Already the mess and exhaustion after two weeks of school

Already a mess and exhaustion after two weeks of being exhausted school

DAY

An educator who takes care of 32 little ones. A school where half of the educators are missing. It is in the daycare service that the shortage of staff hits the hardest in the schools, to the point of causing the ratios to explode.

“It's scary”, says Frédérique*, an educator with 20 years of experience in school daycare. 

In her school in Mauricie, there is such a shortage of staff that every lunchtime, she is alone to take care of two groups children aged 4 or 5. 

The young people are divided into two classes. When she's with a group, no adult is there to check on the other, she says. clean […] There are some who do not know how to open their lunch box […] At the beginning of the year like that, I cannot say that it is not a mess, ”let you -she fall.

The shortage of personnel is glaring everywhere in the schools of Quebec. But according to many stakeholders interviewed, it is in daycare services that the situation is most serious.

For example, at the Center de services scolaire (CSS) in Chemin-du-Roy, in the corner of Trois-Rivières, there were still 51 people to be found in daycare as of Monday. At CSS de Montréal, 92.

Inflated

According to the Education Act, daycare ratios should not exceed 20 students for an adult. 

But regularly, these ratios are inflated to avoid service failures, observes Annie Charland, president of the school sector at the Federation of Public Service Employees (FEESP-CSN).

“Imagine if we did service failures. Each person who is absent would be 20 students without daycare.”

Educators must therefore be like “octopuses”, image Ms. Charland. 

“C 's supposed to be educational activities, but we forget that: it's just surveillance.” 

“Help with homework, we are not able [to offer the service]”, admits Denis*, principal of a school in Quebec.  

This week, he missing six adults out of the 12 it would need. 

“The consequence is staff burnout. Already there, we can feel it,” he says, two weeks after the start of the school year.

Security

Some even fear for the safety of young people, such as Sylvie*, a daycare technician from the South Shore of Montreal. 

She recalls that in a day, some children spend more time at daycare than with their teacher.

“You know, when you're alone with 27 Grade 1 students…”, begins she. 

She would have liked to speak at length to the Journal yesterday, but she lacked three educators out of the 12 who form the service of which she is the manager . 

No choice to go down on the floor herself to take care of a group. 

*Fictional names. The people in the field interviewed preferred to remain anonymous to avoid reprisals from their CSS.

“Hayspit” beginnings for a promising project

A pilot project that was supposed to help recruit more daycare educators and relieve teachers is making a “chaotic” entry into schools.  

“It's haywire. Everyone does anything anyhow,” says Annie Charland of the FEEPS-CSN about the classroom assistance pilot project. 

As of this fall, school workers , including many daycare educators, will be able to support teachers in a hundred schools in Quebec. 

Good idea

This project was considered promising, because if daycare educators are so rare, it is mainly because their cut schedules are not attractive.  

For example, an educator may work from 6:45 a.m. to 9 a.m., then at noon, then from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. She can then spend 11 hours in school and only be paid for 6 hours of work, or even make unwanted trips home. 

“But there are so many things to do in schools,” exclaims Réjeanne Brodeur, of the Association québécoise de la garde scolaire. 

It is therefore a bit absurd to send home educators who could supervise recess, accompany students with special needs in class, help with the secretariat or the library, illustrates Ms. Brodeur. 

Especially that, meanwhile, teachers complain of being overwhelmed with related tasks that have nothing to do with teaching. 

Bisbille

However, for the moment, the implementation of the pilot project is poorly framed, note several speakers. 

Some educators are offered to add blocks of help to the class which only multiply the gaps in their schedule rather than offering them a continuous working day, illustrates Ms. Brodeur. 

What tasks might be required of teaching assistants? What are the boundaries of each role? Who are the researchers supervising the pilot project and what is their research protocol?, asks Mélanie Hubert, president of the Autonomous Federation of Education. 

“We are still waiting for answers of the ministry. We have the impression that it will be variable geometry from one place to another, ”fears Ms. Hubert.

At the time of publication, the Ministry of Education had not responded to our questions.  

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