Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Invisible at School

This is how French education works where my eldest is at collège.
  • You go to school, you have no problems, you work, you are sufficiently bright to get by, you are motived = perfect student.
  • You go to school, you are not motivated, you are bright but don't work = invisible student.
  • You go to school and wreak havoc = visible but pain in the butt student.
French teachers like the first type of pupil because they cause no trouble and do not require any particular attention beyond the teacher turning up.

For the second, parents are advised to resort to private tuition to fill the knowledge gaps, but no one really cares whether you get it or not as long as you don't make trouble.

The third type are just trouble.

Pastoral care in French schools does not exist. It may be necessary to privately educate my eldest because he is not motivated and no one at school cares if he does his homework or not. No one tries to motivate him and the staff are off as often as possible with no replacement teacher to ensure the programme is followed.

Their solution to any problem is to have private lessons. For the price of private lessons in three subjects, you can send your child to a private school where teachers are expected to ensure the children work properly. I am actually pretty disgusted with the general desire of teachers to have 'invisible' pupils. Children are not robots and teaching is not an ordinary job. You can't just turn up. You have to engage with the kids. Making expectations regarding their work is a minimum. Parents cannot be cracking the whip at home if at school teachers spend half their time off for depression and the rest of the time on strike.

And I live in a nice area!


  1. I so agree.

    I am one of those teachers that has high expectations for my pupils and expect them to work toward them (something some of them find mildly amusing). I always think: what would their parents expect them to do in lessons; learn or chat? ,how can I motivate them to achieve their best, etc. I let parents know if their child is not doing their best and I ask parents to work with me (I love the parents that agree to confiscate X-boxes until homework is up to date).

    Where do I teach? In a private school! Things aren't so different here.

  2. My children were all sent to private schools to be sure that got tuition of quality.

    However, compared to the scholling I had it's a thousand light years away.

    I want to school in Great Britain , and the least one can say is...I got taught! But also, and this does not seem the same in France....GENERAL education & SPORT were just as important as maths!

    They at the time made sure you had a jolly good WHOLE education, not just certain prime subjects for specialised outlets.

    Actually I loathed it.....the blind discipline, the absolute obligation of doing what you are told to do, and the horrific class set up, stupid dramatical punishments, never seeing your family etc.

    But, thanks to them, even now that I am old and crumpled, I'm interested in everything, and that is thanks to their rigid methods!!!

    They trained me like a puppy....to want to learn, to learn, and to go on learning forever!!

  3. very interesting and accurate analysis. I have one in category one - a dream! and another in category 2, and he is going to a private school for 6ème

  4. Funny you should say 'he' for the second one, Hope!

    Boys are renowned for not working, but teachers really shouldn't rely on this to not demand results.


Comments are bienvenue.