teaching assistants at the end of their contract in the dark

The AEDs, as they are called in the National Education, are the supervisors who supervise the students. Essential links in the operation of branches, some of which are at the end of the contract, are nevertheless in uncertainty due to a still unapplied tenancy law.

A demonstration of teaching assistants in 2020 © AFP / Alain Pitton / NurPhoto

Until then, teaching assistants have a contract of one year that is renewable 5 times. At the end of the 6th year they are thanked.

But in the law, passed last March, against school bullying, Article 10 states that AEDs can get a permanent position after a 6-year contractbecause they are often the ones identifying situations of harassment, and team stability is essential.

However, the implementing decrees have still not been published. These employees do not know whether they can continue their mission. Institutions also don’t know whether they can keep them or whether they need to hire other assistants. At the end of the school year, the situation is untenable.

A decree postponed several times

The publication of the decree was postponed several times, until the end of May and then until the beginning of June, due to the establishment of the government that took time”, explains Laurence Hopp, the national school staff delegate to the Se-Unsa trade union, and herself CPE, the chief education adviser of the Strasbourg Academy. †It is unknown when it will be released. There it is really urgent becausecurrently in school life, we renew contracts and new hires, it is now that we organize school life in the establishments so that the start of the school year can take place in a serene way. These employees need to know whether they can continue to work or whether they should already try to find another job.

This is the case of Caroline, teaching assistant at a university in Ille-et-Vilaine. His contract expires on August 31. †I’m stressed because I don’t know what I’m going to do on September 1. I don’t see myself going back to Pôle Emploi, I don’t see myself doing anything else because it’s a job we do with passion. Colleges and high schools struggle to recruit teaching assistants as we have the experience, we know the families, we know the students, we are trusted“, says this 42-year-old woman, who has 4 children. Of the 6 AED positions at her university, she and a colleague are in their 6th year and a third are in their 5th year. The college will have to leave with a new team that will not be formed at all‘ she regrets.

Only 30% of teaching assistants are students

We are constantly obliged to renew our teams within school lifeadmits Laurence Hopp, of Se-Unsa,while some of the people recruited as teaching assistants are qualified personnel, who have experience and allow a certain stability in the teams. These are people who want to make it their profession, which was not planned at the start as it was normally a ‘profession’ aimed at students. But the profile has changed. We don’t have that many students anymore: today that is about 30% of the teaching assistant population. All the rest are people who want to be able to continue practicing this profession. Especially in rural areas, for many mothers it is a practical job that allows them to reconcile family and professional life. Teaching assistants today are on average in their thirties, it is no longer 20-year-old students who do this to pay for their studies.

Audrey, AED at Grenoble confirms: “In my establishment, these are no longer student jobs, we are all mothers! In big cities there are indeed students who come to work as AEDs, but in small colleges like ours we are older, we have a family and we are looking for a permanent place.

You still need a certain maturity to do this work.adds Héloïse, 31, who works in Clermont-Ferrand.Directors need staff who are there on a regular, full-time basis. I would have liked to continue I really enjoyed being a tutor, we have a special bond with the students, I feel useful† We are a bit like the ants doing all the work that we don’t necessarily see at first glance, but is necessary for the proper functioning of student life. The students, I know them well, we remember what happened in recent years, the problems they encountered, both at school and on a personal level. Over the years we tend to find it easier to position ourselves, we know how to manage a crisis situation. It is precisely in the 5th and 6th year that people begin to feel at ease and know exactly how to react

“Sense of abandonment”

Héloïse founded a literary club to give young people the desire to write, she provides “Homework done”, a homework guidance system for students in difficulty. When teaching assistants have spent several years in an institution, they are often more invested, such as Isabelle, 55, AED for 6 years in a secondary vocational school in Montrouge, in the Paris region. She especially takes care of newcomers, guides them in their steps. †I am incredibly sad to leave them, like a sense of abandonment...” she complains.

In my establishment I have been told that they would like to keep me, but everything will depend on this famous decree, says Emmanuelle, supervisor near Annecy. We wait, we can’t do anything and then we can get stuck in the water at the end of the year. The students constantly ask me ‘are you going to stay, are you staying?’ and I can’t answer them, we don’t know anything. I love my job, I’m really sorry! I don’t feel like looking for anything else because that’s what I want to do, so I really hope this decree will come true so I can move on.

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