What does it mean to be a good teacher?

To become a good teacher, you need good knowledge, good will and the ability to properly position yourself. But this, unfortunately, you will not be taught anywhere. The first part in our series.

Teaching Institutes (IUFM) have died, long live the Higher Schools of Teachers and Teachers. This is what Vincent Peillon, the Minister of Education, says, who is well aware of the current shortage of teachers (there have been fewer applications from applicants than places at some faculty this year). This situation is explained by low salaries (the minister acknowledged the need for a significant increase in salaries), the difficult atmosphere in some institutions and the lack of proper training. In addition, we are promised a return to the annual internship. Why not? In addition, you need to figure out who will deal with beginners? Experienced teachers? Local teachers? Or specialists in the “educational sciences”, the very people who, after they were expelled from the late pedagogical institutes, filled the faculties and brought down their budgets, raking everything for yourself? These people today are preparing for a triumphant return, while pedagogical failure in this area has long been its only recognized achievement.

But is this enough to rekindle interest in the profession? And more precisely: is this enough to train “good” teachers? In general, a “good teacher” is a vague and even subjective concept. A quick survey of two dozen students gave me more or less accurate figures: 45% of teachers in primary and secondary schools are considered “good” among former students. This indicator reaches 75% in preparatory classes (there they are selected according to pedagogical criteria), but rarely passes over the mark of 50% in universities. As for the “brilliant” teacher, who in one way or another affects two or even three generations, now it is an incredibly rare beast. Unlike a “good” teacher who provokes a more or less unanimous response, the perception of a “genius” is always quite controversial: remember the Circle of Missing Poets, which so forced openly middle teachers to gnash their teeth … I met only two or three “brilliant” teachers, all of them in high school. These include, for example, Roland Barthes.

A good teacher is a combination of knowledge, skills and presentation. Knowledge depends on preparation and love of discipline and teaching. That is, we are talking about a somewhat outdated concept, which is called vocation. Skill is a matter of practice: it is not so easy to be a teacher, no matter what all sofa theorists think, who are unhappy with too long vacations or the insufficient, in their opinion, teaching hours (they themselves would not last two days). In addition, students are cleverly able to identify those who do not have the necessary knowledge (they should be at least ten times more than the taught material). A good teacher has an answer to any question. Those who proposed limiting exams and selection to only knowledge of the official curriculum themselves never taught … or taught only at pedagogical institutes. Who needs a doctor

As for the ability to put oneself, it all depends on personal skill. In the film “Dangerous Profession” (le Plus beau métier du monde), which is not at all as bad as they say, Gerard Depardieu lacks precisely this quality. As a result, he is brutally booed by the “worst” class, which is kindly passed to a beginner according to a widespread and completely stupid tradition. However, one of his colleagues only needs five seconds to restore order among this chaos. In general, if French cinema thinks about showing “good teachers” (as has been happening in American cinema for a long time, see “Blackboard Jungle” or “Dangerous Minds”) instead of exposing them in a caricatured light in such an abomination as “Class” (Entre les murs), to the profession of a teacher, perhaps

And you just don’t teach how to give yourself. Teachers were booed even at a time when punishment could be very cruel or even corporal. It is not related to the item, gender, appearance or clothing. This is an innate quality, which, it seems to me, can be a Darwinian criterion for survival in a hostile environment. The internships coined by Sébastien Clerc and his imitators are just a silly joke. Yoga will not help here, as well as macrobiotic. Dressing in Cruella is also pointless. A good teacher has his own presentation and with experience he turns it into charisma.

It seems to me that 45% of good teachers are not so bad. In any case, there are more than good bakers. So, goodwill can not replace charisma? Of course not! Do not forget that children, as La Fontaine used to say, are completely “ruthless”: the goal of schools and the entire educational system is to educate these savages who are never kind, no matter what Philippe Meirieu and his lecturers say. from Russo. Goodwill is of great importance (it is also related to vocation), but in itself it is not enough.

It would be worth recruiting teachers from elementary to high school, telling themselves that work everywhere is a little different … They need to be prepared even after graduation. For them, it is necessary to form something like a partnership system based on the experience gained. The author of these lines, who does not call himself the genius of pedagogy, but still has 40 years of teaching experience, could not become a mentor for teachers. The excess independence of the spirit is to blame, as the regional inspector once told me, with whom I shared my surprise at my removal and his decision to appoint almost as young and inept colleagues for this task as those whom they needed to patronize. A good teacher cannot be trained with conformism (or systematic non-conformism). The key to success is imagination.


Leave a Comment