Manitoba school divisions seek ‘uncertified’ substitute teachers amid shortage – Winnipeg

Faced with staffing shortages, Manitoba school divisions are looking to hire substitute teachers, whether certified or not.

According to the Manitoba Teachers Society, the use of uncertified teachers has been going on for years in rural areas.

“Quite frankly, there has been a shortage of certified surrogates in rural areas for a number of years,” says James Bedford, president of the Society.

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School divisions in Brandon, Sunrise and Western all have alternate job postings, but do not require applicants to be certified teachers.

The postings target candidates who have different backgrounds and a varied education and who are interested in working with children and young people.

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Additionally, they must pass both a criminal record and a child abuse registry check.

Photo of Brandon School Division job posting.

Brandon School Division

Photo of Sunrise School Division job posting.

Sunrise School Division Job Posting

Photo of the Western School Division job posting.

Western School Division Job Posting

Bedford says major urban centers like Winnipeg and Brandon haven’t traditionally lacked substitutes, but that’s no longer the case.

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The Brandon School Division says it increased its subscriber count by 50 from November 2021 to November 2022, but it wasn’t enough.

“There are many times when there are not enough substitute teachers available to cover all of our classroom positions and we were concerned about the impact on our teachers’ preparation time,” said Mathew Gustafson, superintendent. of the Brandon School Division.

The job posting for non-certified substitute teachers was posted in the fall, and Gustafson says it’s been a very thorough process.

“We try to take advantage of their strengths. And so they may have areas where they prefer to fill.

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Candidates go through a selection process during which they are interviewed by administrators who then make a second selection.

From there, successful candidates attend a training session where they learn strategies and gain a better understanding of what the job would be like.

“(It’s) to make sure they succeed because at the end of the day, we want them to be as successful as possible and to be a good experience for them and the students.”

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“Then these candidates then do an observation internship with the current teacher in their chosen field,” Gustafson added.

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Retired teachers called to return to class

Bedford says the absolute preference is to have certified teachers in the classroom because they have a lot of knowledge and experience.

“You have to remember that, you know, a teacher’s job is complex.”

“It’s five years of preparation, study time, time within the university, which involves a considerable amount of time spent on practical work in the classroom, learning to teach with a certified teacher.

And a layer on top of that is a considerable amount of experience. It’s more than just familiarity with a subject you’re going to teach or just familiarity with having worked with children in the past.

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Retired teacher David Harkness says the classroom is still where he loves to be and even after 10 years of retirement he still comes back to fill in. Retired teachers play a key role in filling vacant supply positions.

“I still do subtitling because it amuses me and makes me smile.”

Harkness agrees there is a problem with uncertified people teaching children, but it’s better than nobody and jobs in education need to be more economically and psychologically attractive.

“When you see cuts in education, you’re going to see cuts in people who are ready to go to school,” he says.

Manitoba Education Minister Wayne Ewasko says the province is looking for solutions to persistent shortages.

“I think it’s something where myself and the department are working with these education partners on best practices and how we can encourage more and more people to get into the field, but know that this isn’t something we didn’t potentially see coming. ”

–wwith files from Teagan Rasche of Global News

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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