23 years old Born near Paris Bachelor is French and English humanities Master’s degree in primary school education 2 years working experience in primary schools in Bordeaux
I have been thinking about this project for several years: I have known that I wanted to be a teacher since I was 17 years old. From that moment and before I even started my Master’s degree in Education, I managed to meet teachers, I skipped my university lectures and went to observe their classes. However, I quickly realized that although I admired the work of the teachers I visited, the expectations of the schools’ curriculums did not always seem adapted to the children’s needs.
As I saw more classes and met new teachers, I started to be interested in “alternative” pedagogies. I decided to learn more about them, which led me to read the works of Célestin Freinet, Maria Montessori and A.S. Neill among others. From then on, it seemed obvious to me that the traditional teaching methods were not the only way one could teach: as children have a natural thirst for learning and curiosity about the world around them, their interests are often repressed by the school obligations and the teachers’ timetables.
In the course of my Master’s degree, I wrote a thesis based on the idea that teaching autonomy, free self-expression and making the pupils responsible for the way the class works may contribute to making them understand and enjoy the act of learning. It reinforced my belief that children learn best when they do it for themselves and by themselves.
I am now 23 years old. I am a graduated teacher and I have been working in public primary schools near Bordeaux for two years. These “alternative” schools are still fascinating to me as they seem to be research structures which train the future autonomous, responsible citizens.
Today, even if I have read a lot and have a bit of experience, I feel like I need to find inspiration in other people’s experiences and have time to think about my vision of education. On the one hand, the French Master’s degree for teachers is very traditional and hardly mentions these pedagogies. On the other hand, I have of course experienced different methods in my classes to develop the children’s autonomy and responsibility, but the pedagogical freedom in the French public school system is quite limited. Therefore, I have decided to take a sabbatical year to do this research project abroad. Here I am, all set for at least a year of traveling adventures, hitchhiking and original teaching experiences!