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Some random wonderings about the education system


RumziGal
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- If schools are secular, how come they get taught the Nicene Creed?

- Why do sports teachers still teach them to do sit-ups with their legs out straight?

- What have they got against computers?  In 4ème (age 13-14) they do a bit of "computing" in Techno, i.e. how to open, edit, and save a Microsoft Word file. [blink] Yes, really, that is ALL!  Otherwise they're a complete no-no.

- Why do the government keep cutting educational posts?

- Why do the teaching staff not really care?   The yearly strikes are just part of everyone's expectations now, and make no difference to anything, especially considering how few teachers actually strike.

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Another one:

- Why are there so few Remplacents available?

My daughter effectively had an extra weeks holiday before the February vacances because her teacher had la grippe and there were no remplacents available.  I know the answer already - lack of money.

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[quote user="Suze"]Another one:

- Why are there so few Remplacents available?

My daughter effectively had an extra weeks holiday before the February vacances because her teacher had la grippe and there were no remplacents available.  I know the answer already - lack of money.
[/quote]

Yep, that one really gets me.  So far this year, my daughter has had at least 20 classes dumped because the teacher(s) were out and there was no replacement.  Now, her Math teacher is out for some unknown reason and there is no indication of when she will be back.  They finally got a replacement in, but he tells the kids his work background is in mechanics or something like that !!

The no money thing is something I shouldn't even begin to start griping about.  It is one of those things along with the American President, insurance companies and banks.  Once I get started, someone has to hit me.

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This business of remplacements is an interesting one. A few years ago I helped a neighbour’s child whose English teacher had been away for over six months. They had had a variety of supply teachers, but none of them was actually giving them a lesson. They’d say things like, “Have you done page 34 ?” The kids would reply truthfully or not, depending on what mood they were in.

In theory at any rate this should happen in England. Each teacher is spposed to have a plan of work for the year and if they are away someone else should be able to pick it up. This is supposed to be done under the supervision of the head of that particular department in the school. It’s part of the reason they get more money than a standard classroom teacher.

As to why French teachers appear not to care - I wonder if it’s because they are designated to a school and not chosen by th head ? In a good school in England, where there is fierce competition for jobs, people are chosen by the headteacher and the governors. In practice the head of the department will have some sort of say too, and therefore has an interest in that teacher’s success and will help and support them. I think if you feel that you are part of a team you are much more likely to care. No teacher can produce wonders without co-operation from colleagues.

IMHO

Hoddy
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[quote user="RumziGal"]

- If schools are secular, how come they get taught the Nicene Creed?

- Why do sports teachers still teach them to do sit-ups with their legs out straight?

- What have they got against computers?  In 4ème (age 13-14) they do a bit of "computing" in Techno, i.e. how to open, edit, and save a Microsoft Word file. [blink] Yes, really, that is ALL!  Otherwise they're a complete no-no.

- Why do the government keep cutting educational posts?

- Why do the teaching staff not really care?   The yearly strikes are just part of everyone's expectations now, and make no difference to anything, especially considering how few teachers actually strike.

[/quote]

1 They have lessons about world religion in 6eme, they study the major world religions and their history.  It's part of the history syllabus, and nothing like encouraging them to pray in assemblies, or sing in carol services.  It's is part of teaching them about the world around them, not about indoctrinating them.

2  no idea.

3 Depends on the individual schools, how much the teachers wish to use computers, what is available etc.  Lots of opportunities to use computers are out there for French teachers, not all are interested.  I'm not myself, I have much more exciting things to do with them than stick them in front of a screen.  It is what most of them do at home.

4  Demographics?  Actually, this year, they haven't cut the posts in terms of recruitement.

5  Bit of a sweeping statement.  Sorry you seem to be having a bad experience with French teachers, it's certainly not the case every where

To the people asking about replacements.  If the teacher is away for less than two weeks then they do not have to be replaced by the rectorat.  The head teacher is supposed to find somebody in the schools.  But sometimes they can't because nobody is prepared to do the job.  I'm not prepared to do it myself, I already teach 20 hours of very difficult classes.  Strikes?  Well there have been three this year.  We're coming up to an election, so hopefully they will do some good.  As they are trying to make teachers teach other subject for which they are not qualified, without giving them any extra training, I suppose the parents will be the first to complain when the child doesn't get the required marks but meanwhile, of course, the teachers shouldn't go on strike.  Can't please everybody, don't want to!

As for working together, it is true that there isn't the structure here with heads of departments and so on, but it doesn't mean people don't work together.  Again, it is more a question of personalities, people work together if they get on.

Let me dispel a myth.  So French people are civil servants and don't get individually recruited by the school. It is time and again suggested that people therefore are sent where they don't want to go, and do a minimum working week in consequence.  It's simply not true.  A small number of people, who are not married or otherwise attached end up in the Paris suburbs for a couple of years.  Most teachers are pretty happy where they are, and motivated.  Personally, I love my job, even if my school isn't perfect and the pupils have some major personal problems which can lead to major behavioural problems.  I don't have any regrets, for instance, about working a 60+ hour week last week to put in place the final preparations for the trip to England tomorrow, five days, none of which will be paid overtime, of course, for the four teachers involved and for which we have been raising funds and  sorting out since the beginning of the year.  They are worth it.

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[quote user="Suze"]Another one:

- Why are there so few Remplacents available?

My daughter effectively had an extra weeks holiday before the February vacances because her teacher had la grippe and there were no remplacents available.  I know the answer already - lack of money. [/quote]

In my first year of learning German as a 2nd language many many years ago, our prof had an accident at home very early in the first trimester and was never replaced.

We never caught up and 2 years later, we all had a letter to present for our 'oral de Bac' explaining our poor German language skills...

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[quote user="Tourangelle"] for the trip to England tomorrow, five days, none of which will be paid overtime, of course, for the four teachers involved and for which we have been raising funds and  sorting out since the beginning of the year.  They are worth it.
[/quote]

Don't even start me on school trips - he's coming to the end of 4ème and he's never been on any! 

I do understand about the Nicene Creed being part of the history syllabus, but I know that when they did their one lesson on Islam, they never went into even that much detail, that's all.  I grew up in a fairly religious place, and I've never known the Nicene Creed, so it just seemed funny that in a so-called secular country, where he's never even set foot in a church and is unlikely to do so, he knows that.   I'm sure he's quite safe from indoctrination anyway while I'm around.  [:)]   

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[quote user="RumziGal"]

- If schools are secular, how come they get taught the Nicene Creed?.

[/quote]

An excellent point which is well worth its own thread....[:D],

Maybe on what "laicite" really means in France.

BTW I had to google Nicene Creed[:'(],

is it "Notre Pere, qui etes aux cieux" i.e. "Our Father, who are in Heaven" etc...?

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[quote user="5-element"]I had to google Nicene Creed[:'(],

is it "Notre Pere, qui etes aux cieux" i.e. "Our Father, who are in Heaven" etc...?[/quote]

It's an affirmation of faith common to (most / all ? ) christian faiths, which was agreed on at the Council of Nicaea (Conseil  de Nicée) a long time ago.

It starts with "We believe in one God, the Father..."

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It's...

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

According to the Catholic site I copied that from it is central to the Catholic faith but widely used by all branches of Christianity including Orthodox and Protestant churches. So it doesn't seem too controversial, unless you are trying to bring your child up under a totally different set of beliefs.

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I'm surprised that Rumzigal's son has been taught this in school. I learned something very similar for to that when I was confirmed in the Church of England. It certainly wasn't taught in school.

I suppose it depends what you mean by "learned". Did he have to learn it by heart SB ?

Hoddy
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Well, brought up as a non-practicing Catholic, I obviously didn't know about the Nicene Creed. 

I never came across it in the state French schools that I attended - even though it was quite a while ago, it was after the 4th century!

The things one learns on this forum![:)]

Edit: now I think I know what it is: it used to be called "le Credo"...but am pretty sure I never had to learn it at school.

Rumzigal, maybe your son's school is unusual, and has a staunch Catholic head?

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[quote user="RumziGal"]

- If schools are secular, how come they get taught the Nicene Creed?

- Why do sports teachers still teach them to do sit-ups with their legs out straight?

- What have they got against computers?  In 4ème (age 13-14) they do a bit of "computing" in Techno, i.e. how to open, edit, and save a Microsoft Word file. [blink] Yes, really, that is ALL!  Otherwise they're a complete no-no.

- Why do the government keep cutting educational posts?

- Why do the teaching staff not really care?   The yearly strikes are just part of everyone's expectations now, and make no difference to anything, especially considering how few teachers actually strike.

[/quote]

Its always a problem teaching about sex, politics and religion.  Or

even talking about them at dinner parties.  Hard to get the balance

right.  If your kid learned a couple of sutras, the Four Noble Truths, the

Eightfold Path, and what is the Middle Way AND a couple of chapters from the

Koran, the Five Pillars of Islam, the actual meaning of jihad and what the

difference was between Sunni, Sufi and Shia, then I guess you can't complain

about the Nicene Creed.  If he or she did not learn about those other

religions, maybe even doing a little meditation, then I think you have every

right to complain.

For that matter why do they not teach crunches instead?

The French, in general, are way behind in most computer teaching and provision. 

When I learned that there were about 200 computers at the University in

Montpellier, for maybe 20,000 arts and science students, I got the general

idea.  They really are way behind.  Some get the good stuff, most

don't.

Why do they keep cutting nearly everything and selling it off to private firms

who cut even more.  The answer is that they are learning to join the

modern world, where the market and money determines all.  Fortunately

there are areas of resistance and public services are not completely privatised

and chopped.  And if they cut, they can cut taxes for the rich and even

the well-off classes, so they can consume more privately.  Its not just

teachers, its also the support staff.

As for teachers who don't care, I wonder if that is a peculiar French

problem.  Would anyone say that British schools are full of teachers who

care.  Some do, some don't.  Like plumbers and lawyers and bank

clerks. 

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I'm a bit confused about the Nicene Creed; I've never heard of it being taught in a french school. As tourangelle says, there are things in the history/French programme that may surprise people (and lead to letters of complaints from parents every year) Pupils have to study "founding texts" in 6eme which include an extract from the old testament. The 6eme history programme is ancient civilizations; Romans, greeks, Hebrews.....So they learn about all those religions and study an extract from an important text for each of them. The 5eme programme is the moyen age. The do Islam and medieval Christianity. That's the only place I could think of them doing the Nicene Creed, but I'm pretty certain it's not in the manuels (I'll check later- our 5eme manuels are all on the balcony) Once they get to the 4eme, they will be expected to study (and learn?) the declaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen.

Replacements; Tourangelle has said it. In secondary schools, you have to be signed off for more than 2 weeks in one go (i.e. If you're signed off for one week and then 10 more days it won't count) before the rectorat will find you a replacement. Otherwise the school is expected to find replacements among the teachers. This short term replacement system is new and it's not working well at all. Primary schools have a system teachers who can be called in at very litle notice but there aren't many of these. My daughter has no teacher tomorrow which the school has known about for oer a month, but we've still been told that if we send her in, she'll go into repartition. (as an aside tourangelle- the new laws don't say anywhere that we wil be forced to teach subjests we haven't been trained for, that's typical SNES exageration. The only thing you have is the new -optional- addition to the CAPES which allows you to take a subsiduary subject which you can teach as well. If you do more than a certain number of hours in that subject, you get paid more)

I don't want to even think about educational cuts. My school has the same amount of pupils as last year and the same amount of teacher hours, it's just that more than 30 of those hours now have to be used for non subject teaching things like IDDs. Meaning all the subject hours are down to their lowest legal limit. They've also given us so many overtime hours compared to teacher hours that nearly every subject has a teacher who will have to work in another school while the other teachers in the same subject have to do overtime (in fact I will be teaching in another school and doing overtime- neither of which I have chosen)

Computers; They cost money and not everybody knows how to use them. We've been told we have to validate the B2I by using computers in our lessons. But nobody could tell us how the pupils were supposed to get the original computer skills we're supposed to be using (not teaching, using) or how to deal with the fact that you have 28 pupils in a room with 15 computers, only 10 of which work....

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Mistral - A neighbor has told me that the Ministry of Education is considering cutting out the Sports programs in College and Lycee.  Have you heard this?  Is this just rumor, or are they actually considering this?

 

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No, as far as I know, there are no moves to cut sports classes.

BUT some of the propositions for the new Brevet have suggested that certain "core" subjects should be obligatory and others should become optional. The teachers of all the non core subjects are wondering what that would mean for them if it ever happened. Sport is one of them.

Even more worrying is the fact that there is a gradual move to use the hours sports teachers now have for UNSS as teaching hours during the rest of the week. This won't have an effect on sports teaching as such but it will mean that the Wednesday afternoon clubs will slowly diminish and disapear. Already, at my school, one teacher will have to do this next year which means that there will be one less club (one less sport) on offer on Wednesdays. This is important because the UNSS is cheaper than any other sports club and because a lot of teenage girls join the UNSS rather than go to an outside club.

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Mistral, it is not just the mention complémentaire, it will probably never concern you as you are in a poste fixe, but for a TZR like me it means that if they can't find me enough hours in English, then they can either suggest I do something else, or they can send me out of my zone.  I'd get to chose, lucky me.  So no, they couldn't make me teach something I don't know how to teach, but they could send me practically to Switzerland for a couple of hours.  I don't know which would be worse.  And you don't get paid more or anything.

Sorry to everybody else who wont have understood this.

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It is time and again suggested that people therefore are sent where they don't want to go, and do a minimum working week in consequence.  It's simply not true.  A small number of people, who are not married or otherwise attached end up in the Paris suburbs for a couple of years. 

Sorry to have quoted you Tourangelle, but this last post of yours shows the pouvoir of the education nationale which they will use if they feel the need. Titulaires ofcourse benefit in all sorts of ways, they will usually be on better salaries due to anciennete. So the worst off can get messed around more and it cost them a lot to get to work......... . what a nightmare it would be for you if they sent you off to Annemasse for a few lessons a week.

 

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[quote user="Just Katie "]

[quote user="Tourangelle"]

Sorry to everybody else who wont have understood this.

[/quote]

Wont have understood?  Hope you don't teach English[:D]

[/quote]

Anything to rake up those posts, eh?

Teamed up, the thing is, I am "titulaire", but of a zone rather than a post.  And you're absolutely right, Annemasse would be pretty bad, as would Fernay Voltaire, Bellegarde...  stuff of my nightmares.  [:'(]

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