The lack of substitute teachers continues to be felt in New Brunswick schools and even encourages districts to make appeals to parents to find new teachers.
At the most important francophone school board in the province, the Southern District, the pool of substitutes has fallen by almost half since last year – from 430 down to 250.
The shortage is such that it forces principals to do “a little gymnastics” to avoid leaving pupils unattended, says Monique Boudreau, Executive Director of the French-speaking School District South.
“We have to ask another staff member if he has a period of preparation, if he can take the class, so it really causes problems, then we have to respect the teachers’ collective agreement as well …” a teacher can not supervise 50 students inside a classroom. ”
Sometimes school principals have to go to classrooms themselves when there is no other solution.
Call to all
The Southern District is so short of substitutes that it has launched an appeal to parents, during meetings with parents held at the beginning of the school year.
The situation is a matter of concern to the New Brunswick Francophone Teachers’ Association (AEFNB).
“We are worried about the quality of the education they will receive on a day when there is no substitute,” says Lucie Martin, president of the association. must drop their period of preparation or who must join several classes together to ensure accompaniment to all our students is certainly problematic. ”
Competition of immersion
The shortage has worsened since the Government of New Brunswick brought French immersion back to the first year level in Anglophone schools in the province. Many francophone teachers who were looking for a job were able to get a full-time position.
Another factor is that fewer and fewer students are choosing a teaching career. Six years ago, 150 graduates were leaving the Faculty of Education at the Université de Moncton. Last spring, only 50 students graduated.
The baccalaureate is not required
In order to compensate, the Southern District is prepared to accept candidates who do not have a university degree in alternate positions, even if they are to be trained.
“From training, orientation sessions, even the possibility of going to school as an internship, it can even be an orientation day and that person will be able to follow a teacher as soon as he arrives at the school, until the children leave to take the bus. We will explain everything to them in terms of safety, supervision in the classroom … ”
Faced with requirements that seem to have declined with regard to candidates, parents are divided. Dawn Després-Smyth, for example, would have preferred that the baccalaureate remain for deputies.
“I’m a little surprised, honestly, because I guess when I send my children to school, they find themselves in competent hands, people who have gone through post secondary education. ..] To have such low standards for substitutes, it disappoints me a little. ”
Another mother we met, Rosalba Santori, believes that candidates with some university education may have sufficient skills to teach students.