Nova Scotia

University scrambles to help student teachers as work-to-rule looms

Looming job action Nova Scotia teachers could cause serious problems for Mount Saint Vincent University student teachers scheduled to begin their classroom practicums next week.

Job action would affect dozens of MSVU student teachers due to begin classroom training

Nova Scotia teachers are set to begin work-to-rule job action on Monday. (CBC)

Looming job action by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union could cause serious problems for student teachers scheduled to begin their classroom practicums.

Public school teachers in Nova Scotia plan to start working to rule on Monday if a new contract agreement can't be reached with the province.

Teachers will only do what is required under their contract and no more. That means they won't be supervising student teachers.

Students in the bachelor of education program at Halifax's Mount Saint Vincent University are scheduled to begin their practicums — or practice teaching — next Thursday.

Dozens of students affected

Some 180 first- and second-year students will be affected by work-to-rule.

The university has been working on contingency plans and the dean of education, Sal Badali, is meeting with students today to discuss the road ahead. The school would not make public those contingencies until students are informed.

"We want to make sure our education students are able to have a practicum experience," student union president Ryan Nearing said.

"It's a part of their program that a lot of students look forward to and retain a lot of benefits from those experiences."

'Best guess'

The 41 students in the bachelor of education program at Cape Breton University have a little more time. They're not scheduled to start practicums until January.

"How long the work-to-rule action continues, and whether it extends into January, is therefore the critical issue for us," CBU's dean of the school of professional studies, Carolin Kreber, said in a statement.

"Should the action continue into January, it is our best guess at this point in time that we could make adjustments to courses in the fourth term allowing students to complete the practicum then."

Kreber said it's hard to make firm plans at this point because the situation is still fluid.


Blair Rhodes


Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at