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French-Language Program Grads Head for French and English Boards
Most graduates of Ontario’s French-language teacher education programs report that they plan to teach in the province. Ontario’s French school boards, however, face vigorous competition for these new bilingual educators from English school boards, private schools and schools outside the province.
Forty per cent of the 427 French graduates of 2001 responded to the College’s first Transition to Teaching survey last spring. As with their English program counterparts, almost all (97.1 per cent) plan to follow through with a career in teaching. Five per cent of them reported looking outside the province for their first teaching job, with three quarters of these planning eventually to return to Ontario. Two per cent of those who plan to teach first in Ontario said they would defer their teaching careers, at least until the following year.
Overall, the survey showed that 90 per cent of the current French program graduates were in the market for Ontario teaching jobs in 2001.
The College survey explored the preferences of French program graduates in regard to type of school board they hope to teach for. Almost 70 per cent chose French-language school boards — 35 per cent French Catholic and nine per cent French public, with 25 per cent open to either type of French-language board.
The remaining 30 per cent of graduates were either open to a variety of English and French board options (20 per cent) or had chosen to focus solely on English public (six per cent), English Catholic (three per cent) or private school (one per cent) options.
By the end of June 2001, 51 per cent of French-language graduates in 2001 already had teaching positions. Twenty per cent of them had jobs in English-language school boards or private schools, with 63 per cent reporting French Catholic and eight per cent French public school board employment. Nine per cent advised that they had jobs outside Ontario.
The majority of those reporting they had teaching jobs in June had probationary contracts (45.5 per cent) or long-term occasional contracts (25 per cent). The remainder had occasional teaching commitments or did not report the type of employment contract.
Early success in finding teaching jobs is evident across divisions of qualifications for French language graduates. Primary-Junior qualified graduates led the field with 53 per cent reporting teaching jobs in June, followed closely by Intermediate-Senior at 52 per cent and Junior-Intermediate at 46 per cent.
The employment market for Ontario French-language program graduates is highly competitive. Not only did more than half of the graduates already have teaching positions more than two months before the start of the school year, but of those with jobs, almost 30 per cent had already accepted jobs outside Ontario, in English public or English Catholic school boards, or in private schools.
The French program graduates of 2001 entered their careers with a high degree of optimism. Ninety per cent of those who reported they were already employed said they were satisfied with their first teaching job. Of those not employed by June, most were optimistic about obtaining a teaching job (82.5 per cent) or expressed some uncertainty (7.5 per cent). Only 10 per cent of those not then employed — five per cent of the total graduating class looking to teach in Ontario immediately — were pessimistic about gaining an Ontario teaching job that year.
These new teachers have a very high level of openness to assuming leadership roles at some point in their careers. Only 32 per cent reported no aspiration to an administrative role. Thirteen per cent are interested in department headships, 36 per cent said they hope to become vice-principals or principals, six per cent aspire to superintendent positions and another 12 per cent said they would seek a variety of levels of administrative leadership roles throughout their careers.
This survey is the first phase of the College’s study, Transition to Teaching, which is done with encouragement of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and financial support from the Ministry of Education. The province’s faculties of education mailed the survey in June 2001 to about 6,000 teacher education graduates.
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