Teachers wanted! Why London school boards are finally hiring
"Significant" number of teachers needed in next few years
After years of grim job prospects, things are looking up for newly-graduated teachers in the London region.
Both the London District Catholic School Board and the Thames Valley District School Board are hiring hundreds of teachers and support staff to keep up with classroom demands.
This year alone, the Thames Valley board is hiring 1,800 teachers and support staff, while the Catholic board is hiring 200.
"We've heard from school boards that they're doing more hiring. This is good news," said Margaret McNay, an associate dean at the Faculty of Education at Western University.
"There are many [teacher candidates] they've been out for a while, they're waiting for jobs, they're on supply lists, and I'm hoping that this will mean good stuff for them."
The Catholic school board hired 95 new full time teachers, many from the supply list, so they have to replenish that list, said John Jevnikar, the chair of the Catholic board of trustees.
"It's an unusual situation," Jevnikar said. "The trend has been declining enrolment, teachers on redundant lists, and for a long time there was very little hiring. Last year we noticed an increase, and this year it's really gone through the roof, which is a nice thing."
Provincial changes to teachers' college
Two years ago, Ontario made changes to how people can become teachers.
A one-year degree became a two-year degree, effectively cutting the number of graduating teachers from 9,000 to 4,500 every year.
In 2013, when the changes were announced, about a third of the 9,000 new teachers who were graduating weren't needed and weren't getting jobs.
That appears to have played a part in the demand for new teachers, as have years of warnings that going to teachers' college doesn't guarantee a job, said Ed DeDecker, a superintendent with the London District Catholic school board.
"I think part of the issue is that for years and years people looked at teaching and said 'good luck getting a job.' But I think sometimes perception lags behind reality," he said.
"There will be a need for a significant number of teachers, and we're just hitting that. In the next two to five years, we will need a significant number of teachers."