“What is a meritorious teacher?”

« Can I distribute the copies, sir? » « No, no, I’m in “. Aware of the handling of a highly flammable substance, I take sole responsibility. The moment is solemn, the atmosphere in the class tense. I make a little joke just to downplay the moment, the teenagers are waiting for it:” do you know the rule “In the choir:” Yes Mr » « The heavier the stack of copies, the worse the grades “. I take the package, give it to a random boy who pretends he can’t lift it. The 5th plays the game, a forest of weapons rises. Everyone wants to try to extract Excalibur from my hands. I repeat the Operation two, three times, the students imitate the helpless knights perfectly, none of them take on the role of Arthur Pendragon.Finally, lift, lift, I lift the copies very high, as I often do.The overall rating is good.

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It was a knowledge test, one of those pre-announced little evaluations. No surprises. Academics are reassured they were a hit. Others, less diligent, caught up with the branches of their memories or general knowledge and saved the furniture, and then a small group did not succeed for various reasons: no work of their own, problems of understanding varied and diverse, momentary lull due to “ family difficulties sometimes there really is no cause. Failing a test in a school career happens to everyone. Cheer up, we learn from these mistakes, don’t we? A little word for you: Come on, keep trying », « Stay as close to average as possible, don’t lose weight », « Sign in for homework done [le dispositif d’aide aux devoirs sur base de volontariat] You will work more calmly “. Evaluate is to be nervous, not to overestimate to avoid disappointment at the end of third year or in high school, not to be discouraged to keep up a little motivation. Be as fair as possible and cultivate a collective working spirit , because if the grades are individual, the class climate conducive to everyone’s progress is a group construction.

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« Sir, I’m missing a point A. likes to keep accounts. He looks like Harry Potter but if” it is average He is a Crédit Agricole advisor and pulls out the Fissa calculator. For my part, I tell you that the scene reminds me of Flemish painting the lender and his wife by Quentin Metsys. “ No, A., you even have 13.75, which I rounded up to 14 ». « But on this question you gave B. 1, but not me ». « But B. added that it is the percentage of the world population, not you, that changes the meaning of your answer “. The same haggling if we note by skill: ” Why is my dot orange and not green when I answered the same question two months ago and turned green? » « As new skills are expected of you as the quarters progress, take a look at your skill description (a reading frame). The assessment is complex and each teacher is aware of the limitations of the exercise, which is why we focus more on looking at the overall development of the student, which therefore involves a multitude of parameters.

The American example

« So are you a good teacher or a bad teacher? Do you deserve your raise? “. Speaking of evaluation… a colleague from SVT mockingly greets everyone who enters the staff room with this little question. Between the coffee machine and the photocopier, the explanations of the presidential candidates about the school are apparently being commented on. And we hear (again) about “Merit Pay”. The The term is vague and tends to make a connection between “the teacher’s individual merit” and the results of his students.The experiment has already been tried on a large scale, particularly in the US.

. With no conclusive results, it has been largely abandoned. On the other hand, American colleagues receive higher “incentive” bonuses than in Europe, based on very objective criteria that are determined in consultation with union representatives.

For example, a Tennessee teacher who agrees to teach a subject with a shortage of staff or an area where work is more difficult will be paid (much) better. This already exists in France for certain criteria. Colleagues who teach, for example, in REP or REP+ (Priority Education Network) have an annual bonus, as do those who agree to be “head teachers”. If it seems unthinkable here just to pay math teachers better, we might as well start topping up any colleagues who agree to become “principal teachers” because it’s a real work overload. Or those involved in creating an educational project. Currently, many clubs or school trips are run or organized on a voluntary basis.

class meritocracy In any case, the problems of the school are not related to the individual “merit” of one or the other, they are more of a structural nature. Our education system perpetuates inequalities instead of fighting them, it’s a meritocracy of grades and now of skills, of the future capabilities

in companies where those who have the codes have always fared very well. Difficult students often remain so throughout their course, and their children afterwards. The diagnosis was fully made. We know that there is a very strong connection between the social environment and academic success. It is a whole and the school, like the police, the judicial system or the hospital, is a repository for many of the ills of society.

In highlighting the merits of teachers, do we look on the bright side? What is a meritorious teacher anyway? Let’s say a struggling student, one of those topping the country’s PISA rankings, has become something of an alpha and omega, manages to make ends meet and enters qualifying education. Who gets the credit? For him he is initially the main actor, but still? A techno teacher who introduced him to the software? A math colleague who reconciled him with the subject or a music colleague who opened up a cultural horizon for him? One of his teachers who gave him a solid foundation? A CPE, a director taking him between four eyes to get him back on track? A high-ranking official from the rectorate, an inspector who spotted good practice somewhere and wanted to pass on the experience? To a prevention educator, a boss during a career discovery course? His family ?

When did the child click? Because successful are the kids for whom school makes sense and who have confidence in a future. It is risky to link student success to the individual merits of teachers or institutions, and ultimately to staff salaries. It’s about taking the risk of creating false progressions because nothing is more manipulable than stats. The temptation will be great to become a Stakhanov teacher in the Potemkin school, window dressing. As the book tells

Paying teachers according to merit (Syllepse, 2008) by Alain Chaptal, Thomas Lemarche and Romuald Normand.

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