Substitute teacher shortage in Alberta

Parents are sometime filling in for teachers in Alberta schools as students become the latest to experience the province's labour shortage.

Parents are sometime filling in for teachers in Albertaschools as studentsbecome the latest to experiencetheprovince's labour shortage.

In Alberta's tight labour market, substitute teachers are in short supply and administrators say they're forced to be creative.

"It's certainly not an ideal situation," said Nicole Merrifield with the Grande Yellowhead Regional Division, west of Edmonton.

"Classroom supervisors are certainly the last option that we look at."

Schools like Evansview elementary in Evansburg are using teachers' assistants, who aren't qualified to teach, to look after kids in classrooms.But when an assistant can't be found, parents are being called in.

When this happens, the assistants or parents don't teach, they just monitor the students, says Merrifield.

Practice is questionable: union

Frank Bruseker, president of the Alberta Teachers' Association, saidthe practice is happening across the province.

"I've been hearing more of it in this current school year that we're in right now. And I know it's not just in rural Alberta," he said. "I heard this from our big city locals both in Edmonton and Calgary."

He said while he is not surprised, theapproach isquestionable.

"In order to stand in front of a class and deliver instruction, you're supposed to be a certificated teacher holding a certificate granted by the minister of education."

Bruseker said he isworried that as long as Alberta's roaring economy keeps providing higher paying jobs, the substitute shortage won't go away. But hesaid having a teacher's assistant or a parent help out is better than having no one in the classroom.