How to Become a French Teacher in Pennsylvania

Teaching French is a fulfilling way to equip students with the skills to engage in an increasingly French speaking world. This article provides prospective French educators with a step-by-step guide to achieving their career goals.

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In the face of a teacher shortage, the State of Pennsylvania is working to improve conditions for foreign language teachers to attract prospective teachers interested in sharing their expertise in the French language, cultures and traditions. In essence, now is the time for prospective French teachers to consider the following information for a smooth transition to their French teaching careers in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania French Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Pennsylvania (2017)* $65,370 (Elementary School)
$65,270 (Middle School)
$66,020 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field French and/or Education
Testing Requirements Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) or Praxis Core, Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge, and French: World Language

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn Your Degree

The State of Pennsylvania requires that future educators complete an approved teacher preparation program and accompanying prerequisite work. These programs are offered throughout the state in an array of universities and colleges and may be offered in different formats. In some colleges, students will major solely in French and include education courses, while other schools require a dual major of French and education. Notably, all future educators must graduate the preparation program with a GPA of 3.0 and above.

The education courses students can expect to take include courses related to educational theory, methodology, and child psychology. Outside the classroom, prospective teachers are required to gain concrete experience through a fieldwork experience that typically consists of student teaching within the Pennsylvania Public School System.

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Step 2: Pass Required Exams

All prospective teachers must take the Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) or the Praxis Core examinations. Both the PAPA and the Praxis Core examinations are divided into three subject areas: reading, writing and mathematics. The three modules for both exams can be taken all at once or individually. For the PAPA, students must earn a minimum score of 220 on the reading test, a 193 on the math exam, and a 220 on the writing test. Minimum passing scores for the Praxis Core examinations are 156 on the reading module, 142 for the math subtest, and 162 on the writing subtest. When taken together the PAPA modules cost $110; the Core combined tests cost $150. Alternatively, qualifying SAT or ACT scores may be accepted in lieu of these exams.

Aspiring French teachers must also take two additional Praxis exams. The first is the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge, which requires a minimum score of 150 and costs $120. The second exam is the French: World Language, which costs $160 and requires a minimum score of 162.

Step 3: Submit Application

Pennsylvania's Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) is an online system through which prospective teachers may submit their applications for accreditation. The Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality will then assess the application to determine if the above qualifications have been met. In addition, all educators will be screened for 'good moral character'. If an issue arises with the application, educators may be contacted for follow-up information. It is important to also note that at the time of application there is a $200 fee to be paid to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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