Thunder Bay·Audio

Strike action affects student teachers as placements begin

Student teachers are beginning to be affected by recent strike action as practicum placements begin.

ESTA member says days missed 'impacts our learning'

Lakehead University looks to build understanding and open dialogue on racism with indigenous studies. (supplied)

Strike action by three teachers' unions has been impacting students, parents, and teachers in elementary schools and highschools across the province, and now student teachers are beginning to be affected.

Ben McIntosh, student and member of the Education Students Teacher's Association (ESTA) at Lakehead University, says practicum has started for some students in the Education Program, which means some placement days are already being missed. 

"It is really unfortunate because it does impact our learning, you know, and we are here to learn and grow as professionals and be future educators," he said.

McIntosh explained that so far first year students from the two-year education program have missed one placement day as a result of the strike action by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO). 

University keeping students on track

Donald Kerr, Lakehead University Education Chair, told CBC that the university will help students affected by strike days to get back on track.

"For those who have been successful to date, we will help them meet their program requirements by early May," said Kerr. 

 McIntosh said that while students feel "anxious and nervous", the university has been keeping students aware of contingency plans moving forward.

"The university has been more than helpful keeping us informed and giving us a couple backup plans, and reassuring us that we will graduate on time," he said. 

According to McIntosh there are over 100 students in the first year cohort of the education program, and over 70 in second year. 

Educators were still on the picket line this week since negotiations with the government broke down last Friday. This of course has had an effect on students, teachers, and parents. But what about future teachers? Ben McIntosh is with the Education Student Teachers' Association at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. 6:08