Experiences, Reviews and Feedback
Below is some feedback from current and past students about the work and training we offer to help give you a better overview of what working for Paris ICT is like.
Alex's Application Experience
Alex from England, 2016/2017 CAP student
Having spent an amazing three weeks in France during the summer of 2016, I had only one thing on my mind. How can I move here? I had heard of and know people teaching English abroad but it was mostly in countries in Asia, and that wasn’t where I wanted to be. After the results of the EU referendum, wanting to experience life in another country never felt so important, as I can only assume that it will become very difficult for British people to do so in the next few years.
I had been working in childcare for almost 6 years by that point in various settings (Nursery, afterschool and football coaching) and my feeling was that this was my way in. The nursery I worked at in London was typical of the multi-cultural side that London has to offer. In fact, even with the children who spoke English at home, I found myself teaching the very basics of the language, without even realising it. I felt this put me in good stead to learn how to teach English properly.
I enrolled onto a TEFL course and upon completion, started to look for work on the Jobcentre website which they provide. I came across a few job posts which seemed exciting. One based in Italy, another in Spain but what I really wanted to do was learn to speak French. There was one job post which stood out for this reason, of course, Le Repertoire de Gaspard. Not only was the location (Paris) perfect, but it was also to teach English to young children as a babysitter. Also, they offered free French lessons and a chance to study for a French diploma in childcare.
I applied straight away and within a day I had a response. The only issue was that the last day to have a face to face interview was the next day! I thought nothing of it and booked an overnight coach which had me in Paris by 9am. By 2pm I had met most of the people within the company, spoken at length about the position and all that it entails and was on my way back to England with a job!
Six months on and I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I have met some amazing people in and outside of work, have started to speak a little French (there’s more to come) and honestly can’t see myself leaving for a while – Brexit permitting!
I couldn’t recommend this programme enough. The staff here are super friendly, you have an opportunity to learn or improve your knowledge of French and also live in this beautiful city. Quoi d’autre?
Ever dreamt of experiencing Paris as a local?
There is no better time than the present!
Sarah from England, 2015/2016 CAP student
If you are anything like me, with no previous knowledge of the French language but love learning new cultures, then teaching English is the option for you. For Parisians, English is the new black; life goals such as traveling or even climbing the business ladder require a level of English. This is great news for us as the demand for English teachers rises, so do the job opportunities. Before I even left England I had already interviewed with companies over Skype and several more within the first week I arrived in Paris.
Despite a large number of job offers, I did not find it difficult to choose which company to work for. Le Repertoire de Gaspard was one of the first companies I had an interview with and it was love at first sight. Unlike many of the other companies, we kept in constant contact throughout the recruitment process and I felt like a value to the company before even starting.
So why was I attracted to Le Repertoire de Gaspard? On paper, Le Repertoire de Gaspard (LRDG) is already seductive. With a strong desire to learn French but an equally limited budget, the Free French lessons were enough to draw me in. On top of this, LRDG gives you the choice between full-time and part-time positions with hours ranging between 2-30 a week, allowing you to fit work in with your studies and/or life.
It was not until my face-to-face interview that I realised LRDG had even more to offer. LRDG’s sister company ‘The Paris Institute of Childcare Training,’ provides employees an excellent (and paid) opportunity to gain a diploma that allows them to become qualified carers and teaching assistants. On top of teaching English to children after school and my French lessons, I am taking childcare classes which cover a wide range of topics from general childcare, first aid qualifications, to biology and child abuse studies.
However, the most valuable appeal of all, which unfortunately cannot be conveyed in a simple job advertisement, is the company culture. The agency is very focused on its employees and provides all kinds of support. I have learnt first-hand through other companies with similar positions as LRDG that this kind of childcare and teaching can be lonely work; you do not, for example, want to spend your Friday nights socialising with children. Through LRDG classes and regular social events, I now consider the team friends and not just employers and colleagues.
In conclusion, I could not have asked for a better agency to work for. My experience with LRDG has been a positive introduction into Parisian working life.
Perfect Parisian Posts for UK graduates
Holly from England, 2015/2016 CAP student
Paris is an incredibly inspiring city. You don’t have to be here for long to see why so many great artists and performers made it their home, and to feel the thrill of following in their footsteps as you explore.
For a couple of years I had a vague plan in the back of mind to live in France at some point and learn French fluently, but, equally vaguely, I also imagined it would be very difficult to find the work and support necessary to make a life here. However when I actually investigated job opportunities in Paris I found a thriving English-speaking childcare industry. Not only is there a high demand for Anglophone babysitters, but as a native speaker you instantly have an advantage without even trying. This is partly due to many families favouring native speakers but also because you unconsciously pass on so much language to the kids every time you’re with them.
Then I had the chance to work at Le Repertoire de Gaspard and The Paris Institute of Childcare Training. I was given the unique opportunity to study for a French childcare diploma (French lessons included) which then qualifies you to work in crèches, schools or as an independent child carer in France. I repeat; you are paid to gain this qualification. So with the combination of working as a babysitter and studying for the CAP I’m on a full-time contract which gives me stability plus employment options for the future.
Of course it’s not an effortless task to teach children English whilst also performing the usual day-to-day babysitting duties, and that’s where all the support on offer from Le Repertoire de Gaspard is a life saver. Stuck for subject ideas? Consult the weekly newsletter, which is full of tips and games to play. Don’t have any materials to play/teach with? Drop into the office and pick some up. Having some communication issues with the kids or their families? Get in touch with Le Repertoire de Gaspard and they’ll help you every step of the way with resolving it (I’m speaking from personal experience on that one).
Coming from a drama background, the skills from that training have proved extremely useful in this job; communication, confidence in new situations, and knowing how to play. Playing pretend is a great way to bond and introduce new ideas without them seeming forced plus you get the opportunity to be as creative as you can. Anything you can do to fire up the imagination is going to help with learning English. It’s hugely rewarding to see the kids I work with really enjoying themselves and to hear their progression in English.
Despite sometimes working long hours you get the weekends and holidays free to discover Paris. If you love the arts you’re in the right city; it feels like there are cinemas, theatres, galleries and museums on every street. Then there’s the very sociable atmosphere at Le Repertoire which goes a long way to helping you feel at home in a new place. Just check out the Facebook group as there’s always plans to do/see something and people to do/see it with. While you may sometimes be tired, one thing is certain: you will never be bored!
Teaching in a school versus Babysitting / Childcare work in a home-setting
Laura from England, 2015/2016 CAP student
Teaching English as a foreign language to children can come in many forms. From teaching in a school to babysitting, native English speakers can find many different styles of jobs abroad.
Teaching English as part of a structured curriculum is common around the world. English is a global language and more and more schools are placing an emphasis on learning English. And it is becoming increasingly common for them to want native English speakers to do the teaching. Teaching in a school has some great benefits, my favourite of which is the general ethos of being in a school environment. The rules of a school are already in place even before some of the newer teachers arrive. This is an advantage for the teacher because even the younger students have expectations of how they should behave in school. The telling of rules acts more as a reminder. As a contrast, a babysitter has to try to establish rules for the child in the child’s own home. This can be especially problematic if the rules you have differ slightly to those of the parents.
Regarding parents, one thing I thoroughly appreciate about babysitting is the close connection you have with the parents. If you have any queries or concerns about the child, they can often be discussed that same day. This is very different from teaching where parent meetings are often fewer than three per academic year. The sheer number of students you teach means that regular contact with every parent is difficult if not impossible. In a similar way, teaching English in an educational manner makes it difficult to provide one-to-one support to any student who may need any extra attention. Be that because they require extra help or because they are very talented at English and could do with being pushed further. Being a babysitter often means that you are in charge of taking care of a few children at most, often one. This gives you the great opportunity of being able to personalise your activities to match the needs of these children very well. One-to-one teaching is always an advantage for any child trying to learn a new skill.
Teaching in a school means that you structure/schedule is pretty consistent. Even if a few children are absent from a class one day, you still have the rest of the class to teach, there are still children waiting to learn. On the other hand, with babysitting, if your child/children are sick there is little education you can provide for that day. Times like these are when the care side of the role overtakes the need for English education. Even though English vocabulary will still be being used throughout the day by you, there aren’t many activities you can plan for a sleeping, sad child.
Occasionally, with just one (or a few) children in your care, plans can be disrupted and changed at the last minute. However, having fewer children to care for does mean that the connection you have is a lot closer and because of this things tend to run smoother as you learn more and more about the child. You learn what time of day they are most likely to be productive, when they will start to feel tired, how you can motivate them. This is something you can do in a school environment also, but the number of students makes it a more difficult, time-consuming task.
Having had previous experience in both areas of teaching English to children, I was very happy to discover a job that would allow me to experience both in Paris. I was very curious to see how different things might be in France compared to my previous jobs and Le Repertoire de Gaspard and the Paris Institute of Childcare Training offered me just that. It has been very interesting to compare different teaching and babysitting techniques in France to those in the UK and Asia.
Teaching children English is a great experience. Finally breaking through that language barrier to explain something is a wonderful reward! Whether teaching in a school or in a babysitting environment, the rewards for teaching children are huge; from the feeling you get when they finally say a word in English instead of their native language, to the feeling of being proud of them when they don’t cry at doctor’s appointment. Teaching English to children has become what I love to do, whether it is in a school or at the child’s home.
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