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teacher retires


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This morning the CM2 teacher at our local primary school retired. As a surprise many of his old pupils crowded into his classroom after the morning break instead of his usual class. He was moved to tears to see all these old faces. He spoke movingly about how great his life had been, to have his family & all his teaching career at that school. He arrived in 1969 having always wanted to be a teacher (& with a twinkle in his eye said he was fresh from the "evenements de soixante-huit")! Several of his class of 1972 were able to be there. My son (19) had 5 of his year there too.
I mention this because having read the recent discussions in the Culture section on Original Thought, & in fact many references to the rote learning practised in French schools, well M. Krop certainly did not fall into that category! Our town (& all my kids) were blessed to be influenced by such a man. At one rentree parents meeting, in answer to why he didn't set much homework, he said that 10 year olds were at the most inquisitive time of their lives & he wanted them to spend their free time discovering things that he had suggested they try - his goal was to encourage an "esprit d'ouverture sur le monde". He'd challenge the other teachers too, if they didn't see things his way.
Every Friday afternoon he'd take the class on a 10km hike in all weathers, which would encompass nature, geography, history & physical exercise in one go. We always had to ensure the kids wore their oldest clothes because they'd come back filthy !
But he taught French grammar & Maths well too, & marked hard to prepare them for the difficulties of college in advance. My kids regularly got zeros in dictees but he didn't mind - he said that things would improve later (which they did). When he tried to encourage my daughter at Maths (not her favourite subject) he said simply "il faut oser".
Every year he'd take the class to the South of England for 2 weeks, so my kids had the joys of visiting Hastings, Brighton, the Tower of London, Greenwich, Big Ben & Sainsbury's with him. Afterwards there'd always be an evening for parents to show their class work done there, & a photomontage. His favourite photos were always of London buses, red postboxes, policemen, semidetached houses and kids in school uniform (that amused him the most!!) He was very excited the first year they were able to travel through the tunnel.
His style reminded me very much of the Gerard Klein character in L'Instit - not sure if it's still on French TV but it was a programme we always liked watching.
So I wish him a long & happy retirement, & hope that there are others like him out there, & that your kids will benefit from someone like him at some point in their school life.
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Yes a lovely story. In the 6 years that my children have been at school here we have seen some very nice teachers retire who are caring and totally dedicated. In fact my eldest girls CM2 teacher retires tomorrow when the school holidays start also. We, (well Mrs Punch actually) has been asked to make one of her celebrated Victoria sponges as a going away "goute" for the morning session.
I suppose maybe we've been lucky to find such lovely schools and indeed the teachers too, compared to some others experiences here, although in defence I would say that we have make a concerted effort to integrate in many different ways and get involved more than most of the parents which I'm sure has made a big difference to their present schooling to date.

Evaluations have all come back good today and neither of them need to "double up" next year which is of course the big fear!



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