New teachers anxious over job prospects
New teachers attending Memorial University's Faculty of Education job fair Wednesday were nervous about job prospects in light of a new mega-board being developed for the 2013 school year.
Representatives from the province's school boards, which will no longer exist after August, were trying to recruit the graduating students in St. John's.
Haley Palmer, who is getting ready to convocate, says it's an anxious time for her and her classmates.
"Not very many full-time [teaching] positions available in Newfoundland — in St. John's, anyways, right now," Palmer said.
"I'll definitely expect a few years of substitute work, but hopefully in the future I'll be looking for a full time position."
Palmer moved to St. John's from Alberta seven years ago after visiting and falling in love with the province.
She said she hopes she will be able to find a full-time position in a couple of years, but that it might be more difficult than that.
"A lot of the talk I've heard so far is it's going to put us farther behind in getting a full-time position, especially for the new students coming into the system. Hopefully that's not the case," she said.
Staying in the province
Cassandra Hoskins from Bay d'Espoir said things seem a bit grim for her and other soon-to-be teachers.
"The prospects don't seem that great lately with all the changes and whatnot," Hoskins said. "Myself and other students are a little bit discouraged to say the least."
However, Hoskins said that her professors have told them that there are 1,000 teachers in the province who eligible to retire.
According to Hoskins, she wants to be able to live and work in Newfoundland and Labrador, but would be open to moving elsewhere in Canada if a job was available to her.
"Coming from rural Newfoundland, the last thing — I'm open to it — but the last thing I want to do is to leave our province," she said.
Confusion over new mega-board
Current Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association president Lily Cole said new teachers are confused about the mega-board that will be in place for the next school year.
"There's all kinds of comments about, 'Well, if I sign a contract with one board and it doesn't exist, does it still have a contract?'" Cole said. "There's a lot of confusion out there with this one mega-board."
"It's a bit unsettling for them — for our teachers with senior years of experience, it's also extremely unsettling and I don't think it's been necessary to do this."
Cole said she is hopeful that the new graduates will keep their skills in the province.