Lectrice Life/TAPIF Tip: What is Your Role as a Lectrice, and How Does it differ from being an Assistante?

Since changing jobs and locations in France, I am often asked a derivative of the following question from various friends, family members, or curious assistants themselves: “What do you do as a lectrice, and how does it differ from being an assistant?”

Well, long story short, you work in a university instead of with K-12 students, you work more hours, the contract is longer, you have more responsibilities, and you are paid a higher salary. However, positions are few and far between, and most of the time you are left completely on your own. Here is the long answer:

1. Contract: The lecteur contract is one year, from September until August of the following year. However, you may renew your contract for a second year. As a lecteur, you are paid for all twelve months, even when you are not working in the summer. In comparison, assistants are given a seven-month contract, from October through April of the following year. Americans can do the assistantship program twice, but not two years in a row, and are not guaranteed a placement the second time around.

2. Salary: Lecteurs are paid about 1227€ net per month, whereas assistants are paid 795€ net per month.

3. Hours Worked: Lecteurs either work 200 hours TD or 300 hours TP annually (simply put, depending on your contract, between 200-300 hours per year.) Assistants work 12 hours per week. For my situation, I am under a 200 TD contract, meaning that I teach 200 hours per year, and then of course do preparation, planning, collaboration, and grading on my own time. I also had the opportunity to teach heures supplémentaires, or overtime. I will get paid extra for these hours.

4. Vacation: This may vary by schools and universities, but lecteurs are given one week of vacation in October and February/March, and two weeks in December and April/May. Lecteurs work through the month of June. Assistants, on the other hand, have two weeks of vacation in October, December, February/March, and April/May. Their contract concludes on April 30th.

5. Responsibilities: Generally, lecteurs are responsible for planning and executing their own curriculums. They may or may not have resources in place to help guide them along. Lecteurs are also responsible for giving evaluations and grades. Assistants are not allowed to grade or give evaluations. They are also not able to take more than 15 students at a time. Some assistants plan whatever they would like for teaching, while others are given resources by their colleagues. (For the record, I had a mixture of both scenarios as an assistante.)

6. Program Support: Lecteurs are largely on their own. There is no orientation, nor is there the organized TAPIF-Program-with-Carolyn-Collins-as-your-lifeline equivalent (for Americans). You really have to be willing to figure everything out solo. I’m lucky to have had other lecteurs to befriend at my university. That’s not always the case for everyone, however.

7. Visa: the visa process is exactly the same for both positions– one is just longer than the other. When you renew, you can do so directly from France, but it is you who is responsible for being the renewal tax (106 euros).

8. Students: Lecteurs work with university students–adults. Assistants are placed in primary, middle, high schools, and BTS Programs.

9. Available Positions: My friend Jennie is very good at finding lecteur positions and posting them on her website. Last year, I think there were about 25 publicized lecteur positions online. However, there are others that are reserved for people doing university exchanges. Some lecteurs got their feet in the door via people they knew.

My role as a lectrice is quite unique. At the Université de Valenciennes, there are four different schools who hire lecteurs–thirteen in total. I am the only lectrice in my department. I work alongside two other colleagues, both of whom are certified teachers in France. I teach Business English to prépa (undergraduate students), first and third year Master’s in Engineering Students, and non-traditional students. My majority of my students range between 18-25 years old (some older). Our lessons are very business-English oriented, as well as TOEIC preparation (the English competency exam they must pass at the beginning of the year.) I’m also in charge of grading my students on exams and presentations.

So far, I have immensely enjoyed this experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Plus, I have a pretty sweet office.

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Any other questions? Leave a comment below.

Bisous,

Dana

12 thoughts on “Lectrice Life/TAPIF Tip: What is Your Role as a Lectrice, and How Does it differ from being an Assistante?

  1. Just discovered your blog, have found your posts to be really useful! I worked as an “assistante” two years ago in Alsace, and have just started working as a “lectrice” in Lyon. It’s definitely a different role, with its own quirks, but I think as I had a lot of freedom to plan my own lessons as an “assistante” it’s made the transition easier. The classes are a lot bigger (36 students sometimes), and I’m responsible for grading about half of the classes I teach (their grades will solely be those I give them which is slightly terrifying!) I have a real mixture of classes though, some history-based, others on Anglophone culture/society, translation (oh horror of horrors!) and business English. It’ll be an interesting year as I’m learning a lot too in order to teach the students!

    1. I much preferred my lectrice position to my assistant position ! But I agree it’s a good transition and it’s a lot more fun! Create some grading rubrics to help you give grades out of 20, and try to collaborate with other teachers!

      Good luck and enjoy! X

      1. It definitely helps going in with some teaching experience, less daunting and at least you have a resource bank to build off as well. That’s a great idea – I’ll have to look into doing that, as the French grading system is very different (a lot harsher) than what I’m used to! 🙂

  2. Hi Dana

    Quick question – when you changed from being an assistant to a lectrice, obviously you got a new visa, but did you have to re-enroll in sécu and get a new social security number the next year? Did you have to re-do your OFII appointment? Or did it carry over from the year before?

    Thanks
    Madison

    1. Hi! I didn’t have to re-enroll in the sécu (I still hadn’t received my carte vitale at the end of my assistant year though, so your experience may be different.) I did have to go home and get a new visa, but that was always my plan anyways. When you go home to get a new visa you do have to do OFII again (but not when you re-new for a second year.) Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Dana,

    Found your blog just a few hours ago and it’s been a real eye-opener! It seems like the lecteur position is full of challenges but a great way to spend time in France for those interested in English teaching. I have a quick(ish) question. I’m about to start my fourth year of an undergraduate programme in Ireland and would like to apply for a lectrice position next year. I’m hoping some universities might take my four year undergraduate as bac+4. I’ve been on Erasmus to Paris-IV and received a 16/20 average and I’ve won awards at my own university for coming 1st in my year in my final exams. On track to get a I.I (I think equivalent to GPA 3.75+) overall in my undergraduate degree. My programme is highly respected in Ireland and my university is ranked above others in the country although I’m not sure if that’ll mean much to a French university. I have a keen interest in English language teaching although my experience to date is limited to tutoring teens and university students as well as volunteering with an organisation that holds English classes for recent arrivals into Ireland with limited English skills. Do you have any idea whether I’m likely to be considered?

    Cheers! Elizabeth

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thanks so much for your comment! I think you definitely have a good chance of being considered for a position- you have a very strong profile! You also have EU Nationality which may be an advantage at some unis.

      The only thing that France is really starting to crack down on is the Bac+4 rule, and having thé equivalent of one year of master’s studies (which frankly sucks because France cares more about a piece of paper then they do about competencies. But, my advice would be to try anyways! Or, try applying for the assistantship first!

      Good luck!

      Dana

  4. Yep, definitely important to note for potential lecteurs/lectrices that the role can vary greatly from one university/school to another. I know people who were more like tutors than teachers in their lecteur role!

    And also, grading and evaluations can vary from one school to another. Some grade but the grades are basically like 5% of the student’s final grade.

      1. As most lecteurs don’t have their own classes (i.e. they’re not the main teacher), their grade is added in with the actual teacher’s grade. They might not even be responsible for grades. Remind me to tell you one day how the grades are used at the FLLASH unless things have changed…

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