As the school year begins, Kamloops-Thompson school district works to fill vacant teaching positions | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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As the school year begins, Kamloops-Thompson school district works to fill vacant teaching positions

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September 04, 2018 - 5:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Students across the province returned to classrooms today and school districts across B.C. are still actively recruiting teachers to fill full-time and part-time teaching positions.

The Kamloops-Thompson school district is no different when it comes to recognizing the significant amount of teacher jobs currently available across the province, says school district no. 73 associate superintendent of human resources, Shayne Olsen.

As of Aug. 24, the school district says in a release there were nearly 100 vacant teaching positions across the district. But that doesn’t always mean there are not enough people, Olsen says. He explains the process for filling these positions are timely.

“It’s the nature of our process, every job has to be posted for a week and then people apply,” he says. “It always takes a couple weeks into September to have all the permanent assignments.”

Despite the vacancies, Olsen says each classroom across the board on the first day of school had a qualified teacher, with on-call teachers filling the majority of these positions.

“More often than not (on-call) teachers become the permanent teacher but again it's a process through our collective agreement, we post the job, people apply and (the job) goes to the most senior qualified person, so it takes a while.”

Qualified French immersion, special education and technology education teachers are in short supply across the school district. Historically, Olsen says these positions have always been challenging to fill for reasons the school district can’t control.

“For example, there’s just only a certain number of people who want to be French teachers… it’s always been in demand, we’ve always been looking for more teachers with these skill sets,” Olsen says.

According to recent statistics by the Canadian Parents for French in B.C. and the Yukon, the Kamloops-Thompson school district has set a record for the number of students enrolled in French immersion.

For the 2017 to 2018 school year, more than 1,200 students were registered in the French immersion program. Olsen says in the past, the board has been able to recruit enough French teachers for the school years but like other teaching positions, it takes time.

“Similarly we hear about nurses and doctors because we are only producing a certain number of them so it’s kind of beyond our power to control that specialty,” Olsen says. “When it comes down to it, I’m not really sure why more people don’t want to be more French teachers.”

Outside of specialty teaching positions, Olsen says teacher vacancies which are present in September are not always the result of not having enough qualified applicants.

“The struggle at the end of the day isn’t because we don’t have enough people, which could happen I guess, but in a lot of cases, they are not filled early because of the process,” he says. “There are people sitting at home who want those jobs.”

Olsen explains the location of Kamloops makes it easier to recruit teachers to the area.

“Luckily (Kamloops) is a desirable place to live compared to many areas in B.C.,” he says. “We do recognize that in B.C. there are a lot of jobs for teachers right now… I feel for my colleagues from the northern districts who don’t necessarily have (enough) people but here in Kamloops we’ve been lucky and it hasn’t hit us as hard as other districts.”

The school district has hired 132 new teachers within the last year. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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