Alumni News: Maggie Doyle and Nick Fazio get prestigious TAships in France
The Teaching Assistant Program in France, a highly selective government-sponsored program, offers unique opportunities to work in France for 7 months, teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year, over 1,500 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and in the overseas departments of France such as French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion.
In 2020, two SCU graduates, both French Majors, were selected to participate in this program. This is what they have to say to other prospective TAPIF students…
Maggie Doyle is in Valence at the lycée Emile Loubet. She is the only English language assistant at the school and is helping out with all secondary age levels. Her advice for other students that want to apply, is to start on the application as early as possible. “Though it’s fairly straightforward, there are a few aspects which take a certain amount of time, like the two professor recommendations. It is best to give your professors as much time as possible to write you the best possible recommendation.” Also, with regard to choosing professors— she says to make sure to choose ones who know you personally and at least one who is really familiar with your skill level in French. This will help your application to seem authentic and to accurately represent your command of the language in order to best place you within the program. Her French courses at SCU helped prepare her for the experience, she felt in particular that the writing workshop course gave her a handle on how to write a collegiate-level paper in French, which was imperative when developing the essay response on the application.
Nicholas Fazio is teaching high school students at the Clermont-Ferrand school, which is about 2 hours west of Lyon. At SCU, Nicholas felt very lucky to have a supportive French department, one small enough that it was easier to work closely with professors too. For those interested in teaching careers like TAPIF, Nicholas recommends keeping in touch with your professors, speaking up in class (or in breakout rooms at the moment) and taking advantage of opportunities to get to know your peers! For those that are interested in TAPIF, even just a little, he suggests reaching out to Maggie, himself, and other peers who have been assistant teachers. “Start thinking about what working in France and teaching English means to you. Begin a conversation with your professors (two – one French) ahead of time so that they are aware of potentially writing a recommendation” says Nicholas in regard to applying to TAPIF. Regarding classes that will be most beneficial for preparing to teach in France, he found those that focused on speaking and reading/writing about French culture the most helpful.