The answer to this is, of course, a matter of opinion, rather than fact. However, in my view, the British Empire was largely a benevolent imperial power which generally treated the colonised nations/peoples exceptionally well, and was a tremendous force for good in the world. But many others would disagree. I would add that the French Empire was also a largely benevolent imperial power which arguably contributed to the progress of its colonised peoples.
Regarding the first sentence of your second paragraph, I would sound a note of caution. Every revolutionary government needs to justify the revolution ex post, which means that governments and the educational establishment have a very strong incentive to "teach" the next generation about the supposed horrors of the ancien regime. In the case of former colonies, this means ensuring that the next generation believes in the supposed evils of the colonial power (which are often exaggerated for this purpose), and that the benefits of the imperial era - education, healthcare, parliamentary democracy, a modern and objective legal system, etc - are downplayed. And historical support for the colonial power among the native population is ignored as a historical inconvenience. E.g. in Ireland, the fact that about 20% of the Irish population had been Unionists was very inconvenient for the post-revolutionary Irish government (and society), and so this was downplayed. The supposed (and, it has to be said, often real) crimes of the British authorities in Ireland were exaggerated, and Britain was made in 20th-century Irish historiography into an evil imperial power subjugating Ireland by force, with Irish Unionists portrayed as either Quisling-esque collaborationists or an elite governing class. The fact that many contemporary Irishmen regarded the revolutionaries of 1916 as extremists was also ignored for some time.
None of this is an attempt to justify the colonisation of Ireland - just an example of how historical nuance is lost in this, and many other cases, because post-revolution, it is necessary to create a historicistic narrative which justifies the revolution - partly because the authorities have an incentive to do so, and partly because the people of the country feel the need to.
So yeah, a long-winded way of saying, I wouldn't necessarily accept your schoolteachers' accounts of the evils of the French Empire without qualification, but take them with a pinch of salt. Consider at least that they may be either exaggerated, or else true, but selectively chosen.