KAMLOOPS — School District 73 is creating two new positions to address a shortage of teachers-teaching-on-call (TTOC) positions in rural communities.
One posting is being created in Chase, and the other in Barriere, two communities that struggled to fill vacancies last school year.
"It really became apparent last year when we were going through the hiring at the time in the spring where we were running short of TTOCs on a fairly regular basis throughout February through to about May," said Rick Kienlein, district principal of human resources.
Barriere and Chase were identified as having the greatest need for TTOC relief.
"Looking at those communities in particular, we noticed that they were hit a little harder than some of the other schools in our district due to the distance that people have to travel there, the availability of work elsewhere within our district, so we wanted to be ahead of the curve this year," Kienlein said.
The Kamloops Thompson Teachers' Association is applauding the school district's decision.
"We think it's a really good opportunity for brand new teachers-teaching-on-call because they have an opportunity to see what it's like to work in a rural school, but then they also have an opportunity to work from K-12, so that's going to be a really good opportunity for teachers, and we're really excited about that," said KTTA president Amanda Jensen.
Jensen added TTOC shortages create challenges for both school staff and students.
"The result is that often non-enrolling teachers are pulled from their assignments, so that means learning assistance teachers, teacher librarians, sometimes it's school counsellors, prep teachers are pulled from their assignments and they're asked to cover for their colleagues for the day," Jensen said. "The result of that is that students that are ministry designated are not getting the support that they need."
The new hires will be able to begin working immediately, with their assignments running until June 30, and the TTOCs will be guaranteed work whether there are absences to be covered or not.
"In the event that there is not a vacancy that day they're assigned to either the elementary school or the secondary school to do other duties, teaching related," Kienlein said.
The school district plans to post the positions by the end of the week.
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