From dream to nightmare… “Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved French. From the sixth grade, I wrote on the presentation sheets about my future profession: French teacher”, recalls Noélie*.
So she worked to make her dream come true. “After my master’s degree in literature, I had my competition as a free candidate,” explains the 25-year-old young woman. The Capes** in her pocket, Noélie was appointed to a university in Haute-Vienne. “Very quickly, maybe even from day one, I thought maybe I wasn’t right for this”she admits.
“I never felt kindness”
“From the training center where I was told that if the students didn’t listen to me, it was ‘I wasn’t interesting’, to my tutor who wouldn’t show me about her practice ‘because I had to learn on my own” , I never felt kindness. On the contrary, it is a permanent baptism of fire, extreme loneliness, I had to take care of myself. I’m not trained for this. I plunged into depression. I had a lump in my stomach and threw up before going to class. It’s a very closed system, very childish. Nobody really knows what’s going on inside…”, she says.
Among too many and absent-minded students, pushy parents, lack of education and lack of institutional supportNoélie soon became disillusioned.
“You have to work twice as much for an hour of class. You have to tailor something for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysorthography… I went to bed every night at 2 am, I spent my holidays and my weekends there. I worked about 50 hours a week for 1,400 euros net despite a Bac +5 and a category A competition“You think that’s normal,” she says indignantly.
“The only thing holding back teachers are the students,” notes the young woman. But I’ve made up my mind, I’m going to resign in the coming months because a conventional break will never be accepted. Without RSA or unemployment I will resume my studies to become a psychologist for children and adolescents. I have already been admitted to a course. I am so relieved to have left National Education. I have no hesitation in telling those who want to do this work to run away…’
† I understand the giddiness felt by young colleagues arriving in overcrowded classes, who have difficulty implementing programs due to not being adequately trained, add the salary conditions and it’s a shock,” admits Marianne Corrèze, academic co-secretary of Snes-FSU.
† More and more teachers in training stop along the way. It is extremely worrying. They are young, it is the next generation! But for them it is a big disappointment and it is immediate, Maud Duveuf, academic secretary of SE-Unsa Limoges supports. In addition, Jean-Michel Blanquer’s five years at the head of the ministry have not helped. †
But it’s not just young people who are leaving and not just teachers† † After twenty years of good and loyal service as Principal Education Advisor (CPE), Valérie* is also leaving the National Education Council† “I just signed my conventional split,” she assures with relief. A “recent” way to exit the institution. It has been around for two or three years and will run until 2025,” the CPE specifies.
More and more breaches of contract
Valérie is not an isolated case. “We are increasingly called upon to support colleagues with contractual terminations”, Maud Duveuf supports.
If she made this decision, it was because she “saw” [son] profession to change. The CPE is transformed, becoming more of a “police officer” and offering less support. I saw more and more rigidity, verticality, infantilization, permanent suspicion and suffering arise. I told myself I wouldn’t be able to do this for another 20 years. Because I was no longer in the mold, I had to leave,” she sums up.
Before the autumn, she will be officially relieved of the executives of the National Service. “A tough decision to make,” she says. But I’m relieved… I loved my job for ten years, then I started looking at what else I could do: what opportunities were there for me? Nothing but become a head teacher. I couldn’t find a bridge to other civil service professions, nor an open door to the training of future CPEs, so I looked outside the institution. †
Thanks to the contractual severance pay, she will be able to continue the training that has already started by “financing it herself”. In her new professional life, she will step aside to continue helping young people and their parents. “by fighting bullying at school, by improving their relationships, emotions and self-confidence”.
Sonia* will also change her life very soon. This mathematics teacher at a college in Haute-Vienne, who was also a schoolteacher, also took a conventional break.
“Mistreated, despised, badly regarded” by the institution, she said stop. “After nine years of teaching, I will finally be able to get closer to my family, leave Limousin,” she breathes. She no longer wanted to “be a number in a file among millions of others”. “I was a substitute teacher for six years, because I saw no perspective and wanted to keep this desire to teach intact, I decided to become a math teacher. I was hoping for better working conditions in high school, more attention… It could be a little bit better and even more,” she notes.
† I was left alone, without a tutor, with overloaded sixth and third grade, and then in three different establishments† Far from each other, I spent my time on the road or in my classrooms so that everything was ready before I changed schools. Training was denied to me. So I broke, she rewinds. I’ve had a burnout. †
“We need better salary conditions, better conditions for practicing the profession and better training conditions before and during the career, otherwise we will have great difficulties for public schools”
Marianne Correze (Academic Co-Secretary of SNES-FSU)
Burnout, depression, layoff… What solutions to tackle this malaise of teachers and stop a crisis of vocations? “We need better salary conditions, better conditions for the practice of the profession and better training conditions before and during the career, otherwise we will have great difficulties for public schools because the missions are not carried out properly,” replies Marianne Corrèze.
“If nothing changes, it will be a disaster,” warns Maud Duveuf.
It doesn’t just happen in colleges and high schools in the Paris region. † We already know that there will not be enough teachers for the students at the beginning of the next school year. If some academies are affected more than others, our academy is not spared. Certainly in technology, in mathematics, there are great risks, Marianne Corrèze laments, and if the solution is to hire untrained contract workers, that is absolute nonsense. †
All first names have been changed.
Certificate of aptitude for teaching secondary education
It’s no better in the first degree…
From Creus, Émilie* passed her school teacher competition at the Créteil academy. She wanted to be in class for the students. “By teaching in a priority education zone (ZEP), I thought I’d find dedicated teams with the resources. But no. I arrived and found colleagues resigning, tired and not very resourceful,” she reports. “As for pedagogical questions, there is no time or energy here to think about it. But I persisted because my work was appreciated by the children, by the colleagues, by the municipal staff. So I kept going, but I couldn’t take it anymore…”, Émilie recalls.
“It is rather hypocrisy and injustice that should be written on the pediments instead of liberty, equality and fraternity… Let’s take the example of benevolence or inclusion, we talk about it all the time, but without human resources this is not possible I had a student who had special needs that you have to meet – that’s normal – i.e. he can’t keep calm, he climbs on furniture, he smears ink everywhere… He is a student who should be viewed as milk on fire, but what can I do if I’m the only adult in the class? » The tug-of-war was permanent between “what must and what can”. “There is a gap between quality training, innovative pedagogy and this resourceless dinosaur school,” she reiterates. “I resigned on a whim, I had no clear ideas, I just wanted it to stop, but I didn’t understand I had a burnout. It’s my family doctor who made me realize that.” are in the institution, you do not know what is happening there, it is exactly like for the nursing staff.”