Tuesday, January 31, 2006

congratulations are in order!

I need to stop wringing my hands and worrying for a moment so I can shine a spotlight on my wonderful husband and some good news we got last week. I think most of you know that Steph is a teacher, but I'm not sure I've talked much about what he actually does. For the last five years, Steph has been teaching in SEGPA (Sections d'Enseignements Généraux et Professionnels Adaptés) at the collège, or middle school, level. Students that have been placed in SEGPA have learning and/or social disorders. I would hazard a guess that 99% of them will not continue on to lycée, or high school, but will instead become apprenticed in a blue collar industry. Even though Steph mainly studied physics at university, he finds himself teaching all manner of subjects - last year he taught history, this year he's teaching French grammar.

Teaching in SEGPA has always been his goal, but every new school year is a gamble as to whether or not he will be placed in SEGPA - even if he'll be in the same school. This is because he has not yet been accepted to the very limited course to earn his certificate for teaching children with disabilities. You see, every year, an inspection board chooses only two teachers from our region to participate in the certification course. Steph has applied every year for five years, and each year has placed in the top three or four, and because the candidates are judged by how long they've been teaching in SEGPA, what specific courses they took at university, he has often been as little as half a point behind the top two.


Last week we got a call from one of Steph's colleagues from the school where he taught last year. Since the inspectors are based out of that school, they often have the results before the official letters are sent out. So after five long years, Steph has FINALLY been accepted to the course!!

So what does this mean? Well, at the end of May, he will be pulled out of the classroom to take his first three-week course. Next school year, he will spend half his time at the school, teaching, and the other half attending classes. He'll have to write a thesis, and pass an important in-school inspection at the end of the next school year. At the end of this process, he'll earn slightly more money (seriously, it's such a small amount that it wouldn't be worth all the work for it alone!) but more importantly, he'll have the certification, which means that he will be guaranteed a spot in a SEGPA, instead of crossing fingers and wishing on stars every summer, waiting to see where he will be placed.

I'm so very pleased for him, because it's something he has wanted so dearly. Next year may be a bit difficult and stressful, but it will be worth it in the end. Congratulations, Steph!

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