Desperate for French teachers, Vancouver comes to Toronto to recruit
Shortages in Vancouver are part of a 'chronic' problem nationwide: not enough qualified French teachers
The Vancouver School Board (VSB) is hoping that at least a few GTA French teachers are willing to go west and start a new life in British Columbia.
At the EdTalent Spring Job Fair in Toronto on Friday, the board was one of many hoping to sell teachers on working in their city. In an effort to fill long-standing vacancies, they've also worked to recruit teachers in Ottawa and Quebec.
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"We are currently looking to fill quite a few teaching positions," Myers said. "For certain specialty areas, we are offering a $1,500 moving allowance and temporary accommodation, and full time contracts."
Adding to the crunch in B.C. are the new provincial class size rules adopted last year. The smaller class sizes required the hiring of more than 2,000 teachers across the province.
Myers is hoping that of the province's 60 school districts, teachers end up tempted by Vancouver.
"We are the largest French immersion program in British Columbia, so we have a lot of professional development opportunities, a lot of different schools to work in" Myers said.
As of April 11, the VSB had 17 unfilled jobs, including four French immersion teaching positions that were posted last fall and received few qualified applicants.
'Chronic' problem across Canada
Shortages of French teachers aren't limited to Vancouver.
In 2017, Wendy Carr, associate dean of teacher education at the University of British Columbia, told CBC News that a nation-wide shortage of French teachers was becoming "more and more pressing.
The result is Canada-wide competition between school boards, with incentives thrown in to entice teachers to leave their home provinces, sometimes immediately after they graduate from teachers college.
Meanwhile, Statistics Canada has charted a steady uptick in the number of students enrolled in French immersion over the last seven years.
Checking out 'all the options'
One teacher considering taking the leap west is Laura King, who recently finished her certification at the University of Windsor.
King says the idea of smaller class sizes in British Columbia is appealing.
"Coming from a school that has very large class sizes, it can be overwhelming to have a class of 30," King said.
She adds the job market is a lot more competitive in southwestern Ontario, which is one of the reasons she wanted to check out the options in B.C. King says the scenery is a bonus too.
"I love nature and the outdoors, and the beautiful weather."