Improvisation, “unbearable stress”… The hassle of contract teachers recruited for the start of the school year

3:45 p.m., September 21, 2022

Twenty primary schools. This is the number of schools in which Pauline has worked – the first name has been changed -, since her debut as a contract teacher in 2017. ” I happened to work with four different levels in the same week “says the one who had already had experience as a teacher in a high school in Algeria before putting her career on hold for several years to raise her children. ” The school year I started working again, I had a class for young and old on Monday and Tuesday, a CP class on Thursday and a CE2 class on Friday, in three different schools “, she lists. A comeback ” stressful ” shared by several contractual teachers sometimes discovering their assignment only a few days before the start of the school year.

At first it’s complicated, we know it overnight “, explains Vivien Teste, contractual since 2015 within the academy of Toulouse. This Spanish teacher, on a permanent contract since January after having accumulated the necessary six years of experience by chaining contracts, has become a contract worker by choice.

Contract workers who have not always received theoretical training

Vivien Teste, graduate of a master’s degree in teaching professions, received theoretical training before starting. But this is not the case for all contract workers, who are more and more numerous in the face of the shortage of teachers. Thus, 4,500 have been recruited for the start of the 2022 academic year, for a general total of around 35,000 contract workers. This represents “ 1% of enrollments in primary education and 6.5 to 8% of enrollments in secondary education “, declared the Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, on September 12 on France info

Everything had to be improvised. In the beginning, I had sleepless nights and I worked every weekend

In her professional high school located in Arcachon, Laurence Colin, principal and deputy secretary general of the National Union of National Education Management Staff (SNPDEN), has 8 contract employees out of 82 teachers, which represents 10% of its workforce. . Among them, only one teacher was making his very first return to school in front of students this year. “ We do not put new contract employees in front of students from day oneshe assures. We leave them two days off, so that they can observe colleagues and see the programs a bit. We are vigilant, the door is always open, at the slightest concern, they can come to see usr”.

With late assignments, the early days of contract teachers are often synonymous with improvisation. “ I was unprepared because I didn’t know what class I was going to be in “recalls Pauline about her first comeback, five years ago. ” Everything had to be improvised. In the beginning, I worked sleepless nights and worked every weekend. At the time, we had training on Wednesdays but I still had to train myself. You had to read all the programs and adapt them to the level of the students “, she remembers again.

When you don’t know what class you’re going to have or what classes to prepare, it plunges you into an unbearable state of stress

For two years, the teacher devoted herself totally to her work in order to adapt to different situations: ” I prepared exercises for each level. Then when I was called I was ready to start. »

Contract workers are assigned at the beginning of September with all the haste and stress that this generates “, deplores Caroline – the first name has been changed –, who resigned from her post as full professor of National Education to carry out a professional retraining. ” When you’re just starting out and you don’t know what class you’re going to have or what classes to prepare, it puts you in an unbearable state of stress. It’s a very scary situation », Explains the one who, after a break of several months, made the choice to use the status of part-time contractual teacher. A work “ eating », in order to finance his personal projects.

Human resources problems and too rapid training

Some contract workers, who are more seasoned, try to anticipate their assignment. But this is often an obstacle course. ” I sent my CV in mid-June to the Toulouse Academy in order to be sure of having a job in early September “, explains Caroline who had to relaunch the rectorate all summer before ending up soliciting the establishments directly. After three months of waiting, the French teacher finally landed a part-time job on the eve of the start of the school year. A relief.

Looking for a job yourself is also the method used by Vivien Teste for several years in order to ” to anticipate in relation to the rectorate which sometimes has trouble managing everything “. “ Indeed, there is often only one manager for one or more disciplineshe points out. I contacted the various establishments in the sectors that suited me to get information and possibly get a good job. “.

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Finding a job does not necessarily imply being well prepared for it. This year, some rectorates offered four days of express training to new contract teachers before the start of the school year. ” It’s not in four days that you can learn to prepare lessons and manage a class, it’s too fast “, denounces Vivien Teste.

When you’re in trouble, it’s better to stop, even if it means going to do something else

Last year, there was training for the holders but the contract workers were excludedregrets for his part Pauline. I couldn’t do any even though I was in a REP + zone(priority education network) “. After several years of experience, the school teacher recognizes this: some contract workers are sometimes sidelined and not necessarily integrated into communication with the teachers in their school. But this ” depends on establishments “, she nuances.

There is a follow updefends the principal Laurence Colin. In the first year, a project manager comes to see [les contractuels] in the first trimester. If there are any worries or doubts, he goes back to the second trimester. We then take stock with them of the training and support needs, if we have to assign them a tutor in the establishment.. »

Some contract workers discovering teaching on the job sometimes give up their post a few weeks after their arrival. ” I find it brave to stop and tell yourself that you’re not cut out for this job », assures Laurence Colin for whom, « when you are in difficulty, it is better to stop, even if it means having a real training by passing the competition or going to do something else “.

Improvisation, “unbearable stress”… The hassle of contract teachers recruited for the start of the school year