"Je sais que vous êtes enseignant."

Translation:I know that you are a teacher.

December 24, 2012

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Yes, teachers themselves... when they don't want to specify whether they teach to 3 year olds or to university students.


So what would you call each level of teacher?


In the order of children's age and evolution:

  • kindergarten (maternelle: kids from 2 to 6): instituteur/institutrice or maître/maîtresse
  • elementary school (école élémentaire: from 6 to 11): instituteur/institutrice or maître/maîtresse des écoles
  • highschool (collège from 11 to 14 - lycée from 15 to 18): professeur (feminisation of the noun is rare and is "professeure")
  • university (université, faculté, grandes écoles): professeur ("de fac")

Now when it comes to address them with their title, small children say "maître" or "maîtresse", all others say "monsieur" or "madame".

As far as I know, only top medical professors are called "professeur".


http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/professeur/64155/locution http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/instituteur/43443?q=instituteur#43365

It seems as though there is a movement to use professeur d'école for primary school, but I imagine that many people still use instituteur/institutrice, just as the children still say maître/maîtresse. So, enseignant/enseignante is used as a general term and by teachers about themselves and éducateur/éducatrise is a formal term used with other words to indicate specialties, such as early childhood, or special education.

I love that in France children go to collège when our children are in junior high school, while in California our children go to college after high school (lycée). Of course, you can go straight to university from high school. It is less expensive to do two years at a junior college and then do the last two years at university, instead of four years at the university. It is important to take the right classes that will be transferable though. Some people get a one year or two year certificate from the junior college and go straight to work. I have a brother who went to the university for four years, but for what he wanted to do, he had to go to the junior college to get a specialty certificate.

The other odd thing from California to France is that preschool is your maternelle, and kindergarten is our first year of primary school where you won't find any two or three year olds and only four year olds about to turn five. They are even changing the starting age cut off to September. So, four year olds will have to wait until the following year. They learn to read and write in Kindergarten and have an essay test at the end of the year now. They put the 1st grade curriculum down a year, and all the grades had to move down one to accommodate, but I think you still call Kindergarten as "maternelle" even though it is so different from preschool?

You have always given us so much help. Thank you!


But why are some big universities just called "écoles". Like l'école X in France, EPFL in Switzerland and École Polytechnique Montreal in Canada? Why aren't they called Garndes écoles or something.


"Les universités et les facultés" are state-owned.

"Les grandes écoles" are often private or semi-private, depending on their specialities; students need to pass a competitive exam.


Incorrect to use plural here? "Enseignants" seems to me to be just as correct as "enseignant"


"a teacher" is singular, so if you were given the English first, you have no choice. if it was a dictation, you can indeed translate by a plural, since there is no difference in oral and that "vous" can indeed be plural.


It was a dictation. Thanks for the answer though


no one uses "enseignant" for teacher except duolingo


But you can bet your bottom dollar that next time YOU say "enseignant," it'll be "professeur" ONLY!


C'est juste une petite plaisanterie pour les étudiants. Vous êtes feintés les gars.


Il y a longtemps que je n'avais vu "feintés"... joli mot! ;-)


Oui certains mots ont une popularité décroissante sauf en footballistique (horreur) ... C'est un peu comme les madeleines les mots, Celui-ci me renvoie au bon vieux temps du lycée et de l'internat... "j'tai bien feinté là hein?"...


i thought vous was plural, should we not have different wording with a tu, please advise


There are 6 possible translations for "you are a teacher" if you get the English sentence first of course (it is not the case here apparently)

tu es enseignant (masculine)

tu es enseignante (feminine)

vous êtes enseignant (masculine singular, with polite, singular "vous")

vous êtes enseignante (feminine singular, with polite, singular "vous")

vous êtes enseignants (masculine plural)

vous êtes enseignantes (feminine plural)


I thought that you could say enseignante or enseignant


You can actually.


Really! Enseignante just cost me a heart!


So, is there a more common word than "enseignant" that we may encounter in spoken French for the word teacher?


"enseignant" is very common, as the generic term for anyone whose profession is to teach.


Would 'an educationist' fall within the same class?


I don't know. I have never come across that word in English. You could say someone was an educator.


Why not vous etes enseignants


Please read above.


I think the confusion is that this sentence is sometimes given by Duo as a dictation and therefore the masculine plural should be accepted?


What is wrong with "I know what you are teaching"


= je sais ce que vous enseignez.


why isn't there a "un" before "enseignant"?


why on earth is it vous etes when it is singular. I don't understand !


the English "you" pronoun has 3 alternative interpretations in French:

  • "tu" when addressing one single person you know well (family, friend...)
  • "vous" when addressing one single person you don't know well or you owe respect to
  • "vous" when addressing 2 or more persons.


thank you, that surprises me


What is the difference between 'enseignant' and 'professeur'? Both have teacher and professor listed as meanings.


"Un(e) enseignant(e)" is anyone teaching anything to anyone. Un professeur is specialized in one or a couple of topics (language, history, biology...) and he or she teaches students aged 12 to 18 (collège and lycée).

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