Today, the mobility of full-time professors in the national education system is about 1% and has never been so low. The rejected teachers are in the process of appealing, but they have few illusions because it becomes very difficult to change assignments.
Every Monday morning since last September, Louise leaves her four-year-old daughter in tears. It’s time for her to take the train and go to work 200 km from home, in Brittany. This French teacher has two other children, ages 8 and 10, and a husband she doesn’t see for a week. She had to live next to her school at the Academy of Nantes and pays for the care of her three children, travel and housing.
“In transport, it costs me from 150 to 200 euros per month”she explains “then I have to find accommodation, food, warmth and, above all, I have to look after my children. And this is really very expensive for me, because I have three children who are in elementary school. Every evening they study from an hour to half a day and two hours of day care My spouse happens to be a single father with three children He has a professional job, he has already adjusted his schedule significantly due to my absence for a week, but he has incompressible restrictions on his side, which means that my children attend kindergarten every day and for many hours.”
I don’t see how my children grow up, it seems to me that I live a double life. (…) We cannot accept what is unacceptable.
She quickly calculated:When I remove all my expenses, I will now work for 600 euros a month. Does 600 euros a month justify the absence of children? To not see them? Skip childhood? Fortunately, there is technology that allows us to call each other so that we can see each other a little thanks to video conferences, but nothing can replace the real presence. I don’t see how my children grow up, it seems to me that I live a double life. Even if I love my job, it becomes a difficult choice because we cannot accept what is unacceptable.”
The lowest level of mobility
Louise became a teacher after professional retraining, a job she chose out of passion: “When I passed the competition, I had enough points for the Rennes Academy. I could not imagine that the situation would change in a few years.” His request to transfer to the Academy of Rennes has just been denied. “This is one of the most sought-after academies in metropolitan France”she notes, and especially in her discipline.
“This year I had a better chance of getting a full-time study in Paris, for example, than at the academy of Rennes, which is still pretty crazy! Usually face-to-face study in Paris is a really inaccessible area. Know that many of us love it. The Academy of Rennes is a dream that is fading because it is also an academy where we continue to cut posts.”
Reducing a post of the second degree does reduce the chances of getting a transfer. The level of teacher mobility is declining and has never been so low. Approximately 3,500 school teachers were granted this year, with over 17,462 inquiries from 358,000 primary teachers. Even academies that have not been very attractive so far are becoming increasingly difficult to integrate. For example, for two years, Clermont-Ferrand demanded more points due to lack of positions.
“We need a lot more points. This is unheard of in Clermont.”says Anne-Sophie, who hasn’t received the transfer she asked for for two years. This English teacher is assigned to the Academy of Limoges, more specifically to Creuse, two and a half hours from her home. With two small children, two and four years old, she asked about availability and teaches on a fixed-term contract at the university. “Despite two master’s degrees and my CAPES, I work under a contract for 1470 euros per month for 24-26 hours of classes per week for students. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in September 2022.”
family or career
Louise is also surprised: “Next year I don’t know if I’ll still be teaching because I don’t want to choose between my family and my professional career. I think my family is suffering too much this year, so I’m thinking of applying for the position. Sadly, today I would choose any unskilled job near me, I would earn more. It would be much less intellectual for me than teaching, but at least I would see my children.”
Some colleagues settled where they teach, some put their personal lives at risk, eventually separated and see their children only on weekends.
“It’s sad to come to this”she regrets “but this is a question I ask myself very seriously. In my institution, many of us ask about the nearby Academy of Rennes. A number of colleagues have resigned and eventually settled where they teach, but some have compromised their privacy, they they ended up going their separate ways and only seeing their kids on the weekends, which has dramatic consequences for the staff.”
Coralie held on, but at what cost? This school teacher in Orne asked for eight years to transfer her to Calvados, where her husband works and where she comes from. She just realized. “I cried with joyshe said, laughing nervously,To be honest, I did not expect at all, I thought that it would be unavailable, given that in previous years, very few teachers were able to return to this department. I was told that all the locks were closed. There are also many trainees coming to this department, there are many people to be accommodated.“.
Equality but not equality
When Coralie passed the 2014 School Teacher Competition, she asked for Calvados as her first choice, Manche second, Orne third. Based on her ranking, she received the third choice, Orne. Her husband had just received a permanent contract and had to stay no more than an hour at his workplace in Calvados. So the couple decided to settle in the south of Caen, and Coralee traveled back and forth.
In her first year, she drove 240 km every day to get to school. Little by little she tried to get closer and this year, despite this, she still travels 120 km a day. When she learned that her transfer application for the next school year had been accepted,it was a relief”she said, “It is much easier and more pleasant to find yourself a few kilometers from home, not burden yourself with the road and tell yourself that there is still an hour ahead, in the morning or after class.”
The teacher admits that the scoring system seems very objective: “Everything is on an equal footing,” she reasons, “but it’s not fair. When I see certain requests from my single colleagues, for example, who don’t necessarily have reconciliation spouses who aren’t married or in PACS, but who live together for a few years… They don’t earn as many points as married or PACS people, and in a way it’s unfair to them because they see married people passing by when their demands are just as legitimate.”
On Saturday, Emmanuel Macron promised at a meeting that teachers would, if re-elected, “career free”. They will “free to choose an institution for their unique educational project and exempt from geographic movements that sometimes place them under house arrest”.