Shortage of teachers: still classes without a teacher

Shortage of teachers: still classes without teachers

UPDATE DAY

After a week of school, many students still do not have an assigned teacher in certain classes and are busy on their cell phones in class, while substitutes follow one another and directions s tearing their hair out recruiting staff.

“I'm starting to get really, really worried,” admits Annie Bélanger, a mother from Terrebonne. 

For the For the second year in a row, his 15-year-old son is going back to school without a math teacher. 

Last year, he attended a school in Rivière-des-Prairies, Montreal. For weeks, he watched the substitutes parade. The teacher who ended up taking the class was not a math major.

For months, her son “didn't understand anything”, like most of the class, says Ms. Bélanger. “It went from 88% to 72%”, she illustrates. 

The small family then moved to Terrebonne at the beginning of winter, and the child was therefore able to finish the year in style at the Armand-Corbeil school. But this fall, the scenario is repeated. 

“The substitutes tell them: “Take your phone and do what you want”, reports Ms. Bélanger.

“This is not the instruction that was given,” explains Éric Ladouceur, of the general secretariat of the Affluents school service center, where there are still six high school math teaching positions to be filled. 

In the meantime, recovery periods are offered to these students, he says. “We want as much stability as possible. »

Worse than before

In mid-August, the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, assured La Presse that there would be a teacher in each class for the start of the school year. But on the ground, the situation is alarming. 

“It's the worst year,” sighs Nicolas Prévost, president of the Quebec Federation of Educational Establishment Directors (FQDE).&nbsp ;

As of Sunday, there were still 150 full-time positions to be filled just in the schools of the 2,200 members that the Federation represents, according to an in-house survey. 

Nicolas Prévost gives approximate figures to illustrate the portrait: if it lacked 700 teachers at the beginning of the year, the network could recruit a hundred per day, on average. This year, he estimates the figure at 30 or 40.  

Musical chair

“We go through plan A, plan B, plan C. And despite everything, I still have no more options. »

We can therefore already believe that some groups will not have a stable teacher for weeks or even months. “Or [undergo] a musical chair in the classes which will have three, four, five different teachers during the year”, fears Mr. Prévost. 

Because in addition to recruitment, the retention of the staff is also difficult, recalls Kathleen Legault, president of the Montreal Association of School Principals (AMDES). 

“A director told me that one of her teachers came to give her course in the morning and then gave her keys at dinner time, ”she illustrates.  

'Bad timing' for struggling students 

The shortage that leaves some classes without teachers comes at the worst time for struggling students, who have fallen behind due to the two pandemic years. < /p>

Nancy Lyonnais' son, Wylliam 12 years old, has just started secondary school at the Bernard-Gariépy school in Sorel-Tracy. Since the start of the school year, he has only had substitute teachers in his math classes.

Before the pandemic, the boy had ease in this matter. But with distance learning, he has fallen behind, says his mother. “If it lasts too long, I'll take the bull by the horns and seek help elsewhere,” she says impatiently.

For her, as for many parents, it is a very “bad timing” to now have to suffer the adverse effects of the staff shortage. 

Less student services

“The pandemic has left its mark, but our specialized resources are busy elsewhere or are not there,” laments Kathleen Legault of the Montreal Association of School Principals (AMDES).

“Everyone world is under pressure. We are still running to find adults to watch over our students. There is also a lack of staff in daycare services, there is a lack of bus drivers, ”she lists.

In some cases, the only solution to the shortage is to assign classes or lessons to remedial teachers, special educators and other workers who are supposed to support students in difficulty. 

Not informed< /strong>

It was from the mouth of their own child that the two mothers interviewed learned that he did not yet have a math teacher. 

« Parent meetings begin this week, notes Sylvain Martel of the Regroupement des Comités de Parents Autonomes. Some parents who were unaware of the impact of the lack of teachers could therefore have a bad surprise in the coming days. »

At the time of publication, neither the Center de services scolaire de Sorel-Tracy, nor that of Pointe-de-l'Île, nor the Ministry of Education had answered our questions. .

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