Tips for learning French in Paris: finding a French tutor

French Tutor - Oui - My French Life™In 2011 I went to Paris for five weeks. I decided to book a French language tutor there twice a week during my stay.

Here are some of my tips and experiences…

How to choose a French tutor

I found my tutor online by doing a few different searches for tutoring in Paris. As I am an English (as a second language) and IELTS teacher in Melbourne, I had high expectations and wanted a professional person, not someone doing it to earn a bit of cash.  While I’m sure the latter have their merits, I wanted someone with credentials and experience.

Teaching French

Teaching another language is not as easy as some people think. You need to have a high level of proficiency in the language you are teaching (it’ll usually be your native tongue) and be prepared to do research and prepare for each student in your own time.

You have to adapt quickly to each student and identify their needs. You need to love the language you are teaching and be able to gift that love to the person you are teaching.

A French teacher also needs to have very good English. Interestingly, English language teachers rarely have a good grasp of a second language, or need of one.

Be/A-musing the French

French Tutor - Paris - My French Life™

Sitting in a park once, some locals sitting near us gave us some bemused and sympathetic smiles – bemused by me and sympathy for my tutor!

I don’t think many holidaymakers hire a French tutor, nor parade their fractured French in a public arena! I like to think they were also pleased with my attempts, too – I was!

Cost of French tutoring

The French tutor I found had her own business, usually teaching French to native English employees of French companies. I met with her about five times during my stay, for an hour each time, for the equivalent of approximately $50.00 an hour, which is an expected amount. We mostly focussed on speaking as we walked around Paris.

Oui - French Tutor - Paris - My French Life™The value of tutoring while on holiday in Paris

The investment in tutoring was priceless. As I was going to be in Paris for five weeks, had been to Paris before, and plan to move there in 2014, I was not short of time. For me, being tutored while in Paris was going to enrich my experience.

While I am clearly biased, I do not think one magically learns a language just by living in that country. Yes you will learn words and phrases, but your pronounciation, reading and writing will not progress unless someone corrects your work. I have a French tutor in Melbourne too – from Paris!

Do you have a French language tutor if you are learning French? Do you prefer to learn French in group classes or privately? Share your tips & experiences in the comments box below!

Image credits:
1. Learning French, by X on Flickr.
2. French Bulldog, by MatsuRD on DeviantArt.
3. Oui, by Markus Raetz via Wikimedia Commons.

About the Contributor

Sandra E Brown

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  1. Esme Wakefield Nov 18, 2013 at 10:38 PM - Reply

    What are you planning to do once you move to France Sandra?
    Do you have any anecdotes about your French speaking sessions?

    • Sandra E Brown Nov 19, 2013 at 10:34 PM - Reply

      Hi Esme – no standout anecdotes come to mind re tutoring apart from the above. Tutoring is what it is however that tutor really helped me understand how to ask questions in French:) Oh and we did come across a citizen arrest of two gypsy pickpockets – that pleased both my tutor and I! In Paris I plan to do volunteer work in some capacity (both to contribute to the community and chat in French) have tutoring in French, potentially enrol in a translating course, research wheelchair access (particularly restaurants;)) and work on putting that info into print, and eat 🙂 Plus I’ll write for MFL! Because of my disability I have to have multiple plans and paths to explore but I don’t believe in ‘I can’t’.

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