“Teaching at college was one of the most beautiful things that ever happened to me,” says Mara Goyet
He has been a geo-history teacher for a quarter of a century and never tires of his work. In the Finishing teacher, can we make peace with lectures? appearing this Thursday, Mara Goyet enthusiastically explains the various sides of her profession. Without erasing the hardships that teachers are experiencing: the lack of resources that companies are suffering from, the complexity of managing educational continuity during the Covid crisis, the trauma of the death of Samuel Paty…” “Finishing a teacher” sounds like a threat; this is an opportunity for me, ”he wrote in a book. which comes at the right time as the Minister of Education, Pap Ndiaye, has just announced new measures for the college.
In the midst of a teacher hiring crisis, your book sounds like a call to call. After 25 years of practice, how do you explain that your profession is still so fascinating?
Teaching in college is one of the best things that ever happened to me. And my work makes me more excited today. At the beginning of my career, I really valued the transmission, the preservation of culture… And I took my profession very seriously. But little by little, I freed myself from a number of orders. And in this profession, you always have the possibility to improve, which is very exciting.
You say you are “closer to code, social networks, new words”. Does teaching youth make it possible to age faster?
It even makes you childish! Teenagers are in constant turmoil, they are constantly changing and have inexhaustible vitality.
You don’t hesitate to tell anecdotes in class, use humor in your lessons. Is this your secret to attracting the attention of your students?
This is my technique for transmitting knowledge to be most effective. When teaching, you must be prepared to improvise and be creative. Humor is a great way to convey information. Since the program changes slightly, I try every year to proceed differently, depending on my age and adapting to my students. Otherwise, I’ll be bored! You have to work hard not to fall into a routine.
You write: “The older I get, the better I am to students”. On the other hand, one would think that the teachers grew impatient with the experience…
No, because after 25 years of teaching, I am no longer afraid of my students. I don’t need to be hotheaded to escape the overflow. I also have the impression of understanding more high school students, their problems, their confusion…
“Being a college teacher guarantees to inspire a bit of awe,” you wrote. How to explain the lack of social recognition suffered by teachers?
First, with their low salaries. Then, because the mythology around college teachers is often negative. He is often described as lazy, overwhelmed… And many adults have bad memories of their college days.
Why do you define college as an “unloved institution”?
I defend the idea of one college. The problem is that it is considered “little high school”. However, some students are already experiencing serious academic difficulties when they enter. And we don’t have enough human resources to help them. Moreover, the way schools are designed during these years does not take into account the fact that secondary schools are a corridor between childhood and youth. School requirements are sometimes too high for those who struggle past this age.
According to you, the number of students close to dropping out of school has increased significantly in recent years. For what reason?
I notice more and more students who have no vitality, who work little, who don’t talk much. It’s because of their way of life, their reliance on cell phones, their lack of communication with adults, the anxiety-inducing climate in which they grew up with the onslaught and climate crisis… And when they’ve been doing badly, Covid knocks them out. Their parents were confused and asked for our help, but we had a hard time getting them.
Do you think Pap Ndiaye’s announcement this Wednesday, to stipulate additional hours per week of lessons in French or math for Grade 6 students to strengthen their skills, is a step in the right direction?
One hour of support will not be enough to change the situation. That’s a lazy solution.
You are resurrecting the death of Samuel Paty as a collective trauma. What has changed in the way you teach and in your colleagues?
Some self-censor out of wisdom toward students or out of fear. They have come to understand that what they say in class can completely escape their attention and be misunderstood or distorted. And that this can have consequences for their safety. As for me, I don’t censor myself, but I often wonder when I return home whether my course was well received.
According to you, “secularism has been devalued and exploited”. How can it be better understood by students?
Secularism is frowned upon. It is important to discuss it from an early age with students to show their interest in developing within a secular framework.
You’re talking about the “pottery” relationship between teachers and parents, you mean?
The parent-teacher WhatsApp group is growing rapidly. Small incidents in class can quickly become big. Both teachers and parents must work to rebuild mutual trust.