by Frank McIntyre
by Alex Bozikovic
by Melodie McCullough
Transition to Teaching
In stark contrast to the plight of new graduates entering the English-language teacher market, job opportunities for new teachers who can teach in French remain plentiful. Most continue to find regular employment easily and early in their careers. The Transition to Teaching survey of the graduating class of 2006 found that fully 96 per cent of them had teaching jobs in the 2006–07 school year.
French-language school boards hire new graduates in regular contracts in the first year at much higher rates than English-language school boards. Among graduates of French-language teacher education programs who were teaching in spring 2007, about two in three (64 per cent) held regular teaching jobs. This employment rate is similar to the 67 to 70 per cent rate reported by comparable first-year teachers in each of the past four years. More than four in five (83 per cent) say they taught as much as they wanted in their first year in the profession. Only four per cent say they were not able to find any teaching job. By year end, only five per cent still relied on daily occasional assignments for their teaching employment.
The province’s graduates from French-language programs at Laurentian University and the University of Ottawa are quickly recruited far and wide.
Percentage of first-year teachers with regular teaching contracts
Three in four (76 per cent) report teaching contracts with Ontario French-language school boards. About one in seven (14 per cent) teach outside Ontario, most of these in Québec, with some reporting jobs in Manitoba and New Brunswick. The remainder have found work in Ontario’s English-language school boards (seven per cent) or independent schools (three per cent).
Job opportunities abound at all levels for new French-language program graduates. Sixty per cent of primary-junior and technological studies teachers found regular teaching jobs in 2006–07. This compares with 67 per cent of those with junior-intermediate and 69 per cent of those with intermediate-senior qualifications.
The French-language program graduates who are hired by the province’s English-language school boards are part of the hottest teacher-employment market in Ontario today. The boards scramble each year to fill their substantial French as a Second Language (FSL) teaching needs. Some new FSL teachers are graduates of French-language teacher education programs. Most are English-language program graduates who can teach in French, but often do not have French as a Second Language teacher education qualifications when first hired.
Three quarters of new French-language teachers in English-language boards have secured regular teaching positions, more than double the success rate for English-language teachers and even better than the strong success rate for teachers in French-language school boards.
While both of these French-language employment markets continue to absorb the graduates of Laurentian and Ottawa and other new teachers who are able to teach in French, demand for English-language teachers in Ontario has collapsed over the past three years. With the quickly mounting surpluses of English-language teachers in Ontario, that employment market is now brutally competitive. Fewer than one in three first-year English-language teachers (32 per cent) report that they found regular jobs in the last school year. Nearly two in five (38 per cent) say they did not find enough occasional, contract or regular employment to teach as much as they wanted in their first year in the profession.
Ensuring the future of French-language education
The College is partnering with the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (FESFO) to establish a province-wide project known as Journées carrières en éducation that can begin to address the shortage of francophone teachers in the province. These careers-in-education days feature activities organized in collaboration with the high schools to familiarize young people with employment opportunities in education and the academic requirements they must meet.
The shortage of French-language educators is cause for concern in Ontario, with both the French- and English-language systems facing a serious dearth of qualified professionals who can teach in French.
“It is important to show our young people that they can contribute to the ongoing success of francophone education in this province,” says French-Language Services Co-ordinator Francine Dutrisac. “FESFO has already had some success in offering career days that focus on health and the law, but this will be the first time for a focus on education. With the leadership and experience of our colleagues at FESFO, we anticipate similar success.”
“We’ve heard from superintendants and principals in both French- and English-language school boards across the province about the extent of the shortage and the difficulties they’re having finding qualified teachers,” explains the College’s Deputy Registrar, Lise Roy-Kolbusz.
In response to this issue, awareness days for Grades 11 and 12 students in Ontario’s French-language schools are planned to help sensitize them to career options in education and encourage them to consider employment in teaching. The program is intended to encourage more students to enrol in one of the province’s French-language teacher-education programs, thus creating a larger pool of francophone professionals to meet the needs. Five part-time or full-time French-language teacher-education programs are offered in Ontario by the University of Ottawa and Laurentian University.
Transition to Teaching 2007