B.C. school superintendent fills in as substitute teacher due to shortage

Jim Cambridge steps up to take over classroom teaching duties for the first time in 10 years

  • Oct. 4, 2017 10:25 a.m.

When the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the B.C. Teachers Federation last November it was known the ruling would require the province to hire thousands of new teachers to meet the class size and composition requirements set forward by the court.

And while, at the time, educators were generally jubilant with the decision, the logistical consequences of hiring a significant number of teachers may not have been fully anticipated, said Jim Cambridge, the superintendent of Sooke School District.

That belief was demonstrated on Sept. 28 when the scheduling software used by the school district showed that no teacher was available for a classroom at Dunsmuir Middle School, a situation that led to Cambridge stepping up to take over the classroom teaching duties for the first time in 10 years.

“I’m always happy to get into a classroom and teach. It was a really great experience,” he said.

READ MORE: Big changes coming to Sooke schools

The situation is the natural consequence of having a number of on-call teachers move from on-call positions to full time teaching positions during the flurry of hiring that resulted from the court’s decision.

“We’ve hired about 130 new teachers locally and that’s gone a long way to diminishing the pool of on-call teachers available to fill in for teachers who are absent on any given day,” said Cambridge.

He added that the division always hires new teachers to replace teachers who have retired or left the profession, but the normal number would be between 20 and 30.

“We’re reacting to the situation by interviewing and hiring new on-call teachers and we’re hoping we’ll be able to resolve the problem very soon. We need to bring on about 30 to 40 new staff and to that end we’ve hired nine new teachers in just the past two days,” said Cambridge.

On the bright side, he said that the situation facing Sooke is not as dire as it may be in other jurisdictions.

“We have the benefit of living in a pretty desirable place and it’s not too tough to attract teachers to live here,” he said.

“I’m sure there are areas where they are having a much harder time.”

Even with the hiring blitz currently underway, qualified educators on the district’s administrative staff are prepared to step in and fill any shortfalls on the short term. Those staff members have been going out to classrooms at a rate of one or two a day and are rotating those duties as the need arises.

“It’s a short term situation, but I think it’s not a bad thing at all. Most of us are happy for the chance to get back into the classroom. It is, after all, why we became educators in the first place.”



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Anja Dumas

The Kelowna Capital News puts the spotlight on community leaders with annual awards

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Blowing snow, slippery sections on Okanagan Connector

Compact snow, poor visibility on Highway 97 from Pennask Summitt to Brenda Mines.

IH adds immunization clinic Sunday in Kelowna

Drop-in meningococcal vaccination clinic on today at Community Health & Services Centre

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

UBCO prof tests software to help cancer patients

Program may help those reluctant to engage ‘tough conversations’ in advance care planning

Broken de-icer delays flights at Kelowna airport

Passengers were on board for three hours Sunday waiting for departure to Vancouver

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Well-known Canadian bird making a comeback

Once on the brink of extinction, the peregrine falcon no longer considered at risk in Canada.

Suzuki: Shine a light during dark times

People need to remain positive despite difficult and unpredictable political climate

Most Read