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Most New Education Grads Happy with Their Teaching Jobs

The most recent College of Teachers study of new Ontario teachers found that fully 96 per cent report that they are employed as teachers—and that most of these new teachers are satisfied with their entry to teaching.

More than four out of five of these first-year teachers express overall satisfaction with their initial teaching experience, with just 18 per cent reporting overall dissatisfaction. As one teacher described her new profession, “very rewarding, incredibly demanding—I love it!”

Most Education Grads Enter Teaching

In April, the College’s Transition to Teaching study surveyed a large sample of the 6,800 graduates of the province’s faculties of education as they neared completion of their first year as Ontario teachers. The province’s retirement- driven teacher shortage means a welcoming market for most new teachers. Not only did almost everyone find a teaching job in the first year—slightly more than three out of four obtained

regular teaching posts and another 13 per cent found long-term occasional appointments. Ten per cent reported that they were teaching on an occasional or substitute basis.

In this high demand employment market for teachers, the success of Ontario’s faculties of education in preparing new teachers is a boon to the province’s school boards. Over the past three years, faculties increased their intake of teacher education candidates by more than 1,500 annually.

An earlier College study found that almost 99 per cent of the 2001 graduates reported they will continue with their plans for a teaching career. Indeed, fully 98 per cent of them joined the College of Teachers. Now this latest College study finds that almost all of these new members of the profession are in teaching jobs in Ontario’s school boards.

Match Training to Assignment

The majority of first-year teachers report an excellent or good match of their teacher education qualifications to their teaching assignments, although one in four expressed some dissatisfaction with their placement in this regard. More than one in seven (16 per cent) of these first-year teachers who now teach in elementary schools actually earned their initial teacher education qualifications at the Intermediate/Senior level. Only four per cent of first-year secondary teachers report initial certification as Primary/Junior teachers.

Some first-year teachers found the shift to a division for which they were not trained to be a positive move in the end. As one concluded, “I am intermediate/Senior certified, but I am very happy teaching elementary school and plan to remain in the elementary panel for some time.” Some teachers who cross over divisions to take a first teaching job completed an Additional Basic Qualification (ABQ) to support their career change. Fully 16 per cent of the recent graduates in this study report having completed an ABQ.

Most first-year teachers report that they are well prepared for teaching and that they have found some helpful source of support as they begin their chosen profession. First-year teacher reflections on their teacher education are mainly positive. More than seven in 10 respondents expressed overall satisfaction with their teacher education preparation, with 20 per cent reporting some dissatisfaction and only seven per cent expressing unqualified dissatisfaction. Ninety per cent said they were satisfied with the teaching practicum part of their education program, while 64 per cent judged the teacher education courses to be satisfactory.

At the same time, many commented on the challenges and demands of their first classroom. As one elementary teacher commented, “First-year teaching is organized chaos that involves more marking than I ever could have imagined.” And another: “I wish someone had warned me about how tough teaching can become if you aren’t really prepared and organized in advance of your first year. I also wish I had received more of an orientation and one-on-one mentoring, and knew what was expected of me.”

Inconsistent Support

Sources of support vary widely for new teachers, with little consistent pattern in school board programs that assist new teacher induction to the profession. Just over 51 per cent reported satisfaction with school board orientation to teaching, with 20 per cent rating it somewhat unsatisfactory and another 28 per cent who say that orientation was unsatisfactory or non-existent.

One-half of new teachers identified formal or informal mentoring relationships to be a satisfactory assistance in their first year, 15 per cent found mentoring to be unsatisfactory or non-existent.

The range of comments on mentoring was striking, from praise and gratitude for generous support of experienced teachers to desperate pleas for someone to come to their rescue.

As one new teacher reported, “The teachers have been really supportive. I share the class with the vice-principal. She is a wonderful mentor.” And another: “I am completely isolated in my job. No mentor has been assigned to me. All the other teachers in the school have been teaching for 10+ years and keep to themselves."

More than half of those who responded to the College survey were dissatisfied with school board in-service and with the classroom resources available to them.

Few Leave Profession

Nine in 10 first-year teachers expect to teach in Ontario next year. Nearly onehalf of these new teachers, however, expect or plan to change teaching jobs. Four per cent report they will try teaching outside the province.

Six per cent do not plan to teach next year. Most of this group are taking a break from the profession for family, study or other reasons.

The survey found only two per cent who plan to quit teaching altogether after their first year in the profession.

Frank McIntyre is the College’s human resources consultant. He can be reached at


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