Transition to Teaching 2008

A New Generation of Ontario Teachers

by Frank McIntyre

Ontario’s new teachers across the province are increasingly relying on occasional teaching assignments as their introduction to the teaching profession.

While more than one in three teachers who graduated in 2007 (36 per cent) secured regular jobs in 2008, this year’s study shows a continuation of the trend reported in the College’s Transition to Teaching studies in 2007 (41 per cent regular teaching jobs) and 2006 (51 per cent).

The 2008 numbers are buoyed, however, by the continuing very strong job prospects for French-language graduates able to teach in French-language schools or as French as a Second Language teachers in English-language schools, who find regular teaching jobs with considerable ease.

More than one out of four new Ontario teachers (28 per cent) report they continued in daily supply teaching assignments at year end, and another 36 per cent had secured long-term occasional contracts.


Many teachers who entered the English-language teaching market in earlier years continue to look for opportunities to move on from daily supply teaching assignments to long-term occasional and regular teaching contracts.

This gradual and increasingly extended process toward full entry to the profession results in more competition each year for the next group of first-year teachers and greater reliance on occasional teaching.

Finding any employment in my field was difficult as interviews are granted to occasional teachers or recent graduates with connections. A non-connected faculty of education student would have difficulty getting an interview with any board.

Part-time daily supply teacher,
Primary-Junior, Toronto region

Frustrating – my local board posted a call for occasional teachers in August, did not interview until October and then I could not start until January, by which time I had been forced to find employment in an unrelated field.

Part-time daily supply teacher, Intermediate-Senior,
qualified in visual arts and geography, southwest Ontario

About one in four (27 per cent) first-year English-language teachers responding to this year’s Transition to Teaching survey report they found regular jobs. This falls below the 32 per cent job success rate for the previous year’s English-language teacher education graduates. Two out of five (40 per cent) report they were underemployed in their first year, which is similar to last year’s rate (38 per cent).

Delayed job prospects now evident in all regions and at all grade levels

Job-prospect advantages previously apparent for Toronto-region teachers and for province-wide secondary panel English-language teachers are somewhat diminished from earlier years. The regular job success rate for Toronto-region English-language teachers declined from 45 per cent in 2006-07 to 35 per cent in this year’s survey. One in three (32 per cent) of them reported underemployment in their first year of teaching.

Percentage in regular english-language teaching jobs by spring 2008

Divisions Toronto region Other Ontario regions Total Ontario
Primary-Junior 23 (36)* 18 (17) 20 (25)
Junior-Intermediate 34 (53) 21 (9) 29 (29)
Intermediate-Senior 51 (52) 12 (33) 32 (43)
Technological studies 78 (60) 50 (57) 62 (58)
All divisions 35 (45) 17 (21) 27 (32)

*spring 2007 comparators in brackets

As the overall job market for English-language teachers continues to weaken, with only about one in four securing regular jobs, Intermediate-Senior qualified teachers are increasingly affected. One in three (32 per cent) of these new secondary teachers across the province found regular jobs compared with 43 per cent last year.

The Toronto region continues to provide regular jobs for new secondary teachers, 78 per cent of technological studies teachers and 51 per cent of those in general subjects, well ahead of the rest of the province.

I have found job hunting to be a very challenging and discouraging process. I made calls for months before even getting on the supply list. I feel disposable.

Daily supply teacher qualified in general science and Individual in Society, central Ontario

The growing English-language teacher surplus results in more new teachers starting their careers in daily supply teaching and continuing in occasional roles for longer stretches in their early careers.

More than half (56 per cent) of these 2007 graduates teaching in Ontario started as daily supply teachers and 22 per cent as longer-term occasional teachers. By their first year end, only 27 per cent had found regular jobs. One in three (33 per cent) continued in daily supply roles.


For second-year teachers in the 2007-08 school year, those with regular jobs rose to 57 per cent, with 26 per cent in long-term occasional roles and 17 per cent continuing in daily supply teaching.

The growing place of daily supply teaching in new-teacher careers is especially evident among English-language Primary-Junior teachers.

Over the past seven years, Junior-Intermediate- and Intermediate-Senior-qualified teachers have also spent more time waiting for their own classrooms.

With the further decline in demand for those with general secondary teaching qualifications (32 per cent in regular teaching jobs), certain subject qualifications continue in somewhat higher demand.

English-language graduates with business studies, computer science, mathematics, physics or chemistry as one of their teaching subjects experienced a 41 per cent regular job success rate compared with the 30 per cent rate for graduates with other English-language teaching subjects.

Technological studies qualifications maintain very high demand. More than three out of five (62 per cent) English-language technological studies graduates found regular teaching positions in their first year.

Overall it has been a very educational and gratifying experience for me. This is my second career, having spent 29 years in the automotive industry.

Full-time technological studies teacher, southwest Ontario

Border-college grads and new-to-Ontario teachers have lower job success rates

Although the number of US border-college new Ontario teachers declined from 1,744 in 2006 to 1,594 in 2007, New York and Maine teacher education programs that are designed for Ontarians continue to play a major role in the annual supply of new Ontario teachers.

These new teachers report much lower rates of success in finding teaching employment here than Ontario faculty graduates.

Only 12 per cent of them started in regular jobs, compared with 28 per cent of Ontario program graduates. Almost half (45 per cent) report that they could not find as much teaching as they wanted in their first year in contrast to 32 per cent reported underemployment among Ontario faculty graduates.

It took almost one full year after graduating to even get an interview with a public school board. I am not currently in the teaching profession.

Unemployed US border-college Primary-Junior graduate

The competitive disadvantage is most pronounced among Primary-Junior teachers, the qualifications held by most (77 per cent) border-college graduates.

Fewer us border-college graduates find regular jobs

  Primary-Junior Intermediate-Senior All divisions
Ontario faculties 34 (37)* 42 (52) 39 (44)
US border colleges 15 (16) 35 (28) 18 (19)

*spring 2007 comparators in brackets

New Canadian teachers who completed their teacher education outside the country and received Ontario teaching certificates in 2007 report much lower rates of job success than other new Ontario teachers in the 2007–08 school year.

Nearly half of them (46 per cent) were unable to find even daily supply-teaching employment, while 58 per cent of those with any type of teaching contract said they wanted to teach more than they did, and only one in 12 (eight per cent) managed to get regular teaching contracts in Ontario district school boards.

French-language teaching markets remain strong

The long-term bull market continues in French-language teaching in Ontario. French-language school boards recruit most new teachers into regular teaching jobs in their first year of teaching. Graduates of French-language teacher education programs maintain their very high first-year rates of job success.

New graduates able to teach French as a Second Language in English-language school boards top the list for finding regular jobs in their first year.

I was lucky since French is my mother tongue. My friends were not as lucky. There are not enough positions available teaching in English for them.

English-language-program graduate teaching for French-language school board, eastern Ontario


Most graduates (72 per cent) of the 2007 French-language teacher education programs at Laurentian University and the University of Ottawa teaching in Ontario in the 2007-08 school year say they found regular jobs. (This rate far surpasses the 30 per cent success rate reported by graduates of English-language programs.) Two in five (39 per cent) were hired directly into regular teaching jobs following graduation and another 33 per cent moved up to regular contracts during the first year.

Only 13 per cent of them report they could not find as much employment as they wanted in their first year.

Fully 97 per cent report they were employed in teaching and only one per cent say they were not teaching because they could not find a teaching job they wanted.

Most 2007 French-language teacher education graduates report teaching contracts with Ontario French-language school boards (88 per cent of them).

This is an increase from the 76 per cent hired by these boards the previous year.

First-year teachers in French-language Catholic school boards report the highest rate of regular job success by year end (77 per cent). This rate is closely followed by teachers in French-language public school boards (66 per cent) and greatly outdistances the low rates of regular contract status for all first-year teachers employed in English-language public (32 per cent) and Catholic (20 per cent) school boards.

I was hired immediately during an interview at the university at the end of April.

Primary-Junior teacher in French-language board, French-language-program graduate, Toronto region

I interviewed for a long-term supply position, which I got. However, I had to leave the position a day before the classes were to start to take a regular position. There were many last-minute interviews for job opportunities.

Primary-Junior teacher in French-language board, eastern Ontario

French-language program graduates enjoyed success at both the elementary and secondary levels, with 66 per cent of Primary-Junior graduates and 79 per cent of Intermediate-Senior graduates in regular jobs.

English-language school boards’ French as a Second Language programs continue to provide regular teaching jobs for new graduates who can teach in French. New FSL and French Immersion teachers report a 78 per cent rate of regular job contracts by year end, up slightly from last year’s 75 per cent.

I applied for the French pool hire in my local board, had an interview, got a full position and was assigned a Grade 6/7 French Immersion classroom in June 2007.

Regular contract teacher, Primary-Junior, qualified in FSL, southwest Ontario

I have a background in French but no FSL qualifications. The position I interviewed for was Grade 4 Core French and I was able to obtain a temporary letter of approval.

Elementary teacher, regular contract, Toronto region

The Transition to Teaching study of new teachers in the 2007-08 school year examines the job-entry success and teaching experiences of teacher education graduates of 2003 through 2007 and new-to-Ontario teachers educated outside the province. Survey responses from 3,613 teachers confirm continuation of the two very different education job markets that emerged in Ontario during this decade.

The Transition to Teaching study is made possible by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education. This report does not necessarily reflect the policies, views and requirements of the Ministry.

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