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Return to highschool

Like many other teachers, 332,850 according to the latest figures listed by National Education, Stéphane, Vanessa and Sébastien returned to school in September 2022. They are passionate, they talk about the profession, but listening to them we feel them leaving from the ship.

Stephen, 40, has been a school teacher in Colmar, Alsace, for fifteen years. In June 2022, its CM1-CM2 class was formed. As the weeks passed, the number of students, originally set at 24, increased. Until September 20, 2022, when Stéphane and two other teachers from the school had to disperse the students of a class that found itself without a teacher. The teacher had announced her departure for training in May and had not been replaced for the start of the 2022 school year.

“The logic is to save money by recruiting as few people as possible, to the detriment of teachers’ health.” Stephen

Stéphane finds himself with 38 students in his class. “I have to change the arrangement of the tables and chairs so that I can bring everyone. The children are all huddled together, they can’t move.”

The teacher must also modify his teaching methods, abandoning group work for the classical method of teaching recited by the teacher. He finds himself with such a burden that his personal life is affected.

“I am afraid that one day I will end up exploding in flight, unable to do everything that is asked of me, unable to bear the fatigue anymore.” Stephen




28 min

Professor of Biotechnology at the Bordeaux Academy, VanessaThe 29-year-old also has other difficulties. After teaching for two years in the Paris region as a custodian, she was granted the status of “custodian in a substitute area” at the beginning of the 2021 school year.

“I can be called overnight to go and do a replacement away from my house. It could be a three-day replacement, two weeks or it could be a six-month replacement.” Vanessa

“Since 2021, I have been called once to do a substitute for six hours spread over two weeks and another time for the diploma exams. It’s been two years since I did my job, I’ve been forgotten. Vanessa

When she follows her inspector, he replies that there are no vacancies, no absent professors, and that she must wait. Despite this, Vanessa receives a salary of 1,800 euros per month.

“I’m not even 30 years old, I don’t have children and I still haven’t had enough work to do something else on the side. I really want to be in front of students and teach.” Vanessa

“When I hear colleagues who are overcrowded with classes of 30 students, it amazes me. Why not split the class in half and assign two teachers?” Vanessa




28 min

Sebastian37 years old, has been a graphic designer and adjunct professor in applied arts at the Créteil Academy for four years.

“When you decide to be contractual in National Education, you go to the academy’s website and fill out a file. In general, they call you three days before the start of the school year, ask you three questions and then tell you: “Look, you have been assigned to such a school. You will start next week.” And then that’s all…” Sebastian

In each new school year, Sébastien is assigned to a new high school. “There is no pedagogical follow-up. I appear in the students’ lives for a year and leave.”

The teacher is divided between the connection he feels for the students and discouragement in front of the “National Education machinery”.

“I feel like I’m being thrown into the middle of the ocean in a canoe every time, and then I get on with it, I paddle.” Sebastian

Thanks to Stéphane, Vanessa and Sébastien.

  • Reporter: Alice Babin
  • Directed by: Emily Vallat
  • Mixing: Romain Lenoir

Ending Music: Pale Blue by Basia Bulat

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