Miss Farah

English Teacher should speak French?? What for?

Posted on: April 14, 2010


      Today I had a job interview at  a well reputed French school  in Lebanon where I was applying for an English teaching position. After being stuck in traffic and trying to find a parking space I arrived safe and sound to the school. I was 5 minutes late although I left the house 45 minutes ahead of time! I informed them that I will be late and they understood the situation which was cool! I enter the school and clipped on a visitor’s badge and head to the adminstration. The principal had no clue that he had an appointment with me which I think is so unproffessional. I hand him my CV and speaks to me in French.

Miss Farah: I’m sorry I don’t speak French

Principal: Oh you don’t speak French at all?

Miss Farah: I know a few words but I can’t speak it.

Principal: Well, you see since you don’t know French we cannot accept you here, it is not possible.

Miss Farah: Ok, but I am an English teacher, AND ENGLISH TEACHERS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO SPEAK FRENCH!

Principal: Well how are we going to communicate with you? All English teachers at our school speak French so we can be able to communicate together.

Miss Farah: At my previous school, we had Arabic teachers who didn’t know English and we used to translate to them.

Principal: I’m sorry you have to speak both Languages in order to be accepted at our school.

Miss Farah: Well, I wasn’t aware of that but thank you for your time.

I leave the room, shocked ofcourse, what kind of an unprofessional school is this? Ok it is a well reputed school and French is their first language, but my goal was to take English to the same level! This should be their goal as well, since English is a global language. It is spoken throughout the world, even if these students graduate as French learners in the end they are going to end up speaking English to be able to communicate with everyone. I understand that I won’t be able to communicate with other teaching staff but I am applying to teach French speaking students, English. It was a  disappointing experience for me  not because I didn’t meet their qualifications, I am disappointed for them because now their reputation is going to change since I am informing the world of  their unprofessionalism.

Anyway I have another interview tomorrow wish me luck 🙂

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3 Responses to "English Teacher should speak French?? What for?"

Good luck Miss Farah, i’m glad you informed us of this. What they did was highly nonprofessional and somehow unethical.
I want to wish you the best of luck with your next interview, and hopefully they read your CV before they contacted you.

Hi Miss Farah,
Actually I don’t agree with your point of view. I think that if you are in an environment and unable to communicate with your peers, then you will not be successfully contributing to your position. What would you say if the tables were turned? If you were in an English school and the French teacher could not communicate in English, do you think that that would represent the English school positively? If you got the job, how would you communicate with students who couldn’t speak any English? In an adult school, teachers of foreign language do not need to speak the students’ language, however in a school with children, students are not just learning subjects of school, they need to learn life lessons. If you as their teacher can only teach them vocabulary and grammar, then you would be failing on other responsibilities of being a teacher. For example, teachers are obliged to monitor students in recess. How would you do that if you had no access to verbal communication.
Also all paper work of the school would be in French- your work contract would be in French, school events would be in French, paper work with parents would be in French- how do you expect to cope? Would you demand your contract in English? Would you request special privileges and ask for a secretary to do your paperwork? What about speaking with the parents when you wanted to praise or complain about a child? Would you have to hire a personal translator?
I’m sorry but I don’t think that you had a right to banish this school simply because you did not have the qualifications that were required by them.
However, I have to ask why they gave you the interview in the first place. Did you have French written on your CV? If not, then it was presumptuous of them to expect you to speak French and when it came up at the interview, they were right not to deceive you of the job at hand.

Also- your badgering of the school as being unprofessional because they require one more language is not justified.
Neither is your desire to take English to the same level as French in a French school. It is impossible for a student to have the same level in French and English whereby they take only 1 subject in English and all the rest in French.
You are right that English is an international language- but so is French. If you go to France, Belgium, much of the African continent and the DOMTOM islands of France, you will not find many English speakers. Instead, you will find French speakers.

It was the parents’ decisions to put their kids in a French school, fully knowing that their French would be their choice of communication. Therefore, they expect that their children are taught in French and communicated to in French outside the classroom.

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