Labour dispute affects student teacher placements

The ongoing labour dispute between the provincial government and its teachers is now affecting student teacher training.

The ongoing labour dispute between the provincial government and its teachers is now affecting student teacher training.

Janet Fraser, a vice-president at the Ottawa Carleton Elementary Teachers Federation, said she understands why some teachers are declining to take on the extra work. (CBC)

They have to complete a practicum in a real school to graduate and be certified.

But some teachers are interpreting the no-extra-work tactics of their union to include saying no to student teacher candidates in their classrooms.

Queen's University is already having trouble finding placements for students in its Faculty of Education, and the problem is expected to get worse.

Janet Fraser of the Ottawa Carleton Elementary Teachers Federation said she understands why some teachers are saying no to hosting student teachers.

"First of all, it's a lot of work," she said. "Taking a teacher candidate into your classroom is a lot of extra work. There's no money for it, which is fine; we do it for the love of our profession and we like to contribute. At this time our profession is under attack by the government and teachers are feeling very stressed about that, and they have a right to decline voluntary activities."

University of Ottawa teaching student Phil Crichton said he's counting on a placement to finish his degree.

"There's a lot of bright young minds who I'm sure are eager to get into the field and I think that stance is ignorant and negative," he said.

The University of Ottawa has said it still hopes to find placements for everybody.

Peter Brouwer is dean of education at the State University of New York at Potsdam, another university that sends student teachers to Ottawa boards.

"So far we are in good shape but we are concerned about the direction things are going, and anticipate that there could be some problems down the road," he said.