Témoignage inspirant d’une ex-chargée de cours

Sous le pseudonyme Harvest Moon, une chargée de cours (teaching adjunct) américaine en sociologie présente de façon touchante et réaliste son amour de l’enseignement et sa décision de l’abandonner, vue la précarité de ses conditions de travail.  Si nous diffusons rarement ce type de texte moins informatif, celui-ci m’est apparu inspirant en ce qu’il dépasse l’amertume pour bien cerner les joies que procure l’enseignement, l’« alchimie » de la salle de classe et la préoccupation quasi-constante d’un formateur pour trouver du nouveau matériel.

« The classroom is an exciting place. One where magic can happen. For me, the magic came in those moments when, in the course of explaining a graph or statistic, someone asked a question that I had not considered — often one for which I did not have a good answer…  […]  But it was most powerful on those mornings when things took an unexpected turn, when the lecture or discussion was rerouted to a place that was richer and more productive than anything I could have planned while sitting alone in my office. »

« Though just a fraction of my work time was spent in the classroom, I was, in small ways, always preparing for it. When I read books or articles, watched films or listened to radio programs, there was always a part of me that was alert to their potential for later use… […] . Because I collected these odds and ends as a matter of habit — almost unconsciously — I did not realize the extent to which even seemingly unrelated activities were, in some manner, connected to teaching. »

L’auteure évoque aussi de façon sensible les frustrations qui sont le lot de tout enseignant (les cellulaires qui sonnent en classe, les livres qu’il faut convaincre les étudiants de lire, les corrections que l’on tente de personnaliser, etc.), mais elle parle avec beaucoup d’éloquence de la passion d’enseigner :

« …I suspect that there are many of us who believe that the best way to practice our respective disciplines is through passing along its insights, ways of thinking, and questions. We choose to make our mark as scholars primarily — or even exclusively — through sharing our knowledge with our students. Yet we seldom admit to this. We may even deny it to ourselves. It is little wonder that we downplay, or deny altogether, the satisfaction that we derive from our roles as educators.

Within academe there is the belief that one’s contributions as a scholar — specifically, the degree to which one shapes and advances a discipline — occur, without exception, outside of the classroom. The ability to make a field accessible to students and to inspire in students the interest and curiosity necessary for deep learning is held not only in low regard but, in many ways, in contempt… » [mes emphases]

C’est un texte de Joshua Kim qui m’a amené à celui de Harvest Moon.  Il s’agit de la réaction d’un technopédagogue qui se demande à quel point les chargés de cours réalisent que des professionnels peuvent les accompagner et les soutenir dans leur enseignement.  Il constate que les services de soutien à la formation ont peut être un travail de marketing particulier à faire auprès de ces clientèles.

Ayant été lui-même été chargé de cours, Kim résume bien la situation dans laquelle plusieurs se retrouvent :  « Like Harvest, I also made the decision to not engage in further adjunct teaching – as the rewards for doing so have become inadequate to the opportunity costs inherent in the incredibly time and energy consuming task of teaching. And like Harvest, I also deeply miss the many joys of teaching. » [mon emphase]

On peut se demander à quel point ce « coût d’opportunité » est pris en compte dans le calcul des conditions offertes aux chargés de cours.

Sources :

Kim, Joshua, « On Adjuncts, Learning Designers and Educational Technologists », Inside Higher Ed, 1er octobre 2012.

Moon, Harvest, « Quitting an Adjunct Career », Inside Higher Ed, 28 septembre 2012.

Interne : Un premier Salon des usages technopédagogiques à l'UQAT
Interne : Renouvellement de la plateforme My Courses à l'Université McGill

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