without revaluation, the “most beautiful job in the world” is always shunned

I remember my friend J. who made rabbit ears with his immobilization scarf. Once a broken arm, always a clown. And I still remember my teacher rolling his eyes at his antics and saying, ” At the beginning of my career, old gentlemen took off their hats to greet me on the street. » Lost respect… Already!

It was one of these strongholds of Grand Meaulnes in the late 80s, in the middle of France, without a somewhat sexy cultural identity, neither Basque nor Corsica. Both too far and too close to Paris. A kind of hinterland that is easy to get hold of for the Capétiens. This France “of the void”, which, like an Extramadura, sent its nobles to conquer. Pompidou, VGE, Mitterrand, Chirac, masons from cafe owners Creuse and Bougnat before them, at the head of the bridge. This end of the land is now referred to as a “tunnel”. Take in the geography like Limousin cows parading through the windows of the TGV, or rather the Corail train, without stopping. Rural tension between the hubs, neither Roissy nor Duisburg, our own multimodal hub: Vierzon.

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In this socially homogeneous, republican France, where agriculture no longer needed hands since a lease and the SMIs, often subcontractors, clinging to an uncertain future, the social ladder could be reached through the civil service. † Police officer from Cantal sent to Seine-Saint-Denis, teacher from Charente in Val-d’Oise. It was the game with the promise of a transfer after a few years and a salary, never fantastic, but enough not to count every cent. Set aside.

I grew up with this horizon, this certainty of a ‘stable’ life. By the early 2000s, it had been a long time since the teacher or the teacher ceased to be a standout in the area, inflation had already gained purchasing power, but becoming a teacher was still considered a success. Others returned to banking, insurance, other “safe bets” with a license. And then boom… end of the comet.

Feeling of downgrading

If I think I gave up the INSEE contest I won to choose the CAPES and teach economics sighs a friend. It reflects what I hear at my own school. † My teacher, up north, she had a great house, we are struggling to change the kettle » grumbles a French colleague. † My cousin, he doesn’t even have the baccalaureate, he earns more than me in his mechanical box after 20 years there is another one. † Anyway, as soon as we talk about revalo we get to hear vacation, you have to see how we are always lynched on the networks he adds. A few days later, my English colleague confided in annoyance: ” My intern has resigned, it’s almost never happened before, it’s the second time in three years that nobody wants to go into the profession anymore. “This year it is the second ‘younger’ to leave, in a quiet university, that’s a lot. No problem with the hierarchy, benevolent here, or even with the students or the parents. Disappointed by the trade, they zap and will flourish elsewhere.

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Salary, consideration, meaning, the breasts that feed morale in the teachers’ lounge. This sense of degradation is experienced by many other professions, such as nurses, but I am preaching here to my parish, from a position I know. What happened ? The multiple causes are known. Moreover, it is useless to put it on the back of French pessimism, the phenomenon affects most developed economies. The job is disappointing and has difficulty recruiting. This is worrying because without solid performance, no skill gain, or anything like that among competitors.

Listen to Mallory MacMorrow, a young Michigan senator, in a much-discussed speech today, lamenting her state’s inability to maintain the roads and… to avoid teacher layoffs, a real plague on the Atlantic Ocean.

Loss of purchasing power

Here the different field studies find different causes of this disenchantment, here are a few. So in the first place the loss of feeling for the profession. Colleagues increasingly have tasks other than teaching. They have a sense of distance from the work for which they were trained, sometimes more than forty years ago. The continuous training of teaching staff is insufficient, it is not a mystery to anyone, and when we propose to strengthen it, it is to do it during the holidays, which means that we do not work at all during that time. The message is poorly received.

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The loss of their purchasing power comes right after. It has fallen by 15 to 25% (constant euro) in twenty years, depending on the case, according to a report from the Senate of November 2021, an institution with little suspicion of collusion with the unions. Inflation and the index point freeze since 2008 (since micro-thawed once) have had a formidable scissors effect on wallets, especially for colleagues who work in areas where real estate is tight, in the Paris region or in major cities. In these places, the teacher’s salary, when he is in a relationship, is no longer a financial locomotive, but seems like a kind of supplement. This is also explained by the high degree of feminization of the profession. And as everyone knows, it is still women who work most part-time.

The “sacrifice” is no longer valid

It is precisely in these metropolitan areas that most teachers (1st and 2nd degree) have their first job. Here we come to another unfortunate topic: the lack of geographic mobility. Transfers are based on a complex points system, taking into account seniority and family reunification in particular. Negotiated in their time, known to all, the rules were accepted. But with the abolition of the posts, the movements are less important and the chances of integrating a desired academy decrease from year to year. There is little hope that a Breton colleague will return to his native Finistère without having spent ten, fifteen years or even more, depending on the subject, in the Paris region. The “sacrifice” no longer applies to young people who want to enter the profession.

These start with less than 2000 euros, master (bac + 5) now and competition in your pocket. We understand that a math student can randomly find more appealing proposals elsewhere. For mid-career colleagues, who earn little more, the lack of mobility is demotivating. These are also afraid of being forgotten about the big ones of the next promised increases. We want to attract people into the profession, it is essential, we must also retain the experienced.

Disclaimer of Claims

And then the calling? You don’t become a teacher to make a fortune, that’s for sure. But the words “vocation”, “priesthood” refer to religious images. It would be a calling, a pure gift of self, an irresistible desire to teach, even in a barn. I don’t know of many “self-gifts” that pay bills, repay loans, and fill up the car.

On the other hand, most teachers are invested in a profession and many have a passion for the subject. The students are not fooled, it is the first quality they recognize in their teachers. But that doesn’t stop them from demanding wage increases and better working conditions, like many others. Constantly sending them back to a supposed calling is a way of denying their claims. But without an upgraded career, without missions redefined in consultation with the teachers themselves, willing to discuss if we listen to them, the “best job in the world” will continue to be shunned, with consequences we can easily imagine.

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