BRITISH COLUMBIA (NEWS 1130) —Heading into the new year, BC still has to fill hundreds of teaching jobs.
‘As of the last week of school before the winter break, there were about 400 positions yet to be filled in the province, across 60 school districts.’
Glen Hansman, President of the BC Teachers’ Federation says unaffordability is pushing teachers out of BC, to provinces that offer higher wages. He says in order to keep up with BC’s growth and the jump in public school enrolment, the provincial government needs to do more.
‘Teachers aren’t replaced when they are ill. because of that, students aren’t getting their small group support they are entitled to because of a disability or reading challenges, or any number of reasons. Those kids are being denied those services, and we still have a lot of jobs needing to be filled.’
Hansman adds districts in the Interior are so short-staffed, they’re hiring non-certified individuals to teach in schools. ‘There’s a historically high number of individuals who aren’t teachers at all. they aren’t certified, not trained as teachers, but they don’t have enough qualified and certified people they can hire and keep.’
He adds it’s an issue that’s gotten worse over time.
‘Every school year there are jobs in December and January because of maternity leaves, or because people retire midyear. But not in these numbers and not to the degree we are seeing right now.’
Hansman says the impact of the shortage is being felt in classrooms, as students miss out supports from the province.
‘The kids are still there, children are still coming to school, high school students are still coming to high school, so we have to make sure there are qualified teachers working with them everyday.’