Henrietta Evan's Blog: 

Hello - my name is Henrietta. 

I have been working in France for three years now, currently as an English Language assistant teacher or lectrice at a University in France and previously as an English Language Assistant at a Secondary School, helping students prepare for their oral English Baccalaureate. My work consists mainly of preparing and delivering oral lessons and exams but also this year helping students with writing their CVs and applications in English.

I completed the TEFL diploma in 2012 after gratefully receiving a partial scholarship and after finishing my English degree in Scotland. I have always had a very keen interest in how the English language works and learning about other cultures and languages (I was brought up bilingual). I feel that learning other languages helps us understand our own language better, especially with French, arguably a language close to our own. By living and working in another country, we are able to achieve this more easily.

I originally applied for the course when I found out I would be possibly going to France to teach English through the British Council's Language Assistant Scheme. This is something I always dreamed of doing but I knew I would be teaching a wide range of young adult students from all levels of English and personally felt the need to have a thorough understanding of the TEFL world and teaching strategies to feel confident in the classroom, and to be able to continue teaching English longer in France past the language assistantship. 

I was attracted to the variety of the course content and the amount of detail it provided. I also found many other courses to be too expensive at a time of high graduate unemployment and was thrilled to see that Scholarships were available. I then applied for the programme and scholarship and was fortunate enough to be offered a partial scholarship.

By doing the course, I feel more confident in approaching different teaching situations and of course have been able to nurture this by working in two very different classroom and work environments. The first where students were less confident and enthusiastic - not always easy I have to say - and the second where students were quite the opposite. I also had the challenge of teaching students of my own age this year which has been trying, but also a very rewarding experience. I had to always be prepared for the unexpected and that's my top advice for anyone considering a career in TEFL.

My love of English, and of course France and the French language, has naturally grown further and I now wish to travel and work in other French speaking countries and possibly move to a German or Spanish speaking country for a while too. Teaching abroad has opened up so many doors for me, professionally and personally and it is definitely a part of my life I do not wish to forget in a hurry. There is so much in our world and being open to other ways of life and other workplaces, however cliched it may sound, is so incredibly important. TEFL literally opens up the world to you and enriches your life no other way can, even with the frustrations that life and work in another country can involve. It outweighs the negatives beyond reason. 

Now I wish to include this experience into my future career plans by working at an International Office at a university either abroad or in the UK while preparing for a masters in Literature. That way I can include my love of other cultures and languages, with my love of Literature and English.

For now, I say à bientot et bon courage for all those thinking of teaching abroad! I am sure you will have a very rewarding time.