New Brunswick faces shortage of supply teachers as school year begins
As the school year began in New Brunswick on Tuesday, there was a significant shortage of supply teachers.
For 14-year-old Leah Price, whose family just moved back to Fredericton from Tennessee, she and her parents are excited for her to begin Grade 9.
"I just want my kids to have a good year, and the way to do that is to have the staff they need to do that," said Leah's mom, Jennifer Price.
David McTimoney is looking forward to the new school year too. The Anglophone West School District superintendent says all positions in his district are filled, but admits getting supply teachers is sometimes a challenge, especially French teachers.
"There were times when we had to look a little harder to ensure we got a quality teacher in the classroom," said McTimoney.
That includes taking teachers and staff from other positions when a supply teacher wasn't available.
"We need them to fill in at a moment's notice, sometimes for longer term," said McTimoney. "We count on them having good qualifications."
In other areas of the province, other school districts echo McTimoney's concerns. Last year, the Anglophone South School District resorted to international recruitment to fill their teacher vacancies for French immersion.
In a statement to CTV News, board superintendent Zoe Watson said: "recruitment for French immersion teaching positions continues to be more challenging than filling our English teaching positions."
That's a concern for parent Rachel Comeau.
"You put your child in French immersion and you want them to learn French," said Comeau. "And if they don't have French teachers available, how are they supposed to learn French?"
The New Brunswick Teachers' Association thinks it has a solution.
"Guaranteeing supply teaching, full-time supply teacher positions, would be one possibility," said Rick Cuming, the association's president. "They're paying those supply teacher wages anyway."
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jessica Ng.