Education

Student teachers head to school after work-to-rule

It’s up to teachers to decide if they want to accept education students to supervise

Photo illustration   Francesca Handy

Student teachers from Mount Saint Vincent University will be heading into classrooms to complete the practicums necessary for graduation.

Students in the second-year of the bachelor of education program will start their placements Monday, while first-year students will begin in early April as planned.

This means second-year students will graduate on time in May, said Kelly Gallant, a university spokesperson, in an email.

On Tuesday, Bill 75 passed, forcing public school teachers into a four-year contract. It ends the work-to-rule job action that was started in December by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU). Supervising student teachers was prohibited under work-to-rule, as it was considered a “non-core program.”

Now, universities and school boards will communicate to see which teachers are interested in hosting education students, Education Minister Karen Casey said Wednesday.

“Teachers and principals want to get back to some sense of normalcy,” Casey told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

But, she added, teachers will not be required to accept bachelor of education students.

“We can’t force them into the classroom; forcing wouldn’t make a good partnership,” said Casey. “There are usually more teachers willing than there are students so if there aren’t enough we’ll have to deal with that, but we think there are.”

Casey said it’s uncertain whether teachers will choose to take on all of the roles they had before the work-to-rule action.

Meanwhile, #newnormal has been gaining momentum among NSTU supporters who are advocating for less unpaid labour in the classroom.

In January, MSVU joined with four other universities to take the NSTU to court. The universities argued that nearly 600 education students across Nova Scotia wouldn’t be able to graduate because of work-to-rule. The lawsuit is no longer moving forward.

Casey said eventually teachers will move past the conflict.

“For some they’ll transition tomorrow — for others they’ll take time,” she said.