Let’s take a moment and think about the current job prospects for my generation. Taking into context that I come from a middle class family in Southwestern Ontario. I technically have three degrees: an honors bachelor of arts with a double major in political science and religion, as well as a bachelor of education. I’ve been in the work force for the last 12 years, plus volunteer experience.
You might think that this means I have the world at my fingertips! Every job I apply to must contact me and offer me interviews and I stay up late at night stressing over which position to accept.
Right now I am mainly focusing my attention on the teaching world. It’s a rough time with the strike and all, but the ministry doesn’t make it any easier either. After spending my year in Korea, I came back and enrolled in teacher’s college. I was excited! I loved teaching in Osan, and I was ready to love it here! However, during my year at school learning to be a teacher, the government decided that it was a great idea to enact “fair hiring practices”. Aka: let’s screw over all the new teachers so they can’t get a job. Now if you look at this with an unbiased eye, it’s actually not that bad of a thing. Teacher’s are placed onto lists based on their experience. First the regular supply list, next a long term supply list, then contracts. So it’s like a ladder. Great. Once you get onto the long term supply list you are placed based on your seniority. When applying for a job only the top 5 on the list will get interviews. If no one from there is set for the job, they just work their way down the list until they find someone qualified who has applied. So teachers who have been waiting for YEARS AND YEARS have a chance to finally get that full time permanent contract they have been waiting for. Sounds great.
Now cut to someone like me: I’ve been out of school for 2 years now, I’ve done over a full year of supply, yet because of the restrictions put onto teachers, when the long-term list opened, I couldn’t even apply to get onto it because the last day to hand in a resume was SEVENTEEN DAYS short of being on the supply list for a year. It didn’t matter that I had been on the emergency supply list since January, or that during my placements in teachers college I received “excellent” on all my evaluations, or that (based on that and current feedback from other teachers) I’m pretty great in a classroom. I was 17 days short so, no we don’t want your resume. I live in a small region with a relatively small school board. In a board this size, on average it’s about 8-10 years before you can expect a full time contract.
All of that applies to all teachers in the province. Except if you have your french qualifications. Then you are pretty much guaranteed a job as soon as you graduate. You’ll probably have to do a long term assignment for a year or two first but at least it’s a full time job. Or you could be like a girl in my graduating class who was offered a full time job at the school she did her placements at. From my understanding the job wasn’t even posted yet, they just offered it to her.
Ontario elementary teachers have been without a contract for an entire year so we are striking. Phase two is being rolled out and as a supply teacher that means I am out of any work. The only way I can get called now is if a teacher is physically ill and taking a personal day off. Regular teachers will still be paid as per their old contract, for supply teachers we are out of luck. So here I am with thousands of dollars of student debt to still pay off, a car loan and living expenses and I have no hope for any work what so ever.
I have spent the entire summer applying to other teaching jobs. You’d be surprised how many are posted on a daily basis and I have been called for 2 of them. 2 out of more than 50! Both weren’t even teaching jobs. To apply to any teaching job, private schools want at least 3-5 years experience, which I won’t be getting for at least the next 8 years. The Department of National Defense just posted openings in their overseas schools. Excited I went to apply and realized that in order to apply I have to already be employed by a school board for NO LESS than 5 years. I must have a letter from my school board saying they support my application and are willing to excuse me from my contract for a year. SO not only is the provincial government stopping us from getting jobs, now the federal government only wants teachers who already have jobs!
That was a whole lot of ranting. Let’s get to the solution! Well I can either sit here and starve and not pay my bills, but what kind of life is that really? I have been working in the fast food industry for the last two years to supplement my income in order to stay afloat. However, as educated as I am, I find that I need to move on from there. So, at the beginning of August I quit. My last day was the 15th. I gave myself three weeks of intensive applying before I start to look out of the region, out of the province, and out of the country. Honestly, right now I just want to pack up my things and head back to Korea. I’d be making the same as working full time here in the food industry but at least I would have a steady job doing what I love.
I have a question for anyone who might be reading this: When you have at least 15% of teachers from my graduating class no longer contributing to Ontario education, what is the next step that has to be taken? From my graduating class of 160, at least 15% of us do not work in the education field in Ontario. And that’s only the people I still stay in touch with! One couple had spent 10 years teaching in Japan and couldn’t get hired on to any supply list they applied to. They already had ten years of experience!
How is there hope for the rest of us?