It's funny. The only real opposition to the idea of offering intensive English courses for Quebec grade six students comes from the teachers themselves and their unions and associations, such as the Fédération autonome de l'enseignement (FAE) and the Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (FSE-CSQ).
While a large percentage of the population agrees with the project, including parents associations (La Fédération des comités de parents du Québec - FCPQ), unions and teachers' guilds claim their opposition.
Now, why would that be?
Nah! The majority of Quebec’s teachers are anything but lazy. They work hard, sometimes in very difficult conditions.
Why, then, besides blindly obeying their unions’ directives, would they decide to fight this new program?
Could it be because most teachers in Québec do not speak fluent English themselves?
Remember, since 1976, when a Parti québécois government was elected, speaking English in Quebec has been seen as unimportant, even a nuisance to our cultural environment.
Many of today’s teachers are part of that generation. Over the years, did they learn enough English to efficiently teach it?
In other words, how many 6th grade teachers throughout Quebec can handle English sufficiently to be able to teach it adequately?
And how many of them could teach their own specialty in English?
Now, with a good book in front of you, you can fake knowing history.
You can fake knowing 6th grade mathematics.
You can even fake knowing French grammar.
But in front of 20 bright students, you can neither fake speaking English nor can you fake teaching it.
For sure, the Charest government bears a huge responsibility in this upcoming mess. No one at the ministère de l’Éducation seems to have thought about the teachers’ ability to teach their subjects in English.
But the unions are no better, for they never gave us the real reason for their resistance to change.
Hey! Teachers! Go on, say it: «We don’t want to teach it because we can’t speak it!»