Greetings NTA Members,
I trust that you had a relaxing and rejuvenating summer, and welcome to all new teachers who are joining us in Nunavut’s schools. This is an exciting time of year for both students and staff, a time of new beginnings, and building on existing relationships both in schools and in our communities.
By this time next week, all schools in Nunavut will be open to students, but many will not be fully staffed. A number of our Qikiqtani schools in particular will be opening with numerous vacancies that will affect student programming and place much undue stress and extra work on existing teachers and administrators. The Department of Education points to a national teacher shortage as a reason for the vacancies, and while it is a contributing factor, it is not the cause. The Government of Nunavut has failed in its responsibilities to both develop and train qualified bilingual Inuit teachers, or retain the professional educators and leaders that have lived and worked tirelessly in our communities for the benefit of Nunavut’s youth. Nunavut has one of the lowest educator retention rates in Canada. Solving the staffing crisis in Nunavut will not only be about recruitment, but retention as well. The short term solution for the Department is to place unqualified people in classrooms as teachers. While I understand the need to staff a school and provide adults in the classroom, this is not a sustainable solution. It devalues our profession and lowers the quality of education that our students will be receiving. The first step in developing quality, culturally relevant education is by having it delivered by qualified teachers.
The Nunavut Teachers’ Association is focused on promoting our profession to Inuit, supporting our existing members in schools, and working with the Government of Nunavut on what it may do retain and empower teachers. Things need to change if education is going to move forward in Nunavut.
Thank you for the being positive influences and making a difference in the lives of our students each day.
Nunavut Teachers’ Association