No shortage of good ideas

While there is indeed a shortage of teachers, there is no shortage of good ideas for dealing with it and minimizing its effects on students.

This is what I said to myself when reading the many readers, including several teachers, who reacted to my column on the dizzying ballet of teachers in a class of 1D year1.

While teacher desertion worsens in Quebec public schools – 4,880 teachers with permanent positions have resigned over the past five years, which represents an increase of 76%, according to a report made public Monday by The Montreal Journal –, many offer sometimes their diagnosis, sometimes their remedies.

Simon Bucci-Wheaton, who discovered his calling as a teacher in September 2019 after responding to an urgent call from a primary school principal desperate to fill a position, finds it worrying that ballet is being normalized “classic” of teachers which is to the detriment of the child.

“It happens a lot more often than we think. On the other hand, parents are afraid to report for all kinds of reasons,” notes the teacher who is completing his training to become a “real” teacher and who recently published the book But why school? Questions and thoughts from a teacher who wasn’t one (KO).


Primary school teacher Simon Bucci-Wheaton, who signed the book But why school?

Who protects the student if the employer himself does not take the situation seriously? asks the teacher.

Like the educational philosopher Normand Baillargeon, who signs the preface to his book, Simon Bucci-Wheaton dreams of a Parent 2.0 commission. More than 60 years after the great collective reflection which led to the creation of a Ministry of Education with noble ambitions which has become a bottom of the class2the time has come to “remake the puzzle that is education”, he believes.

Considering that education is truly a priority in our society, this would indeed be an excellent idea.

Which piece of the puzzle should we start with to protect students and put an end to the desertion of teachers who exhaust themselves to compensate for the faults of our education system?

It is a priority to review the composition of the classes, says the teacher. The inclusion of students in difficulty in regular classes, regardless of their diagnosis, is a very laudable idea in theory. But if the services essential to their success do not follow, it is the teachers who find themselves in great difficulty. Especially if parents don’t collaborate, he observes.

“The teacher is disciplining a lot, teaching less, not taking the students where he would like academically, which burns each of us. Caught in bureaucratic red tape to make requests for services (which do not arrive) for these students who request intensive support…”

In such a context, why is it surprising that a quarter of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years of their career?

It is not enough to recruit new teachers. We must ensure that we offer them the necessary support and working conditions so that they do not want to run away.

“Current ballet has a lot to do with the choreographer who decided, in the midst of a staff shortage, to open 4-year-old kindergarten classes in all school service centers. And the rest of the ballet comes from the bureaucratic insensitivity of the various authorities with regard to the well-being of the children,” another teacher wrote to me.

His solution? Change artistic direction and relax bureaucratic rules to prioritize the well-being of children at all times.

If “starting on the right foot”, “acting early” aren’t just lip service, it would be nice if the child was at the top of the list for real. Childhood is short, it’s just once and it’s the foundation on which everything else will be built.

A teacher

The teacher in question describes having already taken unpaid leave after sick leave due to professional burnout, feeling that she had no other choice to protect her health and preserve the stability of her young students. “A temporary gradual return and the ballet it engenders were unacceptable in my eyes. »

There are sometimes teachers who, in order not to be penalized financially, are forced to return to class at the very end of the school year, she observes. “Paying the teacher a few days to keep the group stable would have been a better idea. Not for the bureaucracy. »

This teacher who expressed her concerns about the well-being of her students was told that she did not have to worry about it. Children always adapt eventually, right? As if it was up to the students to adapt to the needs of a bureaucratic system rather than the system to adapt to the needs of the students.

Another solution put forward by several readers consists of accelerating the recognition of the skills of foreign teachers. I was given the example of a high school teacher who, despite the shortage of teachers, cannot work in his field. Or that of an ultra-qualified French teacher, who came to Quebec following a government recruitment mission to Paris, which encountered the closed doors of several school service centers. In the midst of a shortage, many teachers ready to work found themselves in the same absurd situation at the start of the school year3.

Chanting the well-known populist refrain “it’s the immigrants’ fault,” Education Minister Bernard Drainville has often attributed the ills of the education system, including the shortage of teachers, to immigration. “The open immigration bar, stop it!” “, he told the federal government last January.

However, among these immigrants there are many competent people who, leaning at the bar, are just waiting to be part of the “open bar” of solutions.

1. Read “The Stunning Ballet of Teachers”

2. Read “Last Class Ministry Bulletin”

3. Read “Teachers ready to work are ignored by school service centers”


Leave a Comment