Directions bothered by part-time teachers

Even if several school service centers have tightened the screw, more than one teacher in four works part-time in certain parts of Quebec. A real “puzzle” for school principals, who anticipate an acceleration of this trend.

Many teachers are still reducing their workload at their own expense. It is not uncommon to see a teacher choose to be paid less for only working four days out of five.

In some school service centres, such as Beauce-Etchemin, 26% of teachers opt for a reduced schedule, including 37% of elementary school teachers. At the Center de services scolaire des Découvreurs, in Quebec, 204 of the 886 regular teachers benefit from part-time leave without pay. Meanwhile, several managements are turning down a large portion of part-time requests due to labor shortages.

“We understand that people need to work at 60, 70, 80%, it’s easier for them. Conciliation [famille-travail]we are not against that, but you have to know that there is the other side of the coin, […] you also have to think about all the headaches it takes to organize a task that is viable for those who go [combler les journées manquantes]“, supports the president of the Quebec Federation of the directions of educational establishment, Nicolas Prévost.

Stability is important for children. Having more than one teacher can have detrimental effects on younger students, he said.

Often, teachers working four days a week will offload science and ECR lessons from their schedules, which will then be taught by others. “But sometimes, we also have teachers who neglect French, mathematics, so even for the student, at the limit, it can actually have an impact on his success,” he insists.


The task of teachers has become heavier and more complex in recent years, agrees Nicolas Prévost. However, he is convinced that the new generation of teachers attaches more importance to the quality of life. “These are choices they make, to say ‘I don’t need to work full time, I’m going to be satisfied with that’.”

How to reverse this trend and encourage teachers to choose full time? The school principal does not have a magic solution. However, he mentions the idea of ​​incentive bonuses, a bit like those currently offered to nurses who agree to work full time.

“I don’t know if we have to go that far, it’s sure that the financial aspect, at some point, can influence, we won’t hide it. Could that tip the scales? Maybe, I have no idea.”

The task of teachers has exploded

According to the Federation of Teachers’ Unions, affiliated with the CSQ, such wage bonuses will not encourage more teachers to work more.

Its president, Josée Scalabrini, reminds us that teachers who reduce their hours are ready to earn less money. It is therefore not a question of money.

When it was decided to integrate students in difficulty into regular classes, the services for these children did not follow, she insists. This is without mentioning the fact that the special programs have helped to “purify” the clientele of the regular public network.

“The workload of a teacher has exploded in recent years. Teachers, before getting sick, choose this. “Am I leaving the profession or reducing my task?”

And if some school service centers did not systematically refuse their employees a lighter workload, the number of part-time teachers would be even higher, insists the unionist.

A “privilege” that must not disappear

Due to the increase in her workload and for better work-family balance, teacher Marise Poulin chose to lighten her schedule ten years ago. A “privilege” that she does not want to see disappear.

The primary school teacher from Beauce and mother of four children benefits from a one-day unpaid leave on a nine-day cycle.

“The task is increasingly heavy since the arrival of the reform. We had to change our ways of teaching, it means that it gives an overload of work and we can’t do it within the 32 hours that are recognized for us, in any case I couldn’t do it and that allowed me, that day, to get my head above water,” she said, in an interview with our Parliamentary Office.

The regular work week for a teacher in Quebec is five days a week, Monday to Friday, and includes 32 hours of school work.

But the profession of teacher is not limited to the presence in class. There are also the corrections, the preparation… Marise Poulin affirms that she devotes between 45 and 50 hours a week to her job as a teacher of a multilevel class of 3and and 4and year.

She adds that the majority of teachers are women and that part-time makes life easier for those who wish to start a family. According to her, “it does not harm the students to have two teachers”.

After 35 years of teaching, the 56-year-old woman is also considering taking one more day off without pay per cycle starting next year.

“I hope it’s a privilege that will stay there. I am at the end of my career, this privilege may have allowed me to teach for the last ten years, I could have said “I can’t take it anymore, I can’t do it”, but it allowed me and [pourra] allow experienced teachers not to let go of the boat”.

Medical note required

If the Center de services scolaire de la Beauce-Etchemin still allows its employees to reduce their workload, this is not the case everywhere.

For the past few years, the management of the Trois-Lacs School Service Center has refused practically all requests for unpaid leave from teachers, deplores Véronique Lefebvre, president of the Syndicat de l’enseignement de la region de Vaudreuil (SERV-CSQ).

“The only reasons for which they grant leave is never to avoid exhaustion, never to reconcile work and family, never to make a life project, nor to raise young children, it is only if you have health reasons supported by a medical note or if you are nominated to become director, then they will grant it to you.

A strategy that deprives the region of teachers and contributes to maintaining the staff shortage. “We are starting to see resignations,” says Mme Lefebvre, without however being able to precisely quantify the phenomenon.

The Trois-Lacs School Service Center did not answer our questions.

popular, part time

Proportion of regular teachers who benefit from part-time unpaid leave or a reduction in workload

  • 26% Beauce-Etchemin School Service Center
  • 12% Marie-Victorin School Service Center
  • 10% Pointe-de-l’Île School Service Center
  • 16% Capital School Service Center
  • 23% Discoverers School Service Center
  • 4% Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Service Center
  • 5% Laval School Service Center

Sources: school service centers

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