In French society, there’s a misguided perception about teachers. For every six or seven weeks of school, we get a two-week holiday, as well as getting a long summer vacation – people see teaching as easy. The holidays are definitely a perk, but school days are extremely long. And, like in the UK, teachers work after school and on weekends.
It feels as if we’re constantly having to defend ourselves every time someone asks what our job is. I wish that parents would recognise teacher contributions and be more respectful. Children are very smart and pick up on the attitude that parents project towards teachers. Respectful parents would lead to respectful students.
I teach English at Lycée Sainte-Marie de Nevers in Toulouse, and there’s nothing like seeing students who could barely string a few words together in English before speak to you fluently by the end of the year.
When a student does appreciate and value you, it makes it all worthwhile. Last year, on their last day, a group of students thanked me for not only teaching them the English language, but also for teaching them how to treat people and how to take action against the injustices occurring around us.
Rahavie Ravi is an English teacher at Lycée Sainte-Marie de Nevers in Toulouse, France