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Out of control.

Posted by Chatterbox-190278 - Created: 15 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 11 to 20)

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Posted by Ellen7-187820 - 15 years ago

I agree with everything that has been said before. If you drop it now, then this teacher will go on to do the same thing next year and your daughter will feel that, in part, you accept his version.  Don't accept to meet him outside school. it is a totally school incident and should be treated as such.  Don't accept to meet just him at the school either.  The principal  has already been involved and this goes beyond normal parent-teacher disagreements.

Take the FCPE and PEEP with you if they will come. Legend's description of the difference between them is accurate as far as what I've seen in the schools I have taught in.  But whatever their political differences, they are there to support parents.

The teacher could well be represented by the teacher members of the conseil d'administration but  I would be surprised. He is more likely to ask the union reps or contact the autonome de solidarité (a sort of teacher defence system) If your daughter trusts her professeur principal ask him/her to be present. This means your daughter has the feeling that there is someone from the  school who is on her side and who can also talk about her behaviour in other classes.

Get written (and signed) comments from any other pupils.



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Posted by legend_in_my_lunchtime-182603 - 15 years ago

about the parents backing out of agreements to support you - that is what I meant when I wrote the words "and actually obtain" in my previous reply.  This gutlessness is so common in France.  I encountered it time and time again.  You are to be commended for your tenacity if you take this through to its conclusion.  Hopefully you will have at least one other parent prepared to remain on the written record with you. 

re the PEEP: this is the other national parents' association.  The FCPE is the most vociferous and usually most visible as they tend to be more left wing.  The PEEP tends to be more middle of the road.  Often they will oppose one another on questions of school strategy.  However, in a case of teacher-pupil aggression they should not have any political differences and should equally assist you.   The way that the representation works is way too complicated to explain here but I would guess that if the proviseur is requesting "une convocation" then the teacher will be entitled to union representation and you (your child) will be entitled to representation/observation by a member of each of the "lists" that were voted.  As it is too early in the school year to have voted the 2003/2004 representatives, they will usually fall back on the FCPE stalwarts but you should also be entitled to PEEP and also an independent if your school also has an independent list.  I like the PEEP because by and large you get less radical individuals than with the FCPE but it can vary enormously so by all means, meet as many of the representatives as you can and then choose the one that you think operates in the best interests of your child.  If you don't have confidence in the parents' associations and want someone for pure translation - drop me an e-mail.

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Posted by mylama - 15 years ago

You are totally right to make a stand.

 I worked in a French ecole primaire and twice witnessed teachers being physically violent towards children. I also saw a couple of them smoking in the classroom at the end of lessons, while the children packed up their books. I didn't dare speak out because I was only a trainee.

 But then, when I was myself in primary school, I had a teacher who was a real bully, who made my life hell for a whole year. The whole class was terrified of him. Although he was sometimes violent and a consistent verbal bully, we never complained about him, because we were too scared. A few years later, he was fired for slamming a kid's head in a desk. (The old-fashioned wooden ones..) I wished I had spoken out then..

Good luck..

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Posted by Chatterbox-190278 - 15 years ago

Good to hear from you all - thank you for sharing your own experiences.

Disappointed tonight when the parent of one of my daughters longest standing friends said only to protect my own child but not to bother pursuing it further as nobody else has bothered in the past, it stops after a while and it's only for a year before they move on anyway! Her child suffered with the same guy last year but it's not her problem anymore! - that's exactly why this has happened to my daughter and why someone has to make a stand.

Legend - What is PEEP?

And yes, I wondered about the appropriateness of protracted discussion between the teacher and the FCPE rep.

Besides which the real issue here is actually not whether or not my daughter was or was not cheeky( and I believe she wasn't). There are procedures to deal with indiscipline. Verbal abuse and uncontrolled rage are simply not acceptable.


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Posted by legend_in_my_lunchtime-182603 - 15 years ago

I've been watching this thread with interest having had to confront a similar problem in the past and also having been on the other side of the fence with responsibility for teachers and disciplinary action.

First of all: Well done to you and your daughter for standing up in this situation.   Well done to you as a parent for showing your daughter you believe in her and defending her in an aggression.  Good on you for the tenacity need to solicit (and actually obtain!) written corroboration from other parents. 

Second: The French word "education" has a peculiar semantic connotation.  Francophones would insist that "education" is far wider than schooling which could be considered as simply the "enseignement" part of a child's education.  This teacher's behaviour (if proven) for WHATEVER the reasons real or exagerrated is UNACCEPTABLE behaviour for an educator.  It borders on "faute professionelle" and if corroborated as recurrent (documented) behaviour will perhaps result in dismissal of the teacher. 

Third: NEVER agree to meet the teacher out of a formal school context.  You have done the right thing so far by involving the principal (I assume you mean the proviseur and not some other interim level administrator?)  The fact that he/she has encouraged you to back up your complaint with written statements shows me that he/she is already on your side and just needs to complete the formal part of his/her "dossier".

Last: While it might also be good to have the FCPE rep (by the way what about involving PEEP as well?) just bear in mind the FCPE reps are mere parents like us and you can get all sorts some of whom are not so competent in such affairs.  The idea of meeting a teacher off premises or talking by phone for 2.5 hours seems weird to me. 

Good luck to you and your daughter: Use the system, DOCUMENT everything and stay on cool, correct and polite terms with the teacher and the administration.

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Posted by Chatterbox-190278 - 15 years ago

An update.

Now have a couple more parents prepared to write down events especially as the guy's history is well known.

He spent 2.5 hours on the phone to the FCPE rep last night. Apparently he agrees he went too far but that it was a decision made to stop my daughter continuing 3 lessons worth of disrespect, troublemaking and ringleading!!! Believe me she isn't like that - likes a joke but hates being in the limelight. He also agrees that his language was strong but claims only to have said "shut up" and "bl**** girl" and that other english children in the class will corroborate this - THE other english speaker in the class told his mother on Friday that the F word was used and then again in conjunction with b***h. What the teacher wants from my daughter is an apology then it will be forgotten.

The request now is to meet with him out of school to sort things out. The more I think about it, I think that meeting has to take place at school with the FCPE rep and someone from the college.

Watch this space.

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Posted by MikeP-180526 - 15 years ago

First,  I hope you will pursue this to the end,  as others have already pointed out to you that this behaviour is unacceptable. I am sure that you will find that you have truth and justice on your side and that this teacher wil be disciplined. 

My son and some friends were the victims of bullying at their school (International) by older children. He was too frightened to tell me who was responsible, so I  I did a bit of simple detective work, identified the culprit, and went to see the Principal,  who dealt with it in an exemplary manner, promptly and efficiently, and there has been no recurrence.  I like to think that they would adopt the same attitude if the offender had been a member of staff.

Regarding Nigel 'NBay's comments,  oddly enough all three of my French teachers (British nationals - two male and one female) throughout my school career were sadists,  who delighted in either abusing us physically or verbally.  In particular one reduced many of us to tears on a daily basis by belittling us in front of the class, and another, as part of this process, used to touch us in places which these days would be regarded as sexual assault.

As it happens my French is good but I have no doubt that my school experiences have contributed to my lack of interest in, and negative attitude towards,  this country and its culture.  This has never occured to me until now,  reading Nigel's comments!

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Posted by Ellen7-187820 - 15 years ago

Sally, I am an English teacher in a collège. I don't have 6ième this year but I have been professeur principal in 6ième more times than I care to remember.

The change from primary to secondary is tough for a lot of kids. They go from a small school where they are cared for to a big school with "les grands", teachers and rooms who change every hour etc. As teachers it's not always easy for us to go from 16 year olds who are going to try every technique going to get out of working to little 11 year olds who want to work but have got the wrong book, room, week on their timetable......

The first term is supposed to be dedicated to helping them adapt. We have to explain from the start what is expected of them in collège and a lot of them get the feeling that collège is nothing but rules that they are sure  to break followed but inevitable punishments.

Most of us spend the first term on "you should have been punished but.... next time " Shouting at them and and insulting them isn't going to help anything. This teacher's behaviour is completly inacceptable. I also wonder about his lack of control with 11 year olds. if he can't get them to calm down without insulting them, what does he do with 3ième? You were right to contact the school and I hope they follow it through as far as they can esecially as this is not an isolated case. It sounds to me that the presence of an anglophone in his class makes him very aware of his failings in English. I had an American in class last year and even as a Brit, I felt odd for the first couple of weeks.

Find out what his staus is. If he is a "titulaire" (meaning he's taken the teaching exam) he's a civil servant and difficult to get rid off. Though they may suggest he asks  for a posting elsewhere (and goes on to traumatise other children) If he is a non titualire. His contract can be ended and they can decide not to re-employ him.

Take the FCPE rep with you next week. I'm fluent and know the system well, but I would want a French speaker with me in the same situation because I would be worried that I would be too annoyed to find the words.

Nigel, hitting a pupil is not allowed in france. It is a "faute professionelle" and you can be removed from the civil service for it. it rarely goes that far, but the principal should be told, if he/she does nothing, then the next step is the inspecteur pedagogique at the rectorat.

Sorry, this is a long rant, but I'm taking this personally. These people shouldn't be allowed in front of pupils.




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Posted by theresponsibleadult-188195 - 15 years ago

Sally,  I do not have experience with the French school system, but I did have a run-in with a bullying teacher in another country.  The victim in that case wasn't my child, but another child in my daughter's class, whom my daughter didn't like and this particular teacher seemed to think my child personally hung the moon. 

However, my daughter came home one day really distressed from witnessing a sickening bullying spree this teacher had gone on. She told me that this was by no means the first time the teacher had verbally attacked the other child; this was just the worst she had seen so far. 

I went to the head of the school and the governing body of the school district 

a) because what was happening was just plain wrong and

b) because I was raising my daughters to follow the principle of "all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to stand by and do nothing." (apologies if I didn't get that quote quite right)

As in your case, the teachers in this place were very protected. To my knowledge the teacher was 'talked to' and that was it. But that, I still feel, isn't what is really important.  Your daughter needs to see that what the teacher did is wrong - just because he is in a position of authority does not give him the right to abuse those he supervises - and that you are speaking up about it.

You go girl. 

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Posted by nbay - 15 years ago

My daughter has also started college sixieme this year.
She seems very enthusiastic about being in her new school.

My impression so far is that it is more strict and bureaucratic than the primaire. With punishments for being late to class, forgeting books and poor marks. She is often quite stressed out and worried she might get some punishment (usually having to stay behind an hour or two to do extra work - same as detentions in the uk)

Last week she came back saying a boy in her class was slapped across the face by the teacher for talking in class and on monday she says she got slapped on the head by the same teacher. My daughter says she hits many children and said to them if you do a mistake she would hit them.

I thought physical punishment in schools is not allowed in the EU now.

It reminds me when I went to school in the UK, the french teacher was a real sadist, beating were frequent, I was hit on the head with a pile of books many times if I couldn't answer a question. I blame this for my poor french.