There is an appreciable trend of growth in terms of number of Filipino Canadian teachers which were fully certified and licensed in Ontario. However, teacher hiring and employment remain elusive if not problematic for many. In a preliminary analysis made recently, the news has been released by Tony A. San Juan in a recent statement during the 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 to teacher attendees last June 15, 2014 and July 7 & 10, 2014. The 115 teachers who have participated in the two events were seeking information and advice about the teacher-hiring situation , requirements and procedures of the 2 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 who are mostly interested and seeking possible teaching assignments for the coming school year 2014-2015.
San Juan, immediate past president and director emeritus of the Philippine Teachers Association ( PTAC) said that “teacher supply and demand for more than 5 years now remain very discouraging and highly competitive” due to such factors as : “declining student enrollment, low teacher-retirement, oversupply of certified teachers, mismatch of completed subject certifications with teachable subjects needed ” and other reasons.
PTAC, formed in 2006 with only 5 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, fifty-nine or 49 % has been licensed by the Ontario College of Teachers (O.C.T.). The statutory professional regulatory body certifies and regulates teacher education graduates to teach in all public-and- Catholic elementary, intermediate and secondary schools in the province.
Sixty-one or 51 % of PTAC members fall under any of following 3 categories : 1) “in -certification process ” ( those who are awaiting for full licencing), 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, 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 2 elementary school principals , a secondary school principal, and 1 high school vice-principal. PTAC has six members with Doctoral degrees ( 3 EdD, one DTech and 3 PhD) and 15, with Master’s degrees.
General education educators include teachers in Primary grades( Kindergarten to Grade 3), and Junior grades( Grades 4-6) and academic subject areas in Intermediate( Grades 7-10) and Senior( Grades 11-12) divisions in the Ontario education curricula.
Current PTAC members with Ontario Certified Teacher ( OCT) licences have academic subject certifications in : business studies(general, accounting) drama, English, family studies, geography, health and physical education, history, mathematics, philosophy, science (general, biology, chemistry, physics), social sciences -general, and visual arts. In terms of Basic or Additional Qualifications( B/AQs) : primary, junior, ESL, special education, religious studies, and technological studies.
In its membership roster, of the 59 certified teachers, twenty-seven or 46% only are teaching in five GTA school boards ( TorontoCDSB, TorontoDSB, DufferinPCDSB, PeelDSB, and YorkDSB ) ,out of which , 22 are on permanent/ contract assignments or occasional / supply teaching assignments and five are doing EA -educational assistant jobs. Five members are employed by some private schools, Montessori schools, and early-learning centres as teachers, teacher-assistants, ECE and/ ECAs.
The rest, 32 or fifty-four % are doing education-related jobs or alternative paths as translators- interpreters, test proctors & markers, course tutors and the like.In school year 2013-2014 , only 5 PTAC teacher-members were hired either as occasional/ supply teachers or educational assistants. Two teachers served in band-aboriginal schools in the North. Others, applied in out-of-province positions.
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 3-4 years. As expected, Filipinos usually are resilient and patient enough by staying focus , taking up more AQ courses to be more “marketable & competitive ” and always hopeful for opportunities to come in their quest for reasonable and productive placement in the education environment.