we participated in “job dating” to become a contract teacher

Baccalaureate for the hour at Alfred-Kastler High School in Pontoise (Val-d’Oise). “Tuesday 31 May: recruitment day”, we can read on a poster pasted on the schedule. Colored bags under the arm, dozens of candidates succeed each other in the corridors of the establishment, not to obtain a diploma, but to, without passing a competition, become a teacher, teacher or even school nurse. A large-scale selection organized by the Academy of Versailles, which needs about 1,300 contract employees before the start of the 2022 school year.

To participate in this speed dating professional, you had to get up early. Slots offered online by the Academy of Versailles “was booked very quickly” an employee repeats to the candidates who are standing in front of the reception in droves. Disappointed people can still talk to teachers and make an appointment. For those who have registered, the rest will take place in the hall of the school, where the candidates will wait before being received for an interview lasting about half an hour. Faces are tense and many sighs of relief are heard as the candidates – mostly women – leave the halls decorated for the occasion.

During her break, Laureline, Education Consultant, agrees to give us a fictitious interview, for a position in CM1 or CM2. The CV and the covering letter are mandatory and the threshold on the diploma side is at bac+3 level. “In a second step, we check your background and your criminal record”she assures. A series of increasingly precise questions arise. “Why are you coming today? What interests you in primary school?”, she asks calmly. The design of the school, the workload, the field of study: the themes follow one another. “How do you deal with a student who is not paying attention or who disrupts the lesson?asks the advisor. Can a child be punished? If so, how?”. Before energetically deciding on the school teacher’s two essential missions: “Teaching of course, but above all ensuring the physical and emotional safety of the student”.

Laureline G., member of the jury at the recruitment day for the Academy of Versailles in Pontoise (Val-d'Oise), May 31, 2022. (PIERRE-LOUIS CARON / FRANCEINFO)

“We come looking for a state of mind and a way to represent things that correspond to the teacher’s roleshe explains, when the interview is over. If someone tells us that a disruptor should be banned immediately, we will question him about it. We strive for benevolent attitudes, because in the end there is the student.” Laureline describes these interviews as a: “first sort”“I check the profiles but also the expectations of the candidates, she explains, some are in retraining and have very specific ideas about teaching.”

If the jury and then a committee approves, the Versailles Academy promises prompt responses and recruitment before July. “Candidates are trained on levels, programs, classroom management, Laureline assures, back for her interrogation room, but we must first check that they are well formed.” The question of salary remains, “who doesn’t come back so often” the pedagogical advisor is almost surprised. The salaries of contract workers are determined by a roster that takes into account their degree, and that starts at around 2,000 euros gross for a full-time job at the Academy of Versailles. They have to wait six years of cooperation to claim a permanent position

The crossover continues in the corridors of the school. Marie-Caroline, 46, packs a punch after finishing her interview. “I could have prepared a lot of things, so I think it went well”believes the one who works as a companion students with disabilities (AESH) for six years. “I’ve always had the fiber of teaching, so I told myself I had my chances, she explains, with a determined smile. There is a wall between the professions I want to cross.”

Marie-Caroline, 46, participant in

Three months before the start of the school year, Marie-Caroline still has the impression to come “fill a gap” emergency. “I am aware that if we organize these types of operations, it is because there have been a lot of layoffs.”she says, it is a sign that National Education is in crisis somewhere. If selected, however, she hopes to become a replacement, “a great opportunity to train” according to her, because the two weeks of theoretical training promised to contract workers seems to her “a little limited”

Being sufficiently prepared for work is also what keeps Paul, 25 years old, fitted shirt and concentrated face, on his mind as he approaches his mouth. “Certainly, I’m afraid to be let loose in the deep, he breathes. Even though I have experience with the youngest, I hope to have someone I can turn to if needed” Guardians or advisors, for example, who the young man… “more comfortable” faced with the prospect of a school year. Paul, a notarial law graduate, is one of the private sector profiles who, according to the examiners, came to try their luck that day. “After I was accepted for a study, I finally left this field, he says. I prefer people over profitability.”

Paul, 25, graduated in notarial law, plans to enter education to find a job

Paul would prefer to teach in high school, “to sophomores” More precisely. “I seek intellectual exchange, to push the reflection further”, he confides. By getting a contract, the young man mainly hopes to improve to the C . to wincertificate of proficiency in teaching secondary education (Capes) in history and geography, which he first failed several months ago. A status that would enable him to become a holder, and thus be paid as such. Does he also have the impression that he is coming to fill a void? “Not necessarily, because I have a specific project, he makes clear, but it amazes me that people who follow the classical curriculum do not pass the teacher competition, or resign a year later. In addition to recruiting, we also need to look at the training system.”

At the exit of the school, a banner placed the same morning by a teacher from the establishment contrasts with the playful atmosphere of this recruitment day. On the banner is a message painted in red and black letters: “job dating, uncertainty of National Education”† A fear that the professors present that day say they understand. “It is true that there is a higher turnover risk, because despite our best efforts there will inevitably be disappointments,” for example, explains Benjamin, a 28-year-old teacher, who went through the contract box himself. “There are already cancellations among students who have passed the competitions (to learn), so imagine for people in retraining. A child is not like a colleague”he makes clear.

A banner displayed during the recruitment day of the Academy of Versailles in Pontoise (Val-d'Oise), May 31, 2022. (PIERRE-LOUIS CARON / FRANCEINFO)

One scenario in particular is feared by those involved in education: that of a systematic shortage of teachers, more of whom would leave the ship every year. This would accentuate the use of contract workers and possibly de job datinga practice that challenges some teacher unions, such as SE-Unsa, who attended Alfred-Kastler high school that day. “It sends a special signal to graduates, they should not tell themselves that their profession can be practiced by everyone, fears a militant. What we are asking for is better support for contract workers and measures to make education more attractive, from training to salary.

Contacted by franceinfo, the academy of Versailles welcomes its campaign in any case. “We chose to attack and it worked much better than we thought” says the headmaster, Charline Avenel. Faced with the enthusiasm, the slots were doubled to accommodate 2,000 people in four days. According to the rector, this high number of candidates makes it possible to “high quality recruitment”. A good point given to job dating, which is likely to develop despite criticism from the unions. After the Academy of Toulouse in March and that of Versailles, “several other rectorates are completely seduced by the idea and have to get to work”we elude the organizers of the recruitment in Pontoise.

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