Monday, October 2, 2023

Training teachers as they teach our children

It’s been a few weeks since the back-to-school bell rang. When the cries and laughter are heard in the schools of Quebec, the unrest of the lack of staff that echoed in the weeks before the start of the school year, is silenced like a classroom being inspected. Fortunately, non-legally qualified teachers are still in a position to plug holes in the system. But what are the solutions to improve the situation?

In addition to teaching at the elementary or secondary level, many of them study at universities to complete their training to obtain their certificate and thus become officially qualified teachers. School service centers and universities have been trying, for many years, to find the best solutions to train them without overwhelming and demoralizing them. Here are three strategies put in place to get there and add more fresh forces.

In Sept-Îles, on the North Shore, we adapted the course to allow them to earn their certificate while receiving an income. Since 2019, work-study training in preschool and elementary education is offered at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi (UQAC). A first group of 12 students will graduate this year. A model that can be replicated almost anywhere in Quebec. And that will be allowed.

A paid but required program

Sarah Pelletier is one of the graduates who will finish her studies after a long 5 year journey. The 23-year-old jumped right into the program after a college diploma in human sciences. He was quickly included in school teams to help. This fall, she subbed every Thursday in kindergarten. He also has a partial teaching assistantship. I am responsible for establishing French activities in the first cycle of elementary school with the teachers., explains one who loves working with the youngest. The rest of his time he spent in his studies.

Teacher Of A Class.

Sarah Pelletier has a great passion for teaching, especially in the first cycle of elementary school.

If Sarah’s schedule is busy with classes and school work, the weekend is also busy with her work and group meetings. He also admitted that he was a little out of breath and was eager to complete his training so he could devote himself full time to teaching. Honestly, the more courses I have, the more I advance in the process, the more contracts. Now, I really can’t wait to finish!

It was in 2017 that the project was formed for this baccalaureate adapted to the reality of the region. The professor of the Department of Science Education, Nicole Monney, says that the Fer school service center approached UQAC to create a customized program for the region.

They realized that they had begun to have serious problems in finding qualified teachers. In Sept-Îles, but also throughout the North Shore.

In this vast region of Quebec, non-legally qualified elementary school teachers, for example, specialist teachers, daycare teachers and even sometimes mothers with 5e secondary school only for diploma. They teach children, due to the lack of available teachers. They do the requested work, but must be qualified to provide the best learning for the children. The agreement we have with the service center is to release his teachers two days a week for study. (This) is the winning factorexplained Nicole Monney, who was also the director of the baccalaureate program in preschool education and primary education.

“More than a quarter of the teachers working in the 2020-2021 school year are not legally qualified. This includes 30,521 teachers, mostly substitutes, who work equal to 8.3% of the total working days of all teachers in 2020-2021. »

The course of PROF

Is it possible to implement such a program in Estrie? The vice-dean for continuing education and graduate studies at the Faculty of Education at the University of Sherbrooke, Nancy Granger, believes that all initiatives that work should be looked at carefully and shared. He even launched the idea of ​​creating a consultation table to identify proven models so that all schools in Quebec can benefit from them. Around the school, we experience situations that we have never experienced before, he explained. So we must try to provide the most rigorous and valid solutions possible.

One of the paths found at the University of Sherbrooke is the establishment, a few months ago, of the PROF Pathway. This summer, nearly 200 teachers sacrificed part of their summer vacation to receive this training available in two courses, either a microprogram or a certificate. Two hundred other unqualified teachers from across Quebec have registered this fall for these training courses offered online. Courses that allow us to develop, to develop our employability skills to develop fundamentals, to teach students, explained Nancy Granger. Other groups are planned in the coming months to meet demand. The school’s service centers refer their employees and encourage them to follow this university path.

An Empty Classroom;  Pencils In Front.

Non-legally qualified teachers represent a quarter of the workforce in Quebec schools. They completed less than 10% of the hours worked by all teachers.

Although on the surface the idea seems perfect, it is not the case. The training allows non-legally qualified teachers to “improve their employability skills”, but does not provide the desired role, Nancy Granger points out. It allows you to improve your skills, but not to get your teaching certificate at the moment (…) We are experiencing situations that we have never experienced before, so we are trying to provide ways for progress. the most rigorous and valid solutions possible (…) The airplane is flying and we are building it at the same time.

People who are not legally qualified are not new. It has always existed. It’s just that the increasing number is a concern. If they are not qualified, we must organize for them.

Graduates in classrooms

While the unqualified are busy regularizing their status, prospective teachers who are about to qualify are knocking on the doors of school service centers. For the first time at the University of Sherbrooke, a structure has been created to allow students who wish to accept teaching contracts in Quebec schools before obtaining their certificate.

But before pocketing their first salary, they must be hired full time and get approval from their program management. Some accept a contract to replace sick leave for a few months and others hold a full class for the whole year.

Through all this, student workers can complete their general education remotely. This year, 41 graduates volunteered to be deployed in schools throughout the province, or a third of the group. Nearly half have already secured a commitment to a school.

A Male Interviewee.

The University of Sherbrooke now offers its graduates the possibility of accepting full-time contracts in the last year of their baccalaureate.

Pierre-Alain Filippi, professor in the Department of Preschool and Primary Education at the Faculty of Education at the University of Sherbrooke, sees many advantages including better integration into the job market. In professional integration, they are allowed to have experience that opens up other perspectives than the regular internship. Independently managing a class all the time is not the same.

This early jump into the world of work also helps improve the retention of new teachers, many of whom drop out within the first five years of practice. This is an assumption held by Pierre-Alain Filippi because graduates benefit from good management of their study program and the school that hires them.

We really want to protect our students. There are people in training and the challenge for us is not to put people in classes no matter the cost. (We hope) that our students will finish their year in good condition.

At North Shore, Sarah begins the final part of her training with her fellow students. He has seen several baccalaureate drop outs over the years. Out of 19 at the start, 12 almost reached the finish line. Although at times it was more difficult, especially the summer sessions, his love for teaching did not disappear, on the contrary.

I love that! I can’t see the hours passing. The bell rang at 3:30 pm The kids left, but I stayed because I was so inclined!

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