Learning and Education 3830 Views

Nunavut Isn’t The Only Place Struggling to Recruit Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers

According to a news report, schools in Nunavut are short-staffed and currently struggling to fill over 60 vacant teaching positions before the start of the school term. But according to the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Teachers association Dean Ingram, Nunavut is not the only place looking to attract much-needed teachers.

The need for new teachers even delayed the school resumption year for students in Igloolik.

The NLTA President Dean Ingram had this to say to CBC’s On The Go “Historically, there's always been a large number of Newfoundland-Labradorian teachers that actually do find their way to Nunavut.”

Most times, its retired teachers in Newfoundland and Labrador or new ones trying to gain experience who typically head north Ingram said.

He continued to say that lately, Nunavut seems to be having a tough time recruiting new teachers from the province.

Nunavut isn’t alone in the search for new teachers. Territories like British Columbia and New Brunswick are also desperately in need of new teachers.

Moreover, teachers from Newfoundland and Labrador that are typically in high demand in these territories are looking for better compensation and working conditions, Ingram said

The association head conceded that although there aren’t any teacher vacancies expected in the province for the upcoming school year, it doesn’t mean that these territories have enough teachers.

“Are there enough positions in the system to meet the needs of the education system? That's a different debate," he said.

Even with class sizes increasing consistently, class size issues persist.

Substitute teachers are also needed in some parts of the province, Ingram said.

Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay are particularly in need of substitutes to fill in whenever the regular teachers need to take some time off.

“It's not simply a rural issue,” he said.

The director of Corporate Services at Nunavut’s Department of Education, Heather Moffett also stated that the amount of vacancies this year is worse than the previous years.

"There are a number of things that the schools are doing to ensure student safety and student learning are not affected by the shortage," she said.

"But there are going to be a few communities where it's not going to be possible for the school to open for all grades at the beginning of the year."

Schools in Clyde River, Arctic Bay, Kimmirut, and Cape Dorset are also experiencing teacher shortages.

“We still have a number of vacancies that we don't have anybody even applying for in some cases,” Moffett said.

Most of the empty teaching positions are concentrated around five communities, meanwhile, in previous years, it was scattered all over the region.

“We're looking at ways to inform the communities and how it will affect their children,”Moffett said. “We take it very seriously.”

One of the solutions the department is proposing for the five short-staffed communities is to hire locals that have some experience working with kids that are of school age, even if they don’t have a teaching degree.