How can education and innovation rhyme? On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of educational cafe, Release organizes a day of debates and exchanges, on November 25, Porte de Versailles in Paris, during the European Education Fair. Find forums, articles and interviews in the thematic file dedicated to the event.
Elected president of the MGEN mutual since July 2021, Matthias Savignac began his career as a teacher. Specializing in students in difficulty, he campaigns for differentiated and inclusive education.
Your career started in the classrooms. How did you decide to become a teacher?
Teaching was not my calling from the start. I veered quite a bit in my school career, and it was during my military service that I became an educator, and that I subsequently asked to be able to free up a few days to prepare for the competitions: the English CAPES and the help of school teachers. I had that of school teachers and I was appointed to a position three days after the start of the school year, without even being trained, to replace a teacher who had been arrested. And I found myself in a class of “little ones” in kindergarten. Luckily I had a great ATSEM by my side.
Why did you decide to devote your teaching career to the most disadvantaged students?
I had taken a part-time job for family reasons, which limited my choice of candidates for assignments. This is how I found myself working in the adapted general and professional education section (Segpa) in a college in the north of Isère. I spent four wonderful years there.
What did you like so much about adapted education?
It really is the feeling of being useful. The Segpa is the notion of the college for all, of the inclusive school, but with adapted general education. After a year, I decided to pass the CAPA-SH, a specialized teacher diploma. The advantage of the Segpa is that I had 14 or 15 students, this allows me to have time to give to each student. Earlier in my career, I had been frustrated, faced with classes of about thirty students, not being able to support the students as I had imagined.
When a student is about to be considered a dropout, how have you, as a teacher, learned to catch up?
When a kid in fourth grade can’t read, you don’t teach him to read with CP textbooks: you have to create your own materials, adapt to what interests him. And I think it’s really there, in Segpa, that I got to grips with what pedagogy really was. This is what leads me to think that the best training for teachers is not the generalist sector but adapted teaching: this is where you acquire the skills to do differentiated pedagogy.
What are the main barriers to learning for struggling students?
I think a teacher who is not doing well does not teach well. We talk a lot about the crisis of vocations today but it is not because it is not our vocation that we are doing it badly. It is rather because the context in which it is done becomes repellent. And, MGEN contributes to developing solutions for the health of teachers, their quality of life at work and their well-being, often in conjunction with the Ministry of National Education (listening and reception areas, Vocaliz’, etc. .), a prerequisite in terms of pedagogy.
But the biggest job is to change the image that students have of themselves because it’s easier to conform to what we think of them than to fight against it. It is a real duty of the school to fight against this image, so that we do not fall into caricatures. The students most in difficulty very often grow up in very difficult family, social and economic contexts. The aim of the school is not to train employable people but to make them people capable of fully exercising their citizenship. And, when I come across former Segpa students who have started a family, found a job, and who are useful members of society, I think it is absolutely remarkable, because they have come a long way.