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"Monsieur Connard": the self-mockery of a teacher in the face of his colleagues' non-verbal comments

Marc-André Girard recounts his meeting with a teacher with a thousand projects, who gave himself a revealing nickname: Monsieur Connard.

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Our author and collaborator Marc-André Girard was invited to the Laboratory of innovation and digital in education (LINE) at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis and took the opportunity to visit several cities and meet various stakeholders. In his discovery of the European educational landscape, he met a teacher with a revealing nickname. Here is the story of this meeting:

Visiting a French school, I walk around the school while meeting various stakeholders, whether they are teachers, school administrators or support staff. During my walk, I enter the secretariat to greet the management and support staff and something catches my attention, far in my field of vision: I stop dry and I see, next to the name on the loft of a teacher, a nickname: Monsieur Connard.

I laugh with little restraint given the effect of surprise! I can not help but go to meet Mr. Asshole and shake his hand, suspecting that I could laugh with him. Once in his room, immediately, I take my ease and we introduce ourselves. He presents himself formally; he has a first name and a last name.

  • "But why Monsieur Connard?" "
  • " Long story. Do you really want to know her? "
  • " Sure! Why not? "
  • " Very well. Here is. "

He explains to me:

  • “The nickname comes from me. I baptized myself “Monsieur Connard” ”.
  • " Well! "
  • “It's my way of verbalizing the unsaid of certain colleagues who react to my work, to my pedagogical innovations, in my environment. "
  • " Eh? What do you mean? What unsaid? "
  • “I make things happen in my school. I implement new pedagogical approaches that break with those of some more traditional colleagues. I am comfortable in experimentation contexts and I am very creative. "
  • " So what? What's the problem, Monsieur Connard? "

He explains to me that by dint of experimenting and innovating, the authorities of the Academy (the equivalent of the school board) came to visit him frequently in class to testify about his work. This recognition and the regular visits from external people irritated some colleagues who, in a certain sense, turned their backs on him. Since then, he has felt isolated. Whenever he speaks in front of his colleagues, he sees the eyes that roll up to the sky and hears the taunts and sighs.

  • “No matter how I explain what I do and encourage all my colleagues to work in collaboration with me, nothing helps! I am labeled and, next year, I leave my post and I change environment. "

Indeed, he will be a pedagogical advisor from next year, in another Academy.

  • “So I feel like the 'asshole' of the school. This "asshole" who nevertheless knows how to make his students happy, an "asshole" who knows how to rally certain colleagues as well, while for others, remains the one who threatens, who disturbs ... "

He explains to me that he was aware that this could happen. That as a teacher, carrying a file or a disruptive project involves risks. He is sorry, however, that isolation is a consequential side effect to the implementation of innovative projects in a school setting.

  • “No matter how much you want to be open, transparent and share everything with those around you, some colleagues see my leadership and my projects as calling into question their own professional practice. Suddenly, as Monsieur Connard came from me, it cut their whistles a bit. It makes the students laugh, of course. They don't know the content. They still like self-mockery anyway. But for those who are concerned, at least, I let them know that I know what they think of me and that I am fully aware of the situation. At least they know how I feel! "

I was amazed. I did not expect this while visiting the school. The discussion only lasted about ten minutes, but it still haunts me! The moral of the story, as explained by Monsieur Connard, is that beyond the provocative aspect of its own nickname, it must be understood that an isolated innovative practice is exposed to derogatory behavior, which is probably explainable. by a misunderstanding. Possibly also that the reflective process of some can have an influence on others and that the others are not yet ready to begin such a reflection. Who knows?

I left him my business card, since here too, in Quebec, there are Monsieurs and Madames Connard in each of our schools. Even the " Crazy toads Have been able to meet, come together and assert themselves!

Why not bring together all the French-speaking Gentlemen and Madames Connards? Certainly, great projects would emerge and an innovation support network could, at the same time, help to make these “assholes” better accepted in our schools.


This article is part of a series published by our author and collaborator Marc-André Girard, as part of his participation in the Laboratory of innovation and digital in education (LINE) at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

You can read all the articles in this series here.

About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in social studies education (1999), a master's degree in history education (2003), a master's degree in education management (2013) and a doctorate in education (2022). He specializes in school-based change management and educational leadership. He is also interested in the 21st century competencies to be developed in education. He is a principal in a public high school and gives conferences on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in schools and the professionalization of teaching. He has participated in educational expeditions in France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book "Le changement en milieu scolaire québécois" with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the 21st century school with the same publisher. He is a frequent contributor to L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and principals as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement. He is a recipient of the Régent-Fortin 2022 scholarship awarded by ADERAE for the significant contribution of his doctoral studies to the development of practice and knowledge in educational administration.

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