Lazy stick-in-the-mud teachers?

I have a French friend who, it’s fair to say, is rather older and more right-wing than I am. We were talking today about Macron’s Monday night chat and, in particular, teachers.

His view is that teachers are poorly-paid (so the profession is unattractive) and wedded to teaching outdated stuff like philosophy, rather than material we need for the 21st century.

I can’t imagine this is the whole story, but I wonder what is the opinion of any teachers here.

Teachers are poorly paid compared to other European countries and yes having had four kids go through the school system here I would say the curriculum is outdated.

Assuming your friend is retired, what did he do?What sort of education has your friend had?

Teachers are very badly paid especially seeing you need Bac +5 to be allowed to sit the competitive exam you need to do it. You don’t choose where you work either if you don’t come high enough in the competition, I have heard of people working for years 400km from home. And conditions are getting worse so I’m not surprised fewer people want to do it.

Lots of people teach because their family circumstances suit it and they are qualified enough, succeeded in the competition and are resilient enough to put up with all the negative aspects.
There are also positive aspects, obviously.

The system is fairly rigid but the latest lot of shiny new reforms are actually going to have appalling results.

There are various different types of school teaching all sorts of subjects, only philosophy teachers teach philosophy, and I don’t think that it is a waste of time. In fact imho critical thinking about and understanding of what various people have thought over the past couple of millennia is probably a good thing.

But everyone’s an expert with reference to schools and teaching because everyone has been to school.

Edited to add philosophy is taught only in the final year of Lycée.


My son is a prof principal in an inner city collège with many pupils of muslim/arab backgrounds plus many from the Gîtane community locally as well and it is a hard job especially today when teacher’s hands are tied regarding punishments for things we would have been instantly expelled for in my day. He often does not get to bed until 2 or 3 in the morning preparing lessons and then up again at 7 or earlier to be at work for 8am until finishing at 5pm.Often he has meetings lasting until late evening as well as formations to attend and visiting pupils on work experience. The curriculum is fixed but he has managed to make english lessons popular and has had parents write to ask if their kids can continue with him in their next school year. He has suffered, along with other colleagues from harrasment by one particular mentally challenged teacher and the academy won’t remove her although the principal has now had enough of her and wants her gone. Its not a job I would want to do but he had made it his vocation, studied long and hard to get all the necessary qualifications and does sometimes get a return on his investment (one evening he was late leaving and needed some ciggies from the tabac nearby so went on foot instead of getting the car from the parking. Outside the tabac he was accosted by a group of young men of arab appearance and they demanded his phone and wallet or a beating.The next thing he knew was someone shouting stop, thats my favourite teacher, don’t hurt him. He was then escorted to his car and thanked for his kindness to the teenager relative who had called out). Pay could be a lot better and he does as many extra hours as he can get and when he qualified, luckily he was PACS’d so did not have to leave the area as many have to do for their first job. His main groan at the moment are the parents, two types - one lot who don’t give a dam what their kids do or don’t do in class,plead poverty when it comes to buying the books etc yet their kids have the latest iphone and the other type who refuse to believe their thick little darlings are nothing short of genius’.


I think that is the same most places in the south now. It certainly is here.

Yes think you are right. However he has found the Gîtane parents very polite and they themselves punish any untoward kids but he is very sad that at 16, the young girls are expected to forgo further education and become wives and mothers so they don’t push themselves in class unless their parents have pulled away from traditional views. The SEGPA class he takes have also warmed to him as he likes to include games rather than rote and they take far more interest in listening - he got a good report from the inspectorate for that stance which came about from them ignoring him and just messing about when he first took the class over. These troubled kids seem to like doing hands on stuff rather than reading and writing.

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I was shamed many years ago when, visiting a routier restaurant near the Spanish border mine was the only wagon in the large parking but there were 2 Gitane vehicles pulled up. Inside the bar we got chatting and they insisted on buying me a drink before they left. The barman said ’ Gitanes, better check the camion’. Suddenly worried and thinking the worst and that the friendliness was a diversion to disarm me, I hurried outside. The Gitanes were gone and the vehicle was fine, nothing wrong, nothing taken.

Red face and downcast look as I returned to the bar. :slightly_frowning_face:

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Well yes because for many of them reading (and to a lesser extent writing) represent considerable difficulty and effort, of course they don’t want to do it. Like anyone with a tedious or difficult activity really.

I started reading when I was three.
I can stream words when I say them and so can my daughter.
I have a real problem with anything that needs a series of things, mathematical formulae etc. This was never recognised when I was at school and it has caused me problems, I can never remember recipes!
I have problems with spatial awareness too.


My OH was severely dyslexic,but was an absolute wizz at maths and anything with measurements etc, his father, grandfather and our son too. OH was taught to write by sound although he could spell quite well but sometimes I would find very strange words which when I said them to myself I understood. My son went to an opthothomiste (sp) - speech therapist here in France when he started at collège and she was marvelous, you would never believe now he is an english teacher with qualifications now from when he was in primaire originally. It was the collège who set it up and it never cost us a penny either.


Orthophoniste :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think a dose of philosophy would stand people in good stead! It teaches one how to solve life problem. It helps us to analyze concepts, and arguments and contributes to our capacity to organize ideas and issues, to deal with questions of value, and to extract what is essential from large quantities of information.

If more people studied philosophy perhaps they wouldn’t be hoodwinked by the rubbish that is on so ial media?


Wasn’t aware philosophy had become redundant, by contrast in the twenty-first century technology is becoming obsolescent ever more rapidly. Of course, all technology is intermediate - but that’s looking at it from a philosophical perspective…


Even better would be the much maligned subject of critical media studies, which I think should now be introduced in primary schools.


Me too xx

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I wonder what your friend thinks is the “material we need for the 21st century”.
Presumably it does not involve being able to think critically, make reasoned judgments, be curious about human nature etc etc etc.?


Very enlightening. Thanks.