Right now, in Ontario, permanent teaching jobs are very scarce. School boards have to declare surplus for many of their teachers, and permanent veteran teachers are finding themselves without work, and back on the occasional teacher list. For teachers who have been in a permanent position for 5 years already, it can be completely discouraging. Let me tell you, as a supply teacher (or substitute teacher for my American readers), it’s even more discouraging. Instead of seeing light at the end of the tunnel, we see it getting dimmer and dimmer.
I have been an occasional teacher for 6 years now. Six years of interviews and professional development with no luck. I have always wanted to be a teacher, and when I decided to go back to school, I knew that the job market wasn't great, but I had no idea that it was that bad.
As much as I enjoy supply teaching, I have many days where I absolutely hate it and feel like giving it all up. This year, I have been very lucky to work every day that I wanted to work, because I teach with two different school boards. That being said, I’m also tired of the lack of stability.
I came across this interesting article in the Toronto Star the other day.
It’s about a supply teacher in the Toronto area. It describes well what we are going through as occasional teachers and explains how we are getting called. However, I don’t feel that this one case is a very good representation of the situation in Ontario. She has only been an occasional teacher for 2.5 years and is able to teaching within a 45-minute car ride from her house (I sometimes travel up to 1:20 minutes one-way to get to an assignment). I have many colleagues who have been at it for even longer than I have and who are also waiting for their permanent position. With the way things are going, I’m not sure that will come anytime soon either.
The question is, how much longer can I hold on for?