Learning to Speak French and Learning to Teach English in the City of Light

Which is more difficult? Learning to speak French in Paris or learning to teach English?

Learning a language, or learning to teach a language, even in the best of surroundings might be the toughest challenge you’ll ever encounter- you might be under the false impression that going to Paris to study French or to enroll in a TEFL program – sounds like a walk in the park. It isn’t.




Rewarding, yes, it can be. Frustrating, exasperating and illuminating are the first words that come to mind.
I came to Paris to study French in the 1970s. More recently, I signed up for TEFL courses at WICE a four-week 100 hour accelerated course.

The folks at WICE do some serious interviewing to decide if you will survive this kind of accelerated learning teaching program. At the end of it all, you climb out of the whirlwind of words, methods, lesson plans and photocopying and wonder what hit you. Obviously, some of the graduates from accelerated TEFL courses go on to teach and probably have become excellent teachers. I decided after one month that the last thing in the world I ever want to see again is a lesson plan. Teaching is an art and a gift. What I have gained from this experience is an absolute, unequivocal respect for teachers, ALL teachers, good teachers and bad teachers alike. They are going to bat each day, often without much thanks, and often with little remuneration. Anyone who has the guts to try it deserves applause.