Sunday, November 16, 2008

This year personnels non-titulaires in the education system have a council (CCP) that will meet with the rectorat about all firings and individual job-related problems. On Thursday I got a big envelope with flyers from all of the different unions that want me to vote for them to carry my grievances to the rectorat. I am planning to vote, even though I don't think they'll actually do anything for me, so I'm trying to figure out which syndicat to vote for.

I immediately dismissed CGT and CFDT. I want nothing to do with unions who continually make my life miserable with train strikes. I want to make sure I vote for an organization that engages in real discussions and doesn't just faire la grève all the time.

So that leaves several other syndicats to consider. Most of them make totally ridiculous claims - one of them says they are going to guarantee me well-behaved students. Good luck buddy. Do they have a plan to personally harass each smart-mouthed lycéen and call the parents of all my wiggly little CE1s? Another promises to preserve laicité in the schools. I'm not sure what aspect of secularism they think is being attacked, are they going to require Muslim girls to not wear a head scarf outside of the building now? However if they will support me in my decision to not talk about Christmas at all I'm all for that. Tangent on Christmas in the French schools - I know that in France Christmas is more like Thanksgiving, that it's been totally stripped of any religious meaning, but in America it is still a religious holiday, and as such I belive it has no place in the public schools and I refuse to teach it. To me that is a major laicité violation. So if they can get all the marchés de noel outlawed, I'll vote for that. (We'll see if I end up actually refusing to teach Christmas or if I cave in under pressure.) The other problem is that most of these unions are for teachers of secondaire, and I'm more concerned about what happens in primaire.

But realistically, what are any of these groups going to do for me? Are they going to insist on the rectorat sponsoring a visa for me next year? Doubtful. Are they going to do anything to ameliorate the working conditions of assistants? Also doubtful. But I like feeling that I can have an impact on what happens here, so I'll vote anyway. If you have any information on the education syndicats feel free to share!


shannon said...

Natasha got that too! But I'm pretty sure she just tossed it.

Rose said...

Please teach Hannukkah. I would have loved it if my roommate Jennie in college had actually told me something about it instead of blowing me off with her usually silliness and making little menorahs.

au soleil levant said...

Last year the holiday lesson I planned discussed Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Chinese New Year, etc. I only did it with one class (because I was sick the week before vacation). It wasn't a rousing success. One kid made a racist comment about blacks and another said she hates Jews. I'm not sure if in the spirit of spreading tolerance throughout the world I should hit my kids with a hard dose of multiculturalism or just wait until MLK day to start in on the heavy stuff.

Btw, I am not openly Jewish in my small town. A few people know, and otherwise I try to keep it a secret. I live in an unsecured hallway in a lycée, and I prefer that the Jewish thing not become well known. It's terrible, but I have to think about my personal safety.

David said...

Talking about Christmas in schools in France is not a laïcité violation because Christmas is not a religious holiday in France (and in many other countries, sometimes I feel that it's a religious holiday in the US only) and everybody celebrates it.

Also, CGT and CFDT are the two major unions in France (with FO) and if you think that all they do is to create strikes it means that the disinformation campaign of the government worked quite well.
Also, to be able to "engage in real discussions" with the powers that be, you most of the time need a strike first, this is how things work here.
But if you want to vote for the union that will do something best for YOU, maybe you shouldn't vote at all because I think you're missing the point of what a union is and does.

David said...

Also, I find you a bit paranoid about being scared for your safety because you're Jewish...