There is an appreciable trend of growth in terms of number of Filipino Canadian teachers that were fully certified and licensed in Ontario. However, teacher hiring and employment remain elusive if not problematic for many. This was the analysis made by Tony A. San Juan aired during two separate teacher-hiring consultation sessions conducted at the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in Toronto.
The information was revealed recently to 115 teacher-participants who sought information and advice about the teacher-hiring situation, requirements and procedures of the two public-supported school boards. All the participants are members of the Philippine Teachers Association -Canada (PTAC), Latin Education Network (LAEN) and other internationally-trained teachers interested in seeking teaching assignments for the coming school year 2014-2015.
San Juan, immediate past president and director emeritus of the PTAC said that “teacher supply and demand for more than five years now remain very discouraging and highly competitive due to such factors as declining student enrollment, low teacher-retirement, oversupply of certified teachers and mismatch of completed subject certifications with teachable subjects needed.”
PTAC, formed in 2006 with only five licensed teachers, is composed of current Filipino Canadian Ontario certified teachers and former educators in the Philippines as well. Currently, of the 120 active and inactive members of PTAC, 59 or 49 percent has been licensed by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), the professional regulatory body that certifies and regulates teacher education graduates to teach in all public and Catholic elementary, intermediate and secondary schools in the province.
Seventy-one or 51 percent of PTAC members fall under any of following three categories: 1. in -certification process (those who are awaiting for full licensing); 2.in work- permit transition (newcomer immigrants awaiting permanent residence status); and 3. Philippine teacher-trained but did not pursue provincial teacher accreditation.
Generally, of the known Philippine-born and considered to be internationally-trained teachers, including those Canada -born and/or who at early age grew up, were raised and educated in Canada, there are approximately more than 300 certified to teach in Ontario .
Notably, among the Filipino educators in the Greater Toronto Area are two elementary school principals , a secondary school principal, and one high school vice-principal. PTAC has six members with doctoral degrees and 15 with Master’s degrees.
In spite of the poor teacher employment situation and the attendant cause factors, Filipino teachers remain optimistic and hopeful that the hiring picture will change for the better in the next three to four years. “Filipinos usually are resilient and patient enough to stay focused, taking up courses to be more marketable and competitive and always hopeful for opportunities to come,” San Juan said.