Schools around Montreal looking for French-speaking teachers
With the school year about to kick off, Montreal’s largest French school board have a problem on their hands. According to a report, the school board is dealing with a teacher shortage.
Student enrolment in French schools has been skyrocketing lately, seeing an increase of over 1000 students each year.
“We’re forecasting for the next five years another 7,000 new students, which means new classrooms and new teachers,” said Marie-Josee Mastromonaco of the Commission Scolaire de Montreal.
The commission said it needed to hire at last 70 full-time teachers and as soon as possible.
The English Montreal School Board in NDG is also facing a shortage of French-speaking teachers.
Some schools are taking the hit really hard because the teachers are needed for subjects like maths and history.
“French teachers have become more difficult to find because of the refugee influx,” said EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen. “The French board got a lot of students who were not eligible for our board; therefore the need for French teachers became much more significant.”
One of the reasons for this teacher shortage is the entry-level salary for teachers.
One of the reasons for the shortage is the salaries of entry-level teachers. On Wednesday, August 29, Philippe Couillard announced that if he’s re-elected, he‘d increase the starting salary for teachers from $45,000 to $53,000.
School boards across the nation are doing all they can to attract French-speaking teachers amidst the soaring countrywide demand for French immersion classes.
“It’s really exciting,” Larissa Girvan, who will soon graduate from McGill University’s education program, told CTV Newsat a recent job fair. “I mean, just to hear that they’re ready to fast-track me if I contact them right away and that there are 10 positions ready to go.”
French-speaking teachers like Girvan will have their pick when it comes to landing teaching jobs. This is unlike the fate of other teachers who typically spend months, even years, switching schools before they can get a permanent job.
In the last five years, the number of students that have enrolled in the French Immersion program has increased by 65,000. This bittersweet news has led to long waitlists for students, and a shortage of qualified tutors. In some provinces, parents even camp out for days just so they can secure a spot for their children in the program.
“I think it says that parents understand the opportunity to give their children the ability to converse and speak and think and (interact) and engage with different cultures and different languages,” Fiona Benson, McGill University’s associate dean of academic programs, said.
The soaring demand for French classes has school boards all over the country desperately trying to look for teachers. Back in September of 2017, the Halifax Regional School board was clamoring to fill 33 vacant positions. To combat the growing demand, several universities are now encouraging education to become more proficient in French.
“Just the lack of candidates,” Vicky Crandall, the human resources manager of southern Ontario’s Upper Grand District School Board, explained. “That’s what makes it so challenging with the French skills and the French qualifications.”