|27 Sep 2023
|2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize
Nicolas originally formed a desire to teach in 6th grade. After a period studying medicine, he switched to Earth and Life Sciences, and just six months later made the decision to be an Earth And Life Sciences teacher – to share his vision of the world, enrich the lives of students and open their eyes to the beauty and complexity of life. After qualifying, Nicolas worked for four years as a substitute teacher before being appointed to the René Cassin College in the city of Agde. This college faces various challenges: exam results are below the national average, and many students suffer from poor self-image, absenteeism, grade stress, and resignation about their situation. From an economic point of view, many students are from socioeconomically disadvantaged families, and a social worker is often on site.
In 2018, prompted by his lifelong interest in English, Nicolas created an English-language YouTube channel “A Happy Teacher” – a resource for other teachers and those interested in the teaching life. His first video series “Teaching Around The World” was made with two colleagues from Australia and America – all three comparing their educational systems through a questionnaire – and teachers from Brazil, Belgium, Great Britain, Turkey and Canada also took part. A little later, Nicolas transferred “A Happy Teacher” to his French-speaking YouTube channel, where he analyzes research articles, gives tutorials on digital tools, and shows concretely what he does in class. More than 12,000 teachers have subscribed, and thanks to the community he has created, Nicolas has been able to help many teachers and students around the world by videoconference call and private message. This work later fed into a research article entitled "Leveraging Social Media and Scholarly Discussion for Educator Empowerment" published in 2021 in the Australian Journal of Teacher Education.
Nicolas’ project “And if we learned together” is a synthesis of all these influences. With college colleagues, he looks at integrating cognitive sciences into classroom practices, using memorization tools and calming techniques as well as collaborative work and mutual assistance. As part of this, his team organizes evenings for parents to enter classes and discover teachers’ working methods. Nicolas has also focused on climate change in his teaching by modelling the greenhouse effect in class, studying the effects of global warming on living beings, and using games such as Sim'Agro to make students aware of sustainable development.
Nicolas has brought together communities at his college, in the academy, in France and around the world. If he wins the Global Teacher Prize, he would like to use the funds to rethink school learning spaces with specialized areas and mobile furniture that can be adapted to different ways of learning. This would include “intermediate spaces” to make college life more pleasant, more equitable and more inclusive for students with reduced mobility or even to facilitate a co-educational mix. Nicolas would also like to use some of the Global Teacher Prize funds to disseminate what he has learned as a teacher and to promote better visibility of what the profession is really about. He would like to encourage people to enter the profession, but to do so in a way that allows them to take care of themselves and their mental health with a reasonable and professional approach.