January 31, 2023

Odile, 30 years of kindergarten

Mistress of school ... a dream for many little girls. Was it yours too?
I remember that as soon as I knew how to read, I discovered books about black Africa at my grandmother's. These books fascinated me and I had only one idea in mind: to teach the class to African children. As a teenager, I forgot about this project, and it was only after the baccalaureate that the idea of ​​teaching came back to me.

How did your debut take place?
It was in the 70s, I started as a substitute and then there was the opening of a school kindergarten in this village of Yvelines in 1977 ... where I am still, thirty years later!

In thirty years, have children changed?
Yes. They are more and more solicited by TV, games ... their sound environment is louder than before. When I talk to them, I have to do it by specifying their first name, otherwise, my voice is part of the ambient noise and they do not feel concerned by my words. They are less attentive than before.

How do you explain that ?
I think their parents work harder, and by guilt, conscious or not, they spoil them more at weekends. What makes children have done more than thirty years ago! On the other hand, they feel much more awake. They are also more autonomous, more curious and more open.

For its part, has the school also changed?
Of course. National Education now provides specific programs for specific classes. I find it a shame not to be able to keep up with the pace of the little ones, but there is so much to learn! If we could have classes of 15 students, rather than 30, 32, that would be ideal. Because we often have to press children and it breaks my heart. Parents do not have the same expectations of teaching as thirty years ago. They have less time to give their little ones education, and want them to learn everything about them.school. Reading, calculating ... just as making the knots of their lace or buttoning their vest! Moms who worked in the 70s were much rarer than today. There was also no canteen, all children lunched at home.

Have you ever taught in other classes?
Yes, in CE1, CM1, CM2 ... but I prefer kindergartens. The program is less strict, I can bring a little creativity. We need to raise awareness children on a bunch of domains, we create together a thousand and one things. What I like the most is this path to discovery.

Are girls and boys already different at this age? 
Yes, even if the differences diminish later. But the girls love to draw, while boys are more in the building. They have more trouble doing two things at the same time, so that is not a problem for them. girls.

Is it difficult to like all your students in the same way?
I always manage to find them endearing, even to the most dispelled. Teach for a long time in the same school is very nice, because I see some of my former students and I even had the girl of one of them in class!

Which aspect do you like least in this profession?
Maybe having to repeat things constantly, but that's part of learning.

And what motivates you the most?
The spontaneity of children, as well as the confidence they give us from the start. No adult can do that. This job is part of me. I never came back to work. Classroom children seems to me so natural ... that I still do not make the link between the salary I earn and my days spent at their side!

Turner's First Grade Rising (January 2023)