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What Is a French Teacher?

French teachers should show passion and excitement for the French language and culture.
A French teacher could teach at the high school level.
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  • Written By: Heather Preston
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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A French teacher is an educator who specializes in teaching the French language. Often, these teachers also teach their students about French history and culture. Some French teachers teach the language to students who do not speak French as a first language. Others focus on teaching French grammar and literature to native-French speakers.

Both native and non-native French speakers typically will need to first study French in order to become a French teacher. It can be useful to start as young as possible; the older a person gets, the more difficult it can be to learn a new language. Most French teachers begin studying French when they are at least in high school.

Some adult education centers do not require a French teacher to have a college education. In order to teach in an elementary school, high school, or college, French teachers are required to have at least an undergraduate degree. The best course of action for a student generally would be a double major in education and French, or at least an education major with a minor in French. Students who wish to teach French at the high school level will often pursue a master's degree in French. Those hoping to become a professor of French will pursue their doctorate.

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Many aspiring French teachers take a semester to study or student-teach in France. This is perhaps the most effective way to hone French language skills and learn about French culture and customs. Students may also visit famous museums and landmarks, such as the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

At any level, French teachers generally are responsible for creating lesson plans for their classrooms. Many foreign language teachers believe in speaking exclusively in the language being taught from the very first day of class. This is an attempt to simulate the kind of immersion the students would experience if they were in the country of the language being taught. French teachers teach grammar and basic dialogue in their classrooms at lower levels. At higher levels, such as the university level, students typically will begin to read French literature and write reports about it.

There are certain personality traits and skills that would be useful to a French teacher. It is important that they have excellent communication skills and are comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. French teachers should be passionate about the French language and culture. Being organized also can be important, as a large part of a teacher's job is creating and executing lesson plans.

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