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Revealed during the health crisis (1/4). Then unknown to social networks, Marie-Solène Letoqueux, teacher in a kindergarten class in Brittany, had immense success during the first confinement in France by creating “The mistress goes live”, a program broadcast on her YouTube channel. Since then, she has been crowned with numerous distinctions.
Do not speak to him especially of “star of YouTube” or of “queen of the mistresses 2.0”, Marie-Solène Letoqueux sweeps all these qualifiers published in the French press with a backhand. The 34-year-old school teacher assures that she only did her job during the first confinement in France. However, not all teachers have created their YoutTube channel to ensure the educational follow-up of their students.
When Emmanuel Macron announced on March 12 the closure of schools, the Breton teacher from Luitré-Dompierre, a small Breton town of 2,000 souls near Fougères, was rather satisfied. “I told myself that I was going to be able to take care of my little girl who was only four months old at the time. But my husband quickly told me that I couldn’t stand not working, that I was going to go around in circles in my house. He then suggested that I continue to do class on a YouTube channel. ” At first hesitant, the school teacher finally lets herself be convinced by her husband’s arguments. It must be said that the latter is not a beginner in the field: the former YouTuber known under the pseudonym RealMyop is a video game enthusiast who has set up his own production company and produces audiovisual content for popularization of science, in particular for Arte. .
Live time has come
The equipment and the skills are there. All you have to do is roll up your sleeves and make the project a reality. A room in the house is transformed into a classroom, the decor is set, the framework of the program is completed. A small team of professionals is quickly assembled: Ronan, the director husband ensures the framing of the show with his daughter in the baby carrier, a graphic designer designs the dressing, another designs the credits and finally the presenter-teacher. After a few tries, the team takes the plunge. The parents of the 26 students in the class are invited by email to follow the program “La maitresse part en live”. “Nobody expected such an initiative but all the feedback was enthusiastic, remembers Marie-Solène Letoqueux. I received a lot of encouragement from parents, my director and my colleagues.”
The first show airs on March 23, at 3 p.m., live – to save yourself the long hours of editing. Behind their screen, the pupils and their parents are present: some 60 pupils take part in the first virtual lesson. “I was not necessarily very comfortable in the first shows, explains the teacher. But thanks to the feedback from the parents, I progressed. I gained in theatricality. I also had to adapt to the new constraints. In particular, I learned to give the pupils more time to think and answer, because it was above all about lessons “.
Very quickly, young Internet users and their parents were won over. Word of mouth and social media relay work wonders. The meeting initially intended for the nursery schools of Luitré very quickly exceeded the framework of Brittany. “We had connections from all over the world, including Canada, New Zealand, Chile, Japan, Africa, the Middle East … I absolutely did not expect such a stir”, s still astonishes the teacher. Some shows have record audiences with more than 9,600 connections – or nearly 400 kindergarten classes. Some 13,000 parents exchange on a server to share photos, videos and impressions. “The show responded to a need of parents who found themselves a little helpless during this time. Others were delighted to be like little mice to observe their child’s behavior in class.”
The community is getting organized
Faced with the scale of the task, a community manager is dispatched to moderate the many comments. A small group of parents lend a hand to the team in storing supporting documents. Marie-Solène can also count on the support of teachers gathered on Facebook in the “Distance teaching in kindergarten” group to find new ideas. Because it is a question of carrying out one hour of direct four days a week. The framework of the show is immutable: a credits interpreted by the teacher, the ritual of the date, the weather then that of small pleasures before starting stories, songs, manual workshops, cooking lessons, etc. .. The recipe works. “We are not bored at all during the show,” promise the lyrics in the credits. The figures attest to this. The channel has more than 90,000 subscribers.
But soon, the end of confinement heralds the end of the show. On May 4, the successful YouTuber announced her face-to-face return the following week at the request of her director. But that’s without counting the mobilization of its thousands of subscribers who launch a petition considering the program of “public interest”. It was finally at the request of the rector of the Rennes academy that the teacher continued the digital adventure until July 3. The petitioners won. Children, still deprived of school, too. The fairy tale continues for a few more months for the mistress with the magic wand.
“A beautiful parenthesis”
Marie-Solène’s initiative creates emulators. “Other teachers have also embarked on similar projects, it’s a good thing if I could inspire a few.” The 30-something also inspires the media. “I went through the interviews. At first, I stammered, I was not comfortable with this exercise.” We end up recognizing her in the street. “It’s quite funny. But what I like the most about this whole story is to have seen all this mutual aid born around the project. The show also allowed me to progress in my profession, to to learn new pedagogies, to gain ease with the students. “
The following start of the school year, the teacher put away the fairy hats and super heroine capes to find the senior class at the private school of Saint Joseph de Bonabry, in Fougères. “I got closer to my home and I was able to find students in the flesh. To see them in real life, to see their reaction, to find the noise of the class, I missed all that, I was very happy. to find them. ”
The adventure did not end there. Marie-Solène Letoqueux received the academic palms of National Education. Ironically, she was even elected Breton of the year, during the Victoires de la Bretagne. “It’s funny for the Norman that I am!”, Confides with a smile the native of Caen. And since happiness never comes alone, the teacher was also offered new projects, such as writing children’s books. “I experienced this project as a nice interlude, but for now, I want to continue my work as a teacher. It is a real vocation that I have carried within me since I was a third student. But who knows, I keep all these proposals in the back of my head for the day when I can’t stand the students anymore, she laughs. But that time has not yet come. “