On November 3, a young teacher, Mathieu Côté-Desjardins launched a new web series: De-education. She mixes cartoon and interviews with pedagogues, teachers, public figures. This series shoots point blank at the Quebec school system. Infobourg spoke with Mathieu Côté-Desjardins. Here is the first of the two parts of this interview.
Infobourg: Mr. Côté-Desjardins, how would you describe yourself as a teacher?
Mathieu Côté-Desjardins: First and foremost, I am unconditionally at the service of the student. The most important thing is respect for their needs and rights. I have developed a lot my emotional quotient, that is to say the sense of what the child needs. I no longer take de-education seriously. I have taken another step, I am lighter and more detached.
You are a substitute teacher. How do you go about bonding with kids you don't see often?
Intensity serves me a lot. I am a teacher who favors the relationship with the young. I try to offer him what he doesn't often have: a smile, hold the door for him. Generosity and availability are important. I spend breaks and dinner hours with the children. The vocation is there, at the level of the child, not at the level of the school system.
In the webisode on teacher training, a speaker criticizes the university for its lack of vision for education. What's your vision?
My vision has been built over time, I am rather self-taught. The child is at the center of my vision, not just thrown in the air like in school curricula. I believe in grasping the importance and the value of youth. We think we like them when we don't listen to them. Respect is hardly present today.
What do you think the role of school should be?
This is a question to which I no longer have an answer. The structure today is too closed, too rigid. School must be a “humanizing” source, bringing joy to life. However, school is not the only pole that makes children grow up. There is family and society. It is necessary to talk about it. During election campaigns, we never talk about education.
In the first eight episodes of your series, you expose the failures of the system. How do you explain the choice of certain speakers such as Gilles Proulx and Benoit Dutrizac, who are not educators?
First, I questioned the people who wanted to talk to me. It's a shame, but a lot of women refused. They don't want to create problems. Teachers also refused. Gilles Proulx and Benoit Dutrizac for their part, provide a more global perspective. Their opinion is worth that of a parent, of a citizen. Education is interdependent with society. I needed a speaker who dares to speak, say what the teachers did not want to say in front of the cameras. And people recognize themselves in famous faces. They were very cordial, very accessible and said things that I had experienced myself.
To watch the webseries De-education, go to the website: www.ladeseducation.ca