Education has been central to the topics covered in the various media for years. We can say that the various problems of our education system are causing a lot of ink to flow. Behind these many problems, a common point almost inevitably emerges: the appreciation of teachers.
Is valuing teachers really the right quest, and if so, what are the options for getting there?
Last autumn, the Ministère de l’Education held consultations to ensure the implementation of a strategy aimed at promoting, attracting and mobilizing school staff. The announcements of May 31, 2022 give us an interesting overview of the actions needed to promote the school staff.
But in addition to appreciation, upstream – where decisions are made – there is a matter of recognition. Indeed, how can a profession be promoted in the field if the people who practice this profession are not consulted or even considered in the various plans, strategies or governmental or inter-ministerial policies? What are the consequences of this lack of recognition?
For example, in the field of physical education and health (HPE), we see several organizations arriving in our gymnasiums that often have significant financial resources to, a priori, support and complete our learning goals. However, the programs of these organizations are often designed without taking into account learning objectives and learning progress. The same goes for the effervescence of healthy lifestyles: they’re part of our curriculum, but a lot of the initiatives coming into schools don’t take into account the expertise of physical education teachers. Would the effects be more noticeable if everything was aligned and complementary?
The question therefore arises: is the pursuit of recognition of our expertise not a priority goal to be achieved? How do you achieve this recognition upstream and this appreciation downstream?
Association, order and union
For a long time there was talk of creating a professional order. Does the key lie with a company that wants to protect the public? Is this order still relevant if the Student Ombudsman is established and responding to this need for public protection? Maybe not.
Are unions the solution? Although their fundamental mission is to defend the working conditions of their members, what neutrality do they have if we want to promote quality education through the pedagogical expertise of teachers? Should ‘working conditions’ and ‘professional practice’ be discussed under one roof? Maybe not.
What is left for teachers to gain this recognition and appreciation?
Although most subjects are grouped into disciplinary associations, the common point of teaching is not just being a teacher of a subject, and teaching is an educational act. Thus, the idea of having a professional association of teachers in Quebec could be useful in several ways: working daily to promote pedagogical expertise, advancing the 13 professional skills, breaking the silos between initial training and permanent education, etc. .
Would it be appropriate to recognize the great contribution such an association could make in the wake of the visionary reflections of the Quebec schools? Wouldn’t this be an extraordinary opportunity to balance power games to give pedagogy and thus teaching the fundamental and societal value it deserves? And if this association existed, would it be recognized politically?
Veronique Marchand, Executive Director of the Federation of Physical Educators and Teachers of Quebec (FÉÉPEQ)
Stevens LeBlanc Archive Photo
Sylvain Dancause, teacher secondary