Add Langley to the list of B.C. school districts looking to hire uncertified teachers.
School District #35 is the latest to post a position for substitute teachers without provincial certification as it tries to deal with a labour shortage.
“Currently we have a lack of teachers on call, so when a teacher is absent then it’s the non-enrolling teachers, resource teachers or ELL (English language learner) or teacher-librarian getting pulled to cover a class,” Langley Teachers’ Association president Tanya Kerr said.
“And then they’re not able to do their work, so the learning is impacted not just by the student who may have special needs … it’s also the other kids in the class who are missing out.”
The Chilliwack School District recently moved to recruit uncertified teachers to fill on-call positions as well, and job posting boards show similar positions available in Merritt, Prince George and Hope as well.
Short-staffed Chilliwack schools hiring uncertified teachers
The Langley position requires an applicant to have a Bachelor’s degree, and specifies a preference for recent teaching experience.
It also calls for a “letter of permission” from the Teacher Regulation Branch.
Kerr said the Langley district has used uncertified teachers for specialist positions in the past, such as technology education or a specialized hairdressing program, but never for a generalist teacher.
She said she’s heard concern from members that the hiring decision isn’t just a temporary fix, but could turn into something bigger.
Teachers, she said, want the district and the province to do more to recruit and retrain qualified professionals.
Teacher shortage has some districts seeking uncertified substitutes
“I think with the uncertified teachers there may be a whole new set of problems that we’re going to see — these people might have experience, maybe they’ve been a coach or something else, so they might have worked with kids, but do they have classroom management strategies, can they differentiate learning?” she said.
“We have teachers upset they are hiring uncertified teachers, but they’re also upset because they’re being pulled from their position to cover classes. So we’re not in a winning situation here unless we can hire more certified teachers. And who is missing out is the students.”
Kerr said the best fit for the position would be someone who was trained as a teacher outside of Canada and is still working to get their certification here, or a retired teacher who has allowed their certification to lapse.
In a statement, the Ministry of Education said it was working closely with districts to support them as it addresses labour pressures in the province.
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