100 Mile House Elementary student, Liam Guimond, answering a question on Jan. 25. Brendan Kyle Jure photo.

French immersion teacher shortage: 100 Mile House no exception

The district is looking for a French teacher for 100 Mile House Elementary’s Grade 3/4 classroom

There is a shortage of French teachers in the province and nationally. 100 Mile House is no exception.

In a 2014 report from the Canadian Parents for French British Columbia and Yukon Chapter found that 86 per cent of school districts in British Columbia indicated it was challenging to recruit teachers of the subject. A further report from Simon Fraser University published in 2018 indicated that the situation has not changed.

“Our district experienced some retirements, which caused the immediate shortage. We also know that the provincial (and national) shortage of French Immersion teachers increases the options for mobility. That can result in teachers leaving our district for positions,” said Mark Wintjes, the superintendent of School District 27 (SD27).

The district is presently looking to recruit a French teacher for 100 Mile House Elementary’s Grade 3/4 classroom.

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“As a district, we are ramping up our use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to assist us in our recruiting and retention initiatives while we tell our story of the quality learning environments in our schools,” said Wintjes. “We are working to improve and update the marketing of our district so that anyone who views our website will be able to gain an appreciation of the phenomenal area that we live and work in.”

If a school in the district cannot successfully hire a French teacher, SD27 has the ability to hire individuals who are not certified teachers but have sound knowledge and experience in a specialty. However, this is a highly regulated process under the direction of the Teacher Regulation Branch.

Wintjes said SD27 is working hard to expedite district applications so that vacancies can be filled. The process requires the district to demonstrate there has been a search for certified teachers before the district can submit an application to hire someone who does not have teaching credentials.

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He said they are currently engaged in this process while continuing the search and recruitment for certified teachers to help students develop.

“Developing fluency in a second language is a great advantage for students as they move from school to post-secondary education or to the workforce,” he said.

SD27 is not only looking within the province but elsewhere, according to Wintjes, and as advertised across the country.

Recently, the Canada-British Columbia Agreement on Minority-Language Education and the provincial government have funded the creation of 37 additional French teaching positions.

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