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“When the teaching profession becomes dangerous because it gives birth to free beings, capable of changing the world for the better, because they are endowed with the capacity to think, more than ever, #JeSuisProf. »A reflection from our collaborator Marc-André Girard.

Automated English translation - (sometimes hilarious) mistakes can creep in! ;)

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When the teacher works with his students, in the classroom, he is absorbed in his daily life. As a priority, he works to meet the needs expressed by his students. He works in the present, for the future. However, very often, he does not realize the scope of his gestures, attitudes and his words. He does not realize that he is a continually active role model with his students. Perhaps he forgets that he is the other significant adult and present with this young person, with his parents? It's normal. The teachers are professional and humble and they do not always dwell on this essential role that they exercise as a model for the young people they meet.  

In the same vein, we can estimate that a tenured primary teacher will have worked with between 750 and 900 students who will have stayed in his classes during his 35 years of experience in education. In secondary school, depending on the subject, this can vary between 4,500 and 15,000 depending on the subject taught. Let us not forget that in Quebec, we can count on a contingent of nearly 100,000 teachers who are hard at work with our young people. It is a real social force which is at the service of democratic ideals. Attacking a teacher is highly symbolic. This is what unfortunately happened product in France yesterday.

The teaching profession is often seen as one which transmits knowledge. Obviously, a teacher is much more: in particular, he is a cultural facilitator, he is the cornerstone of social values. It is the one through which the democratic current passes. For my part, I always wanted to be a teacher, even when I was very little. For me, it is a profession of power: through who I am, I contribute to what my students will become. That is true! There is a little bit of each of our teachers in us. We first teach who we are. And we are free. We therefore teach freedom and this first freedom is that of thinking.

That's what the murderer beheaded: the teaching profession. He attacked the freedom to think for oneself.

Our teachers train young people to, among other things, exercise their critical mind and overcome obscurantism. Yes, in 2020, with the democratization of the media, we are experiencing the opposite of what we would have been entitled to expect; we live in a dark time when backward mentalities have the nerve to use the channels of the democratization of information to convey their opaque conceptions of humanity, and this, suddenly fake news, propaganda, conspiracy theories and disinformation. In fact, we should not take exception to this observation. On the contrary, if we are worried, it is because we know that the problem is that humans are ill-equipped to deal with this flood of vitriolic information. The fabric of the critical mind, forming their shield, is probably not tightly woven enough and the mesh too often lets through this kind of information which reaches our intellect and induces important cognitive biases.

To attack a teacher is to attack what is most noble in our democratic society. Sad to say, for a profession in constant search of development, this deplorable gesture is a great recognition of our social status, recognition that we would never have wanted to see.

When the teaching profession becomes dangerous because it gives birth to free beings, capable of changing the world for the better, because they are endowed with the capacity to think, more than ever, #JeSuisProf.

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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in humanities education (1999), a master's degree in history teaching (2003) and a master's degree in educational management (2013). He is currently a doctoral student in school administration. He specializes in change management in schools as well as in educational leadership. He is also interested in 21st century skills to be developed in education. He holds a managerial position in a public primary school and gives lectures on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in the school environment as well as on the professionalization of teaching. He took part in educational expeditions to France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book “Le change en milieu scolaire québécois” with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the school of the 21st century with the same publisher. He frequently collaborates with L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and school administrators as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement.