Anglophone East desperate for French immersion teachers

Anglophone East is desperately looking to hire 40 full-time French immersion teachers for the next school year because so many students have enrolled in the early-entry program.

Anglophone East needs 40 new full-time teachers for French immersion

Anglophone East School District superintendent Greg Ingersoll said his district needs 40 full-time French immersion teachers for the next school year. (CBC)

Anglophone East is desperately looking to hire 40 full-time French immersion teachers for the next school year because so many students have enrolled in the early-entry program.

More than half the Grade 1 students in the district enrolled in the new program, Greg Ingersoll, superintendent of Anglophone East School District, said in Moncton.

It will be a challenge finding enough teachers for next September.

"Those students started in Grade 1 are moving to Grade 2," he said. "That means that we'll have to have enough French immersion classes in Grade 2 for all those students."

Some retiring

He said the district also has to replace teachers who have retired.

The district even posted the jobs on social media hoping to reach a wider audience. 

The applicants have to be proficient in French and qualify for a New Brunswick teacher certificate. 

Last year, the district needed about 34 teachers but those were only term positions without a full-time guarantee.

The restoration of the early-entry program was announced in September 2016 by the Liberal government. 

This academic year, 67 schools in the province offer early French immersion, and about 1,800 students signed up for it. 

Anglophone North superintendent Mark Donovan said that district was still determining the final numbers for enrolment and how many teachers might be needed.

Anglophone West reported active job openings for francophone teachers but did not say how many are needed.

Judy Cole, a spokesperson for Anglophone West, said 659 students have enrolled for the Grade 1 French immersion program this school year.

"Registration is currently underway for the 2018-19 school year," she said in an email. 

Anglophone South did not return a request for information.

Hopes to bring teachers home

Ingersoll said he hopes that the full-time positions will attract teachers who have had to leave the province for work.

"We have New Brunswickers that have moved away and are looking for an opportunity to come back," Ingersoll said in an interview with Information Morning Moncton.

"You don't really want to come back unless you are pretty much guaranteed a full-time job."

George Daley, president of the New Brunswick Teachers Association, said there is a growing concern that New Brunswick doesn't have enough teachers.

"We're heading toward a teacher shortage here pretty quickly," he said. 

He said districts had a hard time filling positions last year. 

"We knew it was going to be difficult as soon as we knew the early program would be introduced," said Daley. 

Shortages exist all over Canada, Daley said, and he isn't optimistic teachers will return to New Brunswick.

With files from Information Morning Moncton