It is a widely held belief that Southern Ontario’s teaching job market is completely over saturated to the point where graduates leaving teacher’s college will have to emigrate great distances in order to find employment.
Over the past few decades, Brock University has garnered a distinguished reputation for its various education programs. Graduating high school students around Ontario, Canada and even the world are attracted to Brock’s education programs because of its reputation for more in-school practicum experience, more opportunities to cultivate a unique set of experiences and knowledge, and more exposure to courses focused on special education and the arts compared to other graduate programs.
“For over two decades now, the Teacher Education program at Brock has developed and maintained the reputation for consistently graduating the best. School board administrators often comment that they seek out our graduates first in the hiring process,” said Candace Figg, the Chair of the Department of Teacher Education.
For many, if not all, education students, the state of the teaching job market is of extreme importance to many students. The market holds implications for the public as well because its health and vitality directly affects the quality of education.
However, students are expressing concerns about the state of the job market and the lack of jobs.
“The market’s not very good because there’s too many graduates and not enough positions and theres not enough teachers retiring to give their spot to the graduates,” said Samantha McDonald who graduated from the Faculty of Education in April 2015 but is still seeking a teaching job.
These concerns are well founded if graduates wish to remain in Southern Ontario when finding employment.
“Currently, four to five years of supply teaching has been quoted as an expectation,” said Figg.
This number varies greatly from school board to school board as factors like population growth and specialty demographics (for example, the need for Aboriginal education) influence teacher hiring.
“Ontario is a highly desirable location for the teaching profession. Teachers will tell you that they love teaching in Ontario schools because of the many professional supports available (from the ministry, the school boards, and the unions), the appropriate pay, and the general admiration found in Ontario for teachers and the valuable contribution they make to children and communities,” said Figg.
With this surplus of teachers, the Ministry of Education has taken liberties and made changes to the Bachelor of Education requirements. The previous one year program has now been expanded to two years. Brock implemented this new program in the fall of 2015.
Despite the current state of the teaching job market, some education graduates do get full time teaching jobs right out of teacher’s college. Vanessa Lepp, for example, graduated from Brock’s Concurrent Education program in April 2015 and went to work as a French teacher at Wheatley Private School in St. Catharines in September of the same year.
Lepp was working part time at Costco this summer when she ran into her grade eight teacher. Lepp kept in contact with this teacher using social media and in their brief meeting, she told the teacher she was seeking employment. Within two weeks, the teacher sent Lepp a Facebook message saying that he knew someone that worked at Wheatley Private School and a French teaching position was opening. Lepp contacted the school and within four days, she had an interview. Four weeks later, she received an email saying that she got the job.
“Since I’m working at a private school, I’m teaching a curriculum called International Baccalaureate (IB) and I’d never heard of it before. I was only exposed to the Ontario curriculum during my undergrad and not IB. Brock caters to public and Catholic school systems which is great. Just be aware that there are other curricula out there like Montessori that you may have never been exposed to,” said Lepp.
Another opportunity is teaching overseas. Lepp has several friends that are currently teaching in China. Other Brock alumni have gone onto work for educational technology companies such as SMART, Desire2Learn or even SAKAI.
It is also important to keep up to date with policy concerning the teaching job market. Within the Education Act under Ontario Regulation 274/12, dealing with hiring practices, the policy outlines how school boards are to conduct their hiring and creation of part time teacher rosters. For example, under ‘Assignments or appointments to permanent positions’ section (3) subsection (a) states that teachers from the long-term occasional teachers list are to be interviewed for full time employment if they “have completed a long-term assignment in a school of the board that was at least four months long and in respect of which the teacher has not received an unsatisfactory evaluation.” This means that having completed their fifth-year practicum will give an individual an advantage in securing an interview.
Figg believes that now is the best time to be enrolled in a teaching program. The changing educational landscape is creating many other opportunities: the online teaching market, employee training for online companies and businesses, museums hire graduates to curate and manage educational museum exhibits, and other countries openly recruit Ontario graduates to go abroad and teach internationally.
Assistant Campus News Editor