
|Key Skills||Instructional skills, communication skills, patience|
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement to apply for state teaching licensure. Future French teachers may select from several majors, such as teaching French, education with a minor in French or French with a minor in education, depending on the school they choose to attend. Program coursework may include general education courses, in addition to classes in French literature, conversation and composition, French culture, teaching methods in foreign language and working with special needs students. While enrolled in college, a prospective French teacher is required to complete an internship or a supervised work program at a local school. Students can complete the internship at an elementary, middle or secondary school, depending on the age of the students they wish to teach.
- Complete a semester or a year abroad. Spending time with native French speakers can help students fine-tune their language skills and become immersed in the culture. Students normally receive academic credit for time spent studying abroad.
- Work as a substitute teacher while attending college. Substitute teaching offers students the opportunity to gain experience in the classroom and develop effective communication and classroom management skills.
Step 2: Get a Teaching Certificate
To obtain a teaching certificate or license, an aspiring French teacher has to register with his or her state board of education and complete exams. Such assessments might encompass written and oral expression, listening comprehension, reading and vocabulary, language structures and cultural knowledge. After finishing the educational and examination requirements, aspiring French teachers can apply for teacher certification, which generally entails fingerprinting and background checks. Criteria to remain licensed can differ between states, but may include continuing education coursework. Some states also expect French teachers to earn a post-baccalaureate degree after obtaining licensure.
Step 3: Complete a Master's Degree
In many instances, a teacher's education doesn't stop after he or she gets a job. Some states expect teachers to pursue a master's degree to maintain their certification. In other cases, French teachers choose to enter a master's degree program, even though their states don't require education beyond the bachelor's degree level. Master's degree programs typically take around two years to complete, and French educators typically study French or education. Master's degree programs are often developed for individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in French, but what are not certified, or for educators certified in another subject who seek a French certification.
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