Sunday, March 3, 2013

Regulation 274, Education Act of Ontario

I was just about to start a petition at Change.org about this, but, thanks to Angie Potts, there's one already there.  After, I'm guessing, about 5 day, it's got 415 signatures.  Please take two seconds to click on the link and sign it.

I wrote a letter to Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, and Kathleen Wynne, Premier, and Catherine Fife, my MPP.  But if walking to the mailbox is a chore on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, send a quick e-mail - the contacts are at the links.  You can copy and paste what I wrote if you're not up to creating today:


To the Honourable Liz Sandals, MPP, Minister of Education  
I have some serious concerns with Regulation 274, added to the Education Act in September, which guides the hiring process of teachers. It ensures that a maximum of five qualified teachers who have been on the supply list the longest are to be interviewed for each job. Administrators are no longer permitted to choose the best and brightest possible to fill each spot. And there is a glut of educated people hoping for a job in teaching. 
While it’s unfortunate that a few excellent supply teachers have been overlooked over the years, there are many that are on the supply list year after year who passed over for jobs because they haven’t shown their excellence with students. As this hiring process continues, we could end up with a concentration of weaker teachers given interviews, while some excellent potential candidates know they’ll be sitting on that list for years, if not forever. 
This controlling amendment is a means to prevent nepotism, but I haven’t seen any of that where I teach. What I see now, though, are supply teachers who have worked in our building for years, who know the routines and the kids, and who are not allowed to be interviewed for any position because they’re pages and pages of names away from the top of the list. 
I’d like to see the strongest possible candidate get the job of teaching my children – not the candidate who held on the longest. Please consider removing this regulation from the Education Act immediately.   
What are you waiting for?  Sign the petition and send a letter.  That's the only way we have any chance of stopping this.

If you want to read the Regulation in full before committing, it's here, or read this if you want it explained more.

ETA: The change in Education Ministers, prompted an article in my local paper and a new petition

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

My letters to Liz Sandals and Kathleen Wynne:

Honourable Liz Sandals,

Congratulations on being appointed Ontario's Minister of Education. Relations with Ontario's teachers very are strained and I am pleased that the Premier has selected someone with a strong background in the education sector (albeit on the administration side of things) who can better relate to the issues involved.

I am writing you to ask you to please review the email below I sent to the Premier on January 30, 2013 in which I have asked that Ontario Regulation 274/12 (under the education act) be rescinded. This regulation dictates how school boards are required to fill long term occasional and permanent teaching positions. Basically positions are to be filled based on seniority. As a former school board member and chair, and former president of the OPSBA, you are uniquely qualified to know that seniority is not the only factor to be considered when selecting teachers for positions and is not in the best interest of the students. There are many other factors which go into selecting the right person for a job. Your own appointment as the Minister of Education is an excellent example of choosing the right fit over seniority.

I ask that you please review my email, as well as the countless other letters from school boards and teachers (previously sent to the former Minister of Education, Laurel Broten), and Put Students First by rescinding Ontario Regulation 274/12.

Anonymous said...

Honourable Kathleen Wynne,

Congratulations on becoming the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and the next Premier of Ontario!

I am writing you regarding the ongoing battle between the provincial government and teachers. While Bill 115 has received the majority of attention in the news, I would like to discuss Ontario Regulation 274/12 (under the Education Act) which has a significant impact on the quality of education provided to Ontario students.

What this regulation does is dictate how the school boards are required to hire teachers for long-term occasional (LTO) and permanent (contract) positions and in a nutshell, these positions are to be filled based on seniority. To summarize this process:

1. Each school board will maintain a roster of occasional teachers.
2. Occasional teachers who have been on the list for at least 10 months and have taught in the board at least 20 days during the previous 10 months may apply to be on the long-term occasional teachers list.
3. Once on the long-term occasional teachers list, the teachers are ranked based on seniority.
4. For any open LTO or contract positions, the 5 most senior teachers on the long-term occasional teachers list (with the required qualifications) who have agreed to be interviewed, will be interviewed.
5. One of those five candidates will be offered the position.
6. If none of the five candidates accept, then the job is open for anyone on the long-term occasional teachers list to apply to.

I believe this regulation was enacted in an effort to promote fair hiring practices as there are instances where prospective candidates are looked over in favour of friends and family. While this is an issue, Ontario Regulation 274/12 is not the solution - it creates more problems and is detrimental to the education of our children. Please consider rescinding Ontario Regulation 274/12.

The process required by Ontario Regulation 274/12 is inherently flawed as it treats teachers as numbers rather than individuals. It assumes that the only thing that differentiates teachers is seniority and ignores the uniqueness of each individual teacher. Seniority does not mean a "better" teacher. In most places of work, employers typically hire the best candidate for the job, whether or not they are the most experienced. Think about it when you hire your own staff - would you pick an average candidate with 20+ years of experience, or an exceptional candidate with 5 years of experience? There are other factors to consider to ensure they are "the right fit" including whether the candidate's personality clashes with yours or other employees, drive, enthusiasm, creativity, potential and the list goes on. Experience is not the only factor. Even in politics, it is the same - you were picked as Premier because the Liberal Party thinks you are the best person for the job. By no means were you the most senior or experienced MPP. When you pick your cabinet, you will use the same criteria if you want a well managed Ontario i.e. the best people for the job, not the most senior.

Anonymous said...

In addition to what I indicated above, please also consider the following significant impacts this regulation will have on the students, teachers and school boards:

1. It takes control of the hiring process away from principals.
Principals are on the front lines and know their staff and students and are the best judge to determine which candidates would be the best fit for the school. This regulation forces them to pick 1 of 5 random candidates (i.e. the 5 most senior candidates on the list) with the possibility that none of the 5 candidates are suitable for the position.

2. It will create complacency and laziness.
If the only factor to be eligible for an LTO or contract position is seniority, then there is no incentive to improve yourself as a teacher through professional development. While there are teachers who will improve themselves, there will also be many teachers who will do the bare minimum for a good performance review because they know that they are guaranteed an LTO position, then a contract position. This will be detrimental to students. Having principals hand picking teachers ensures that students get the best teachers and not just the "most senior".

3. It will create discontinuity for students.
Typically if an occasional teacher is filling in and they work over a certain number of days in a row (e.g. 10), it automatically is converted to an LTO. Take an example of occasional teacher A who fills in for a sick teacher. The teacher continues to be sick. Per this regulation, after day 10, occasional teacher A will no longer be able to fill in as it will become an LTO. So occasional teacher B then fills in. At this point it is determined that sick teacher will not be returning for the rest of the semester and an LTO is posted. Occasional teacher C gets the job. Occasional teachers A and B never got an interview based on low seniority.
During this time the students would have had 4 teachers rather than just 2. That is not a good situation and will affect the progress of the students.

There are also many schools which have had the same teachers in LTO positions year after year. These teachers have strong bonds with the students and staff and are a good fit. Under this regulation, these teachers could be replaced. Again this is more detrimental than helpful for the students.

4. It punishes new/young teachers.
There are an abundance of new and young teachers who are incredibly talented and are better suited for some positions than more senior teachers. This regulation is a slap in the face and tells them "Don't to bother trying, just wait for your turn". Teachers should be rewarded for excellence at teaching, not for seniority.

5. It will be a demotion for many teachers.
There will be many teachers who have worked very hard and earned current and previous LTO positions who will no longer be eligible for the same positions because they are not "senior" enough. This regulation is another slap in the face to teachers as it says "while you did an excellent job this year, we don't care because we will have to give this job to someone with more seniority".

Anonymous said...

6. It will cost school boards time and money.
Initially this will cost time and money to conduct interviews to setup the long-term occasional teachers list.

Also, the interview process for LTO and contract positions will take significantly longer. As is the case for most school boards, in May/June hundreds of LTO and contract positions for the following school year are posted. As an example, assume 200 positions requiring identical teacher qualifications are available in 1 board (this is quite typical, particularly at the elementary level). Per the regulation, the board has to interview the 5 most senior teachers from the LTO list for a position. That will mean the board will have to interview for 1 position at a time and wait for the outcome of the interviews for the first position to ensure that they are then interviewing the 5 most senior teachers from the LTO list for the second position. Does the school board really have to do this for 200 positions? This is a scheduling nightmare and a waste of time.

While I appreciate that this regulation is an attempt to promote fair hiring practices, it is not the right approach. The pre-regulation hiring practices are not ideal, but they are significantly better so I strongly urge that Ontario Regulation 274/12 be rescinded. The majority (if not all) of the school boards in Ontario have already contacted the Minister of Education to voice their opposition to this regulation and ask that it be rescinded. It is in the best interest of the students to ensure that they have the very best teachers in the classroom which this regulation hinders. Put Students First.

Snyder said...

Awesome letters!

Anonymous said...

While these points are well argued, I can say with confidence that hiring for the "best fit" has permitted principals the freedom to pre-select their candidate of choice, despite the interview process. I've seen young teachers transition seamlessly from student teaching, to an LTO to a permanent contract, without missing a day of work. I've seen several young, male student teachers fly past more seasoned and accredited OTs, get on that preferred list, get that LTO, and get a permanent contract within a year. Time and time, again, I hear teachers in staff rooms announce that their newly graduated son or daughter got a full year LTO, only to learn the following year that the son or daughter got a permanent contract. I've been around long enough to know that "best fit" sounds very good in theory, but does not require accountability or transparency. This is precisely why Boards have fought so hard to preserve it during collective bargaining. If "best fit" were truly the best method for placing staff, all contract teachers would be teaching the grade and subject of their choice, year after year. We all know that "best fit" goes out the window once you are permanent. At the end of the day, the filling the job should be about selecting the best candidate for the position. There will be dozens and dozens who truly meet and exceed that criteria. Of the five candidates interviewed with the most experience, it is fair to say that one of them will do a great job and be a great fit.

Anonymous

Snyder said...

I ask that people can use the Anonymous sign-in, but to PLEASE add a name to the bottom of the post so they can be differentiated - even if it's not their own name. Maybe I have to clarify that. Anyway, to the fifth Anon of March 9 at 1:43....

I totally agree that we need the best candidate for the position, and that tons could fill it, but I don't agree that they'll necessarily be found in the top five longest serving on the supply list.

The problem we have in our board is that, previously at least, people on the supply list were not scrutinized or ranked in any way. Depending on what year they joined, they could have had gone through minimal or no evaluation of abilities to get on. So, while some excellent teachers have been on the list a long time, others at the top of the list have never been found to be particularly excellent, they just filled a need. If that just makes a small percentage of people on the list, it's still just a matter of time before the top five is full of weak candidates.

To clarify: If one is weak and four strong, a strong will be chosen. But after successive rounds of hiring, the weak ones remain at the top as the strong ones are taken. Then eventually, the top five could be made of five weak candidates. Then we're no longer in a position to choose from among the best candidates for the position.

Anonymous said...

Of corse deffinetly I am against the seniority, especially for permanent teachers. Why permanent teachers are not tested like in US, if they whant to keep their jobs. The teachers shouldn't have a job for life, and their salary shouldn't increase based on seniority but based on merit. Deffinetly we should start we them first. Corporations don't promote their employee based on seniority, but based on merit. In case of a lay off, the school should get rid off the worst teacher, not of the most recent hired one. I deffinetly write to the Prime Minister and to the minister of education. Seniority is not the best interest of the kids, make the public schools private and raise the salaries based on merit not on seniority.

Anonymous said...

This is honestly the most ridiculous idea that has been created ever.

Anonymous said...

This kind of replaces nepotism with ageism in a way.

I have over 10 years of experience working with special needs kids. When I was 13, I worked one-on-one with an autistic kid and learned ASL. I was placed in a Grade 5 classroom for 6 months, 5 days a week, as part of a continuing education program, which is way more than most LTO assignments are! Since I am going into teachers college this year, I worry that my chances are even slimmer. I have professional experience in children's and Canadian (Aboriginal) media and I am looking to get AQ in media literacy and Aboriginal education. I probably have more hours experience than many of the LTO teachers. Yet, because of my low seniority, none of this matters. It's really frustrating! I can see why seniority should play a part but I do not think it would hold such weight.

I have been doing a lot of research on this subject and notice many comments from current LTO teachers who hold seniority. Sadly, many of their comments are littered with spelling and grammatical errors. Sorry but this really worries me. I wouldn't want people who cannot construct a sentence properly to teach my kids how to do so.

Also, what about moving? Teachers are now forced to stay in certain geographical areas where their school board is located? Also, this really shatters Northern Canada or International schools who otherwise benefit from teachers moving to gather experience. What's the point then? If you want to move back, you start from the bottom.

I guess this is trying to prohibit people from becoming new teachers!?

I also noticed that many of the teachers I went to high-school with, whose parents are also teachers or work for the board, already have permanent positions and were part of the New Teacher Induction Program -- and completed it -- a year or 2 after graduation from teacher's college. So I can see how nepotism is an issue. I'm not saying that they weren't qualified, because I truly feel they are, but I know 4 individual people who fit this bill (and that's in 1 school board!)

My teachers in elementary school were amazing. I had some horrible ones in high-school. One teacher in particular always showed up hung over, made us read out of the textbooks and just assigned questions from end of each book chapter as he sat at his desk. One teacher was very old and didn't speak very good English and could barely communicate with his students (and he taught History! Communication is important!) And yet, because of this rule, they would gain jobs very easily because of their ages.


Even still, I will pay my dues like everyone else.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to add my name to the comment above. Bob!

Snyder said...

Hi Bob,

It's true this is a very difficult time to become a teacher. I wrote another post about how to deal with weak teachers who are hanging on to jobs yet do their job poorly. I'm not sure it could work, though. Another issue not talked about much is how many teachers could retire, but don't want to. If they want to bring in new teachers, it would help to make retirement mandatory and/or not allow retirees to supply teach. But, then some people at that end of life are struggling too. It's tricky when there's too many people that want something so short in supply.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a mess! I hope that the boards are extremely selective as they interview and build their LTO rosters from the occasional list, because as far as I can tell this is the only opportunity that they will have to ensure that seniority not ridiculously trump actual teaching excellence. They could, for example, only place on the roster senior teachers with significant and positive LTO experience, and new, excellent teachers. Will this be done?? I don't know and I'm not confident.
What I cannot understand is why date of hire is considered the prime reference for seniority, and then only in the case of a tie do actual days worked enter consideration. I know that date of hire defines seniority in any other unionized workplace, but in other workplaces I'm pretty sure that date of hire correlates strongly with time spent actually doing the job. I cannot understand why decision makers failed, or refused, to recognize this. Why would the legislation not have required that the roster rank firstly according to number of days worked as a regular (ie LTO, not daily occasional) teacher; one who plans and delivers lessons, assesses students, interacts with parents; offers extracurricular opportunities etc; secondly according to days worked occasionally, and only then, in case of tie, according to hiring seniority.
My board has just finished building their roster and I am anxiously waiting to see how this impacts my own career next fall. I am a teacher with seven years of non-stop LTO teaching (seven years as the primary classroom teacher), and a teacher who has had a tiny (0.17) permanent assignment for almost three years (three years in which, unfortunately, my board has frozen any increases or new hiring). So, the following scenario could well be reality: I could be prevented from consideration for LTO "top up" at the school where I hold my permanent course. Instead, one of five occasional teachers with little or no experience as full-time classroom teachers, who happened to be hired as supply teachers months before me, may be teaching in my place. Wow.

Patrice (math and science teacher, and according to my students a darn good one!!!)

Anonymous said...

Also, what hasn't been mentioned is the case of myself and about 50 other teachers in our board who have been laid off in the last week (due to cutbacks) - some with up to 5 years experience (I myself have 4 years with the board and 3 of those permanent). Because we were permanent, we did not need to do supply or occasional work so therefore, we are not eligible to be on the occasional list. Now that we are out of a job, we are bumped to the bottom of the pile because we haven't been interviewed to be on the list (we didn't need to because of our permanent status). Now we have to get on the list to try to gain an LTO position for September.

Peter Reese said...

Hello there,

I just came across your article "A Puff of Absurdity" that focuses on flushing Regulation 274 down the toilet. I completely disagree with your article!

First of all, what's wrong with this new regulation? What's the problem? Principals get to select from 5 qualified, experienced supply teachers for long term occasional positions. Once a teacher is chosen, he or she has made a commitment and will be evaluated on his or her classroom performance for that teaching assignment. This wasn't done in the previous hiring process as OTs were never expected to receive any performance evaluations. Next, these evaluations will be considered toward future positions in terms of finding full-time, permanent contract positions. It's a very professional, developmental process :)

Second, you mention that principals should be the only people to subjectively select or hire teachers to meet the needs of their students? I disagree again! Most, if not all, principals don't even come out of their offices to get to know OTs let alone watch them teach a simple lesson. Every year, there are 1000s of applications filled out on the ApplytoEducation database for LTO positions. How do principals short list one, two, or three teachers from a list of 500 to 1000 applicants. Principals do not read through every application. Therefore, how are they choosing the "best" teacher? They're not. Instead, they're just choosing familiar names who they personally know. It's not fair for teachers or for students.

Third, there isn't a shortage of teachers anymore like there was during the late 90s and early 2000s. Teachers are plentiful now and student demographics have fallen. Therefore, teaching positions are extremely scarce right now and guess who is getting hired? People who are directly linked to the administration (principals, trustees and superintendents). I have seen it happen several times during my career. Principals care more about hiring their family and friends during times when there are no jobs. It has nothing to do with choosing the right teacher to meet the needs of students. It's called "nepotism" and it needs to stop. Regulation 274 will make it a lot harder for the administration to hire who they want. Principals will no longer be the "gatekeeper" for a supply teacher's career.

The only people who are really opposed to this new regulation are powerful administrators (principals, trustees, and superintendents) who don't want to lose their management power to hire who they want (family and friends) and first year/young teachers who don't want to end up at the bottom of a seniority list. However, everyone will just say how Regulation 274 is no good for students to cover up what's really going on.

Cheers!
Peter R
Substitute Teacher > 10 years

Feel free to post my email to your discussion page. I am sure you won't though :) Take care!

Marie Snyder said...

As I explained in the article, my biggest concern is that the five people with on the supply list the longest aren't necessarily the best for the job. Yes, it's an efficient system, but it's clearly not aimed at getting the best candidate but at getting the position filled most expediently. And, as I said above, my situation is that we have supply teachers in our school who have been there for years, but aren't near the top of the list, so they're not allowed to apply for any job openings even though they've proven themselves as excellent candidates.

I'm not a powerful administrator, but I'm opposed to this new regulation as are many other teachers who see excellent supply teachers denied the opportunity to work in our building in favour of candidates who have been there longer, but might not be as suitable.

I'm not sure why you e-mailed instead of just commented on the blog, but of course I'll post it there. Why wouldn't I?

Peter Reese said...

Marie Snyder:

Wait a second here Marie :) Contract (permanent) teachers have been honoured with seniority with their school boards for many years now? LOL! Why not get rid of that? Why should occasional teachers be the ONLY group of teachers who are denied their seniority? It's like putting cake on one plate, but not on the other. How is that fair? I am sure you have seniority with your school board right? LOL!

Both contract and educational assistants (EAs) have had their rights to seniority for years and USE that seniority when they apply for jobs. What about that? It's been going on for years on end. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen teachers get "bumped" from a position and have to pack up their classroom and move to another school, all because someone else had more seniority. Let's make sure the public knows the real truth here.

Maybe if principals hired the "best" most qualified teachers all along, there wouldn't be any need for this regulation, but clearly there is. Not long ago, principals used their schools like it was their own personal playground and invite whoever they wanted to come and teach, but times have finally changed as people have now caught on with such an old, flawed hiring process.

FYI, I emailed you because your email was provided on your profile. For all future replies, I will post here.

PS- a couple of interesting articles for you to read:

http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2013/01/23/peel_school_board_launches_plan_to_hire_on_the_basis_of_merit_not_nepotism.html

http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2013/06/18/peel_school_board_still_dogged_by_nepotism_claim.html

http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/08/13/47893/

Nepotism is not only limited to the Catholic school boards either. It is very much alive in the public school boards too. Back when I was a student teacher at the faculty (Teachers College) I can remember my faculty advisor asking me when I graduated "Do you have any connections?" LOL! Let's talk about the REAL reason why Regulation 274 exists. Cheers!

Sincerely,
Peter R

Anonymous said...

Dear Marie,

“Administrators are no longer permitted to choose the best and brightest possible to fill each spot. And there is a glut of educated people hoping for a job in teaching.”

Ok, when have principals ever chosen the very “best” teachers to fill jobs? I agree with Peter on this one.

Let’s just consider for a moment that a principal gets one thousand electronic applications for a particular teaching position right? Are you telling me and everyone else who reads this article that these administrators are going through every single application and narrowing down the “best and brightest” teachers for job interviews? That’s completely false. They just choose their favourites. What does that have to do with helping students?

I just recently attended a staff party in June and personally heard a principal talk about who she is going to hire in September. Are you kidding me? Nepotism at its best :( Boo!

“While it’s unfortunate that a few excellent supply teachers have been overlooked over the years, there are many that are on the supply list year after year who passed over for jobs because they haven’t shown their excellence with students.”

Ok Marie, where is your evidence to support this claim? You know every single supply teacher out there do you? I think not!

Karen :)

Anonymous said...

Con't ...

“As this hiring process continues, we could end up with a concentration of weaker teachers given interviews, while some excellent potential candidates know they’ll be sitting on that list for years, if not forever.”

Well, first year teachers and those who have only been on the job for a couple of years or so need to go out and gain a lot more teaching experience before having their very own classroom. Consider this hypothetical situation for a moment please. Have you ever worked as a SERT before? I have several times and let me tell you hun, it’s not easy administering standardized tests (ie., KTEA-2) and writing IEPs. It takes a lot of time, patience, hard work and experience to work with special needs students.

“This controlling amendment is a means to prevent nepotism, but I haven’t seen any of that where I teach.”

Oh c'mon Marie, are you saying you have never known or heard of anyone inside your school board who was hired because of someone else? Many of my colleagues (occasional and contract) would disagree with that in a heartbeat.

“What I see now, though, are supply teachers who have worked in our building for years, who know the routines and the kids, and who are not allowed to be interviewed for any position because they’re pages and pages of names away from the top of the list.”

Are you kidding me Marie? It doesn’t take that long to become familiar with a group of students. Every year I am given a classroom full of new students who I don’t know. It’s called getting to know your students through observation and co-operative learning. Have you ever given your students response journals or had restorative discussions? Consider an art lesson where students have to cut-out or draw pictures inside their initials using newspapers or magazines. You can easily get to know your students very quickly using some simple, creative activities. I use these ideas with my students all the time. I also keep in touch with their parents whenever possible. You are making this job sound a lot harder than it really is :( Why?

By the way, supply teachers are perhaps the most flexible teachers I know because they visit so many classrooms and learning environments throughout the school year. Therefore, experienced supply teachers will have no trouble adapting to any classroom or school community.

“I’d like to see the strongest possible candidate get the job of teaching my children – not the candidate who held on the longest.”

There is definitely a correlation between seniority and classroom experience. I know for a fact that I am a much better educator now after 17 years of teaching compared to when I first started my career. I am also a much better driver now compared to when I first got my license. My husband will agree with me on that one ;)

In conclusion, seniority does reflect performance and should never be overlooked when a teacher applies for a job.

Like you, I also want my children to have the best teacher possible. That’s why I would rather have my two sons in a classroom with a teacher who holds more experience compared to some "newbie" coming straight out of teachers college. I also want my children to have teachers who earned their way through the ranks rather than those who got their jobs handed to them on a silver platter! Wouldn't you?

“Please consider removing this regulation from the Education Act immediately.”

No way!!

Karen ;-)
17 Years Experience (TDSB)

Marie Snyder said...

Hi Karen,
Principals won't look at 1,000 applications, it's true. But they shouldn't be restricted to only five. There can be a middle ground. But more importantly, nepotism isn't the same as choosing a favourite supply teacher because s/he's so good with the kids - nepotism is favouritism regardless of merit. If a supply is providing excellent lessons, and the kids love him/her, and the admin has heard nothing but good things from students, parents, and teachers, it makes little sense to forbid the admin from hiring that person. Of course they'll be a favourite of admin, but because they're amazing, not because they're related or otherwise offering incentives unrelated to teaching ability.

I don't have to know every supply teacher to know there are a few weak ones out there who haven't been hired because they've consistently gotten negative reports from teachers and students. Some of those will be in the top five ahead of the others with consistently excellent reports. Therein lies the problem.

The upshot is the question of which is a worse scenario: having a few friends-of-admin hired over better qualified teachers from time to time, or being restricted to hiring from only five who might all have weak reports following them. We obviously sit on opposite sides of the fence on this one.

Seniority sometimes improves performance, but it's certainly not always the case. Have you never had an older teacher in school who lacked creativity in content and presentation and yelled at kids to get them to pay attention?

Finally, wouldn't it be nice if we could all vote on this rather than have it quietly imposed by the government? Then if it's the case, as Peter suggests, that only admin have issues with it, it would pass easily.

Marie Snyder said...

Peter, Regardless the frequency of nepotism, I don't think this is the best solution. One of the problems with interviewing supply teachers based on their date added to the list is that they aren't evaluated in any way. They might have letters of recommendation from principals to take with them, but, my big concern, what if the top five on the list are all weak? Yes, it happens elsewhere that people are hired based on longevity, but it doesn't make it the best way to choose, just the fastest.

Peter Reese said...

Dear Marie:

Then what is the best solution? Please tell me because the old hiring process is completely flawed, full of nepotism, and is not fair for teachers or for students.

Supply teachers aren’t evaluated in any way? That’s completely untrue! Not sure where you’re going with that statement which leads me to believe you aren’t very familiar with this new hiring process.

First, supply teachers are evaluated. They have to attend a “behavioural interview” with their school boards to become eligible for the LTO roster. If the school board doesn’t believe certain teachers are not properly fit to be on the LTO list, then their application wouldn’t proceed any further. Simple!

Now, if an occasional teacher successfully passes the interview and is placed on the roster, he or she will be interviewed for LTO positions according to their seniority or date of hire. A principal will get to select from a list of five senior supply teachers who not only meet all the qualifications and have a lot of teaching experience, but also have very good references as well. What else do they need to prove? LOL!

When I applied to the LTO roster in June, my school board required two updated letters of recommendation from two administrators who are currently employed within the school board. That cannot happen if you are a “weak” teacher. Sorry! In my opinion, the only real weak teachers out there are those who came into the board with family connections.

FYI, the interview process is not that easy to pass. I would really like to see you try it :)

Finally, when principals choose candidates for jobs, they will be required to formally evaluate the performance of those teachers throughout their teaching assignments. This was never required in the past; however, it should have been.

There will be formal evaluations and performance appraisals for all long-term occasional teachers. If for any reason a teacher should not be successful, he or she will have a very difficult time finding future employment. So, the "weak" teachers that you keep referring to won't be going very far.

Once again, what’s the problem with this process? It’s completely fair and transparent in every step of the way. LOL! Why should teaching jobs be simply handed over from a principal? Have you ever applied to the OPP or any other provincial department? The process is extremely competitive because only the best candidates will proceed through the ranks. The same should be done for selecting teachers!

By the way, you didn’t answer my question from before. Do you have seniority with your school board? If so, do you use it when you apply for jobs or transfer from one position to the next? Let’s talk about that.

Sincerely,
Peter R

Marie Snyder said...

"A principal will get to select from a list of five senior supply teachers who not only meet all the qualifications and have a lot of teaching experience, but also have very good references as well." From what I understand at our board, principals get to look at the five most senior supply teachers that have the right teachables for the position. There's no exclusion in getting in that top five based on not having very good reference. It is, however, necessary to get two admin letters of references to get on the list in the first place, but I wonder to what extent they show exceptional teaching since, from what I've seen, principals often don't even know the supply teachers' names, but they write the letters regardless. I think it changes the game significantly if LTOs are formally evaluated in the classroom - but so far I haven't seen that happen at all. The VPs in my school barely have time to get through their roster of teacher evaluations each year.

What if principals were given the info for the top five based on seniority, then also allowed to look at a few other candidates who are regulars in the school, BUT if they choose outside the most senior five, they have to show the chosen candidate has equal or better qualifications. This stops weak candidate from being hired due to connections only, yet the supply teachers who have put in long hours in the school and work well with the department already can be allowed to continue. I lean towards far greater transparency in hiring practices rather than a limited choice of candidates. Even with the top five model of 274, the principal might know one and still choose based on familiarity. Greater transparency might get at that problem more directly.

I've been at the same school for over 20 years with no desire to leave, so I don't know if I'd have extra privileges if I wanted to transfer. I do know that I'm still given courses outside my area that aren't my preference. In fact, I spent two years working in a program I didn't believe in or enjoy, but I was given a "choice," and the other option was far worse. So it goes.

Peter Reese said...

Dear Marie:

“From what I understand at our board, principals get to look at the five most senior supply teachers that have the right teachables for the position.”

That’s right! The five most senior OTs also have to meet all the qualifications for the position(s) they are applying for. They still need to be qualified for the job. In other words, you cannot teach French unless you have your FSL. You cannot be a SERT unless you have your Spec Ed qualifications. The top five OTs still need to have the “teachables” for the positions they are applying for regardless of how much seniority they have. Absolutely correct! I personally think this is where parents have become confused with this new regulation. They need to be properly informed.

“There's no exclusion in getting in that top five based on not having very good reference. It is, however, necessary to get two admin letters of references to get on the list in the first place, but I wonder to what extent they show exceptional teaching since, from what I've seen, principals often don't even know the supply teachers' names, but they write the letters regardless.”

Okay Marie, let me ask you this question. If the administration is not doing their job properly and writing letters of recommendation to supply teachers who they can’t even remember, according to you, then why should they be doing the hiring? It makes no sense. I think you have just proved my case.

“I think it changes the game significantly if LTOs are formally evaluated in the classroom - but so far I haven't seen that happen at all.”

Exactly! I have never had one teaching evaluation and have completed over a dozen LTO positions in the last ten years. It would be nice to have something in my hand that can back up the work that I have done and the dues I have paid. I am sure it would also be nice for parents to know that someone was evaluating the performance of an LTO teacher to make sure that person was the right fit for the job. The old hiring system never had anything like this in place. Why should performance appraisals be only limited to contract teachers? Makes no sense!

“The VPs in my school barely have time to get through their roster of teacher evaluations each year.”

Regulation 274 now requires administrators to formally evaluate occasional teachers who take on long-term assignments. Sounds good to me! However, I am not sure if administrators are very happy to evaluate more teachers, especially OTs. You have stated above that your principal doesn’t have the “time” to keep up with his/her yearly evaluations right? Therefore, this makes me wonder … is there another reason why so many principals object to this new regulation? I think so! It would save them a lot of work wouldn’t it? Hidden agendas are endless.

“What if principals were given the info for the top five based on seniority …”

They do! When occasional teachers make the LTO roster after successfully passing a very difficult behavioural interview with their school board HR department, they are then free to apply for LTO positions. OTs can apply and submit their applications electronically on the ApplytoEducation database. They can upload their resumes, cover letters, recommendations, OCT qualifications, criminal record checks, university transcripts and degrees. It’s all there for the administration to look through. What else do they need to know?

Peter R.

Peter Reese said...

Continued ...

“… then also allowed to look at a few other candidates who are regulars in the school …”

Absolutely not! I see where you’re going here, but that’s just going back to the old hiring system where principals get to choose who they want. I’ve seen it happen several times throughout my career and it needs to stop. It’s not good for teachers or for students. Jobs need to be earned, not manufactured!

When was the last time you actually went out and applied for a teaching position? It’s extremely competitive right now because there are no jobs. Principals will "pull strings" for their family and friends before ever considering someone else like me. I work very hard too, but cannot be recognized by every single administrator across the board, but that shouldn’t exclude my application either. Just because I don’t visit a school as frequently as someone else doesn’t mean I am not as good or capable at the job.

“BUT if they choose outside the most senior five, they have to show the chosen candidate has equal or better qualifications.”

How about having more “teaching experience” Marie? Yes! There are teachers out there who are ranked higher than me on the OT seniority list who haven’t completed as many LTOs, but have an earlier “date of hire” with the school board. That might be the only concern I have with Regulation 274. The seniority list should be ranked according to “classroom experience” and not date of hire. In any case, however, principals should not be shortlisting teachers on their own and simply handing over jobs to whoever they want. Most principals already know who they’re going to hire long before a job is posted. It happens all the time unfortunately and it needs to stop. By the way, there are many teaching positions that are never posted throughout the year either. This is just another reason why I support Regulation 274.

“This stops weak candidate from being hired due to connections only, yet the supply teachers who have put in long hours in the school and work well with the department already can be allowed to continue.”

Okay, why should principals have to hire the supply teachers who know their schools the best? What’s that supposed to mean really? For example, a supply teacher could simply live around the corner from a school and show up frequently because the secretaries and staff request that teacher. It’s just more convenient for them. So what? That teacher might only have a couple of years on the job whereas someone else could have far greater, but rarely comes in to teach a class. That doesn’t mean that the more experienced teacher who lives across town isn’t as good at the job. There are many OTs who can easily adjust from one school to the next. It’s not rocket science.

“I lean towards far greater transparency in hiring practices rather than a limited choice of candidates.”

Okay, what would your idea of introducing “greater transparency” be then?

“Even with the top five model of 274, the principal might know one and still choose based on familiarity.”

True! A principal might just recognize the work ethic of other supply teachers who visit their schools from time to time rather than those who come in on a regular basis. Regulation 274 allows teachers to relocate to other schools and become familiar with new staff and students. I personally think it’s very healthy :) Don’t you agree?

“I've been at the same school for over 20 years with no desire to leave”

Do you have seniority as an internal contract teacher with your school board?

Peter R.
A patient substitute teacher :)

Anonymous said...

Marie,

“Principals won't look at 1,000 applications, it's true.”

Yep! They won’t even look through 500 applications either. Therefore, how are they shortlisting teachers if they’re not considering everyone who applies for the job? I like this quote written by Louise Brown, an education reporter for the Toronto Star. She writes:

“Principals often conduct interviews solo without having to show how they arrived at a shortlist of three candidates from 500 applicants, or to document what questions they asked in the interview, or to explain why they made their final choice.”

There’s clearly no transparency at all when principals get to choose who they want. Regulation 274 will now change this horrible hiring procedure and introduce more transparency into the profession.
It’s already happening now as we communicate :)

“But more importantly, nepotism isn't the same as choosing a favourite supply teacher because s/he's so good with the kids - nepotism is favouritism regardless of merit. If a supply is providing excellent lessons, and the kids love him/her, and the admin has heard nothing but good things from students, parents, and teachers, it makes little sense to forbid the admin from hiring that person.”

I know many terrific supply teachers who get passed over for interviews and unfortunately stay on the supply list for an indefinite period of time with nowhere to go but in and out of a classroom. You also have to understand that times have changed just like Peter has mentioned. There are way too many teachers right now with only a handful of students to teach. Jobs have become so scarce that it all comes down to who teachers know rather than what qualifications or merit badges they hold. Also, can you imagine just how much pressure a principal must have from their family and friends to get jobs during such tough times? They will hire for themselves before the needs of their students in a heartbeat! It’s the way the world works unfortunately :(

“Of course they'll be a favourite of admin, but because they're amazing, not because they're related or otherwise offering incentives unrelated to teaching ability.”

Yes, but there are many amazing supply teachers out there who are still stuck on supply lists year round. Consider this scenario for a moment. A teacher gets hired for an LTO position and does a good job. He or she also volunteers around the school community and has a great rapport with all staff and students. Next, the administration leaves to another school board or transfers to another position inside the board. Now, that poor supply teacher has to cut his or her teeth over and over again to impress someone else. Principals shouldn’t be the “gatekeeper” of a supply teacher’s career like Peter mentioned above. That’s why teaching evaluations and seniority came into play because it gives supply teachers a place in line to move up the ranks. Jobs need to be earned, not handed out like candy!

Karen

Anonymous said...

Con't ...

“I don't have to know every supply teacher to know there are a few weak ones out there who haven't been hired because they've consistently gotten negative reports from teachers and students.”

There are many weak contract teachers too who don’t fit in well with staff and students either. However, they have slipped through the cracks and never have to worry about losing their jobs. Have you ever thought about that? BTW, have you ever tried supply teaching before? I personally would rather teach in the same classroom everyday rather than going into a different classroom every day. You might have a hard time as a substitute teacher too? Keep in mind, it’s a lot easier when you have your own classroom and know your own routine than diving into cold water every day. I’ve done it before and paid my dues for three years before I finally got a contract. That’s why I hold a lot of respect for supply teachers!

I also know many “slackers” at my school that couldn’t lift a finger to help out around the school and wish they could be replaced with some hard working supply teachers. You know what the tragedy is though Marie? These supply teachers cannot apply for “internal” contract positions because they are all external applicants. They may have seniority as supply teachers, but cannot apply to contract positions like you and I. That’s not fair to them at all. The hiring system needs a complete makeover!

“Some of those will be in the top five ahead of the others with consistently excellent reports. Therein lies the problem.”

What reports are you referring to here? Occasional teachers were never evaluated in any way. They will be now :)

“The upshot is the question of which is a worse scenario: having a few friends-of-admin hired over better qualified teachers from time to time, or being restricted to hiring from only five who might all have weak reports following them. We obviously sit on opposite sides of the fence on this one.”
There are many people right now who were hired in the past year because of connections. Ever since we got this new principal last fall, there have been 5 LTO positions. Guess what? All the teachers were directly connected with this principal in some way. All the previous LTO teachers were never called in for interviews and these teachers were very well liked by all the staff and students. The administration holds far too much power to pick and choose who they want. Regulation 274 now introduces fair and transparent hiring practices.

“Seniority sometimes improves performance, but it's certainly not always the case. Have you never had an older teacher in school who lacked creativity in content and presentation and yelled at kids to get them to pay attention?”
You have to be careful when you speak of someone’s age. Just because a teacher has far greater experience or has a few more gray hairs than someone else doesn’t mean he or she isn’t as good at the job. That’s called “age discrimination” Marie. For example, a twenty year teacher can be just as good, creative and enthusiastic as someone coming straight out of Teachers College. Most of the time, however, the more experienced teacher is more adjusted and settled into the profession.
Let’s just put it this way my dear, if you cannot deal with behaviour, you cannot teach a lesson. My last student teacher had a very difficult time with my students because her classroom management skills were very limited. She had good ideas and worked hard, but couldn’t connect with the children and I had to intervene on a few occasions. Her classroom management skills will improve over time I am sure. Experience does matter and I don’t care what anyone says.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Con't again ... Sorry, there's just not enough room ;)

“Finally, wouldn't it be nice if we could all vote on this rather than have it quietly imposed by the government?”

Well, the Ministry of Education will be hard pressed to repeal this regulation because it is part of their deal with OECTA. The Liberals would be breaching their contract if they were to repeal Regulation 274. It’s certainly not as easy as you may think. I personally think it’s a great idea and now that ETFO has reached a MOU with the government, there is no way Regulation 274 will be going anywhere :)

“Then if it's the case, as Peter suggests, that only admin have issues with it, it would pass easily.”

I don’t think it’s only the administration that has issues with this regulation. It’s also many young teachers who don’t want to start out at the bottom of seniority lists. Peter addressed this and I believe it’s completely true. What young teachers need to know is this; they may have a difficult time climbing the ladder and will have to work extra hard to get jobs, but they will get there eventually. Without Regulation 274, occasional teachers could stay on the supply list forever and never go anywhere. I think people will gain a greater appreciation for this new hiring process over time. Please read this interesting article that I came across that supports Regulation 274. It’s an amazing article to read! Take care!

http://www.orilliapacket.com/2013/03/15/bill-274-could-effect-positive-change

Karen :)
TDSB

LTO Teacher of 2 years said...

Typical response from a supply teacher of over 10 years. If you haven't been hired for at least an LTO in 4-5 years, I'm sorry to say but there is a reason. Teaching in today's competitive field is not for you! I wouldn't hire someone with your negative attitude to be in our schools either, so good on those principals. Get out and let the ones with real talent and good attitudes help our students.

I'm an LTO teacher of 2 years...with zero family connections!!! I made my jobs happen by supply teaching for 1 yr in England, then 4 months here before being offered my 1st LTO. I was offered that 1st LTO b/c my resume displayed clear dedication to becoming a teacher prior to teachers college, doing everything I could to prepare for teachers college and because my interview was outstanding and reflected a clear passion for teaching. Then I kept getting LTOs because I was successful in the classroom. Core classrooms, I should mention.

Will I have a job for Sept now? Specifically one of the 4 jobs coming up at my school, where I know and love all of my students and their families and understand the working dynamics of the school and downtown, core environment? Nope, thanks to reg 274. My students, their families and myself are all devastated. And teachers, like you, with negative, pessimistic attitudes about schools and principals will be teaching my (former) students.

Thanks Regulation 274 for putting these pessimistic nut jobs in charge of our kids! :(

P.S. I apologize for my harshness, but I just really believe in passion, proven success, community connections and dedication over seniority.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Karen for supporting passion and dedication over seniority!!!

Nice to see some contract teachers care who takes over for them when they are absent long term.

I wish more were standing up against this legislation instead of worrying about their 'one unpaid day'! As all of us good LTO's are worrying about our 'one career'! lol

Anyways THANK YOU for your concern and support :)

LTO Teacher of 2 years said...

Welcome to life. It's who (and what) you know. Like that all over the world, and in lots of other fields. Get over it. If you haven't got a job, find another profession! I didn't 'know anyone' either but that did not stop me. I do understand your frustration with nepotism, but it really is the way competitive fields work. That doesn't mean creating legislation that addresses one thing and creates a whole new plethora of problems is the solution. There has to be some compromise with this regulation?

Surely our union fees will go to something productive this summer?! (Wishful thinking?) They are supposed to be negotiating this with the gov't this summer. Of course we haven't heard anything yet...

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

"Thanks to Karen for supporting passion and dedication over seniority!!!"

Not sure what you're talking about here? Please read my comments more carefully. I do support Regulation 274 and seniority for occasional teachers!!

Like Peter, I have also seen a lot of nepotism throughout my career as a contract teacher and want it to finally stop. I truly believe that seniority reflects performance and experience. There are many senior supply teacher who continue to remain on supply lists year round because they don't have the right connections. I personally think that this new regulation will bring fairness and transparency into the hiring process.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Ooops! Sorry, I thought you were another teacher or administrator who is against seniority. My mistake!

Thanks a lot for reading my comments and showing your support for Regulation 274. I will personally do everything I can to support seniority for OTs :)

You guys work very hard and deserve jobs before someone else coming in with family and friend connections. Nepotism is horrible for teachers and students. It also doesn't give our administrators much credibility either!! Take care!

Karen :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous for a 3rd time:

LOL ......

I am sorry, refer to my first I sent you and exclude the second.

PS- Read my comments more carefully for I support seniority for occasional teachers. Wow!!

Karen

Anonymous said...

Dear LTO teacher,

"I wouldn't hire someone with your negative attitude to be in our schools either, so good on those principals. Get out and let the ones with real talent and good attitudes help our students."

It is not a negative attitude that some people hold. They are just expressing their concerns for the way principals are hiring teachers these days. Yes, I am sure it has become frustrated for people like Peter who continue to put in their time and pay their dues. However, every year they have to reapply for jobs and work their "butts" off to impress a principal enough to keep coming back. Principals should not be the "gatekeepers" for a supply teacher's career.

I personally knew one LTO teacher who worked at my school last year and had an outstanding rapport with students, staff, and parents. Guess what happened? A trustee's son came through the door and snagged the next LTO and left this poor supply teacher out of work.

Principals will hire their family and friends before you too! Maybe if it happened to you, you would have a lot more respect for this new regulation :)

"Will I have a job for Sept now? Specifically one of the 4 jobs coming up at my school, where I know and love all of my students and their families and understand the working dynamics of the school and downtown, core environment?"

No, you will probably not, but I wouldn't look at it in a negative way. You will just have to get your feet wet with more supply work and work hard like everyone else towards finding other LTO positions. You shouldn't just be "entitled" to jobs just because you're a principal's favourite or go into a school more often than someone else. There are more teachers out there than just you :) There are lots of amazing teachers who are never called in for interviews let alone get job offers. Regulation 274 will now take away the hiring power of the administration and bring the best and brightest teachers forward.

"Thanks Regulation 274 for putting these pessimistic nut jobs in charge of our kids! :( "

Okay, that's very rude of you to call people names just because they hold a different opinion than you. Personally, I don't really like your attitude and wouldn't want you teaching at my school.

"P.S. I apologize for my harshness, but I just really believe in passion, proven success, community connections and dedication over seniority."

You should apologize! I also believe in passion and hard work too; however, seniority is the only way to counter nepotism that exists within our hiring system. Most jobs in this world honour seniority too :)

BTW, contract teachers have seniority and use it towards expanding their employment opportunities too. It's been going on for years now. I am with Peter on this one. Why should occasional teachers be the only group of teachers who are denied seniority? It makes absolutely no sense at all. Maybe if you had more years under your belt and saw how the game is played, you would have a lot more respect for seniority hiring. Best wishes!!

Karen
TDSB (17yrs)

LTO Teacher of 2 years said...

To add to Marie's point, top 5 might not just be weak teachers (totally plausible), but also none may be a good fit for the job. Take kindergarten for example, with the new Early Learning program, you need a teacher who can get along with the ECE in the room. Many teachers are territorial and this creates problems in these classrooms. They may be good teachers but just not the right fit for that type of teaching job. According to reg 274, too bad too sad. You have to pick one of them. Even if they are all non-cooperative, non-kindergarten type personalities, you'll have to subject that classroom to one of 5 (possibly incompetent) teachers. While teachers principals know and trust from previous LTOs who have shown success in the classroom, will be demoted to supplying.

Also to address Peter's comments about the interview process: Yes, it is effective THIS year as ppl interviewing have had LTOs so principals are giving good/bad yes/no references to "get the good ones on the list". This year! And fair enough! I got on mine b/c I have been successful in LTOs already but know many who were not offered spots on this list. HOWEVER, what will happen when all of the teachers who have had LTOs dries up (we finally get permanent jobs yayy!) - then they will ONLY be able to add to the list based on THE INTERVIEW. So new teachers will be added based on an interview only (b/c to get an LTO you need to be on the list - so eventually the chicken will have to come first).

My best friend and my mom are in HR and will be the first to tell you human error makes hiring mistakes. An interview is NOT sufficient to tell if someone can/will/has been successful in the challenging classroom situations that are the reality into today's Ontario schools.

This whole regulation is deeply flawed!! I'm telling you, it will create more problems than it addresses...Nepotism is one thing but mediocre teachers teaching our kids is worse if you ask me.

Peter Reese said...

Dear LTO Teacher for 2 years:

I will respond to the comments you made, but if you continue to insult me and use rude words, I will no longer have this discussion with you. Please talk to me like a human being :)

“Typical response from a supply teacher of over 10 years. If you haven't been hired for at least an LTO in 4-5 years, I'm sorry to say but there is a reason.”

Please read through my comments so I don’t have to repeat the same story over again. I have been a supply teacher for over 10 years now and have completed over 10 LTOs as well. I just finished an LTO position in June and have been hired several times; however, it’s the contract (permanent) positions I cannot get. I find it very interesting how so many supply teachers are good enough to supply and take on long-term assignments, but aren’t good enough to get contracts? What’s going on? Oh wait, I know, it’s all about having the right connections and family DNA to get through the door these days. How unfortunate! Thank God for Regulation 274 :)

“Teaching in today's competitive field is not for you!”

You don’t even know me to make such a statement. Making assumptions will get you nowhere in this discussion. I do not ask for an apology, but I do ask that you to back up your statements with coherent facts.

Peter R.

Peter Reese said...

Continued ... (LTO Teacher for 2 Years)

“I wouldn't hire someone with your negative attitude to be in our schools either, so good on those principals. Get out and let the ones with real talent and good attitudes help our students.”

Likewise, I wouldn’t hire you either with such rude comments. At least you admit that nepotism is hard at work and exists inside our school boards. Good job :)
FYI, I didn't know that standing up for yourself nowadays fell under the same category as having a negative attitude. LOL! Sorry for having Freedom of Speech!

“I'm an LTO teacher of 2 years...with zero family connections!!!”

I’ve been doing LTOs 5X longer you have and also came in with no family connections. Most of the jobs I acquired were because of good timing, a lot of hard work and some luck; otherwise, I would never have done anything else except daily supply teaching.

“Will I have a job for Sept now? Specifically one of the 4 jobs coming up at my school, where I know and love all of my students and their families and understand the working dynamics of the school and downtown, core environment? Nope, thanks to reg 274.”

I am with Karen on this one too. Why should you automatically get hired back at the same school? What makes you so special than anyone else? What makes you anymore qualified or passionate about your job than someone like me? It makes no sense.

I truly believe that the real reason why you’re so upset with Regulation 274 is because you know that it puts you at the bottom of the seniority list and you don’t like that. It doesn’t have anything to do with helping the students or their families. You know that your administrator may hire you back, but cannot and that makes you upset; however, I am sure if you were at the top of that seniority roster, you would be thrilled with Regulation 274. There’s two sides to this coin my friend.

“My students, their families and myself are all devastated."

I think they would be devastated to hear the way you speak on the Internet too!

"And teachers, like you, with negative, pessimistic attitudes about schools and principals will be teaching my (former) students.”

They’re not your students! LOL! They’re all our students and they need to have the best teacher to help them reach their full academic potential. It’s not all about you!

“Thanks Regulation 274 for putting these pessimistic nut jobs in charge of our kids! :("

Wow! Could you please be anymore insulting? Please write a letter to the editor at your local newspaper publisher. I am sure you wouldn’t win much support using such unprofessional words. Do you speak like that in front of your students too? Gosh!

“P.S. I apologize for my harshness, but I just really believe in passion, proven success, community connections and dedication over seniority.”

I accept your apology friend :) Please speak a little more civil in the future. Just some words of wisdom :)

Sincerely,
Peter Reese

Peter Reese said...

Dear LTO Teacher for 2 years:

"Welcome to life. It's who (and what) you know."

Nepotism is horrible for teachers and for students. It shouldn't be that way!

"If you haven't got a job, find another profession!"

Nice try! I will never leave the teaching profession. That would be nice for someone like you with less seniority. Let's just hope that all the senior supply teachers will resign and find other careers so all the lower ranking teachers will move to the top of the list. Hidden agendas are endless. Why would you care about my future? You don't even know me. LOL! Do you teach your students to be quitters too? Talk about pessimism. Gosh!

" I didn't 'know anyone' either but that did not stop me."

Me too! Having no connections will never make me quit and find another career either :)

"I do understand your frustration with nepotism, but it really is the way competitive fields work."

If you did, then you would support Regulation 274 :)

"Surely our union fees will go to something productive this summer?! (Wishful thinking?) They are supposed to be negotiating this with the gov't this summer. Of course we haven't heard anything yet..."

Nope! There are no discussions concerning Regulation 274. That is done and over with. There were TDSB Trustees (Howard Goodman) and PC MPPs in Queen's Park (Lisa MacLeod) who desperately tried to repeal this new hiring process before a MOU was passed; however, ETFO already reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the provincial government without throwing Regulation 274 away. Get use to it friend. It's here to stay as all Ontario school boards (Public and Catholic) are moving ahead with their new hiring procedures. Also, our unions (ETFO, OSSTF, and OECTA) all support seniority hiring. Give them a call sometime and find out for yourself. Talk with the ETFO duty officers in Toronto. They also want nepotism to stop.

Peter R.

Peter Reese said...

Dear Karen,

I love the article you provided!! Very well written and straight to the point :) Hopefully others will take the time to read it too.

Peter R.

Anonymous said...

Marie Snyder said:

"Have you never had an older teacher in school who lacked creativity in content and presentation and yelled at kids to get them to pay attention?"

Give me a break for crying out loud!! Hey Marie, you are making it sound like all senior supply teachers are over the hill burnouts. That's not nearly the case. Sure, there are very OLD and GRAY supply teachers still kicking around who are RETIRED and have no desire to return to the classroom full-time. Most of these old teachers could care less about getting an LTO now. LOL! Trust me, they like doing supply along with collecting very good pensions. Nice try though. HAHA!

John G.
(Greater Essex County DSB) 7 years Contract

Anonymous said...

LTO Teacher ...

You wrote:

“To add to Marie's point, top 5 might not just be weak teachers (totally plausible), but also none may be a good fit for the job.”

There is a retired contract, secondary school teacher named Fred Larsen from the Simcoe Board who supports Regulation 274. He wrote:

“So, what’s the problem? The principal still has five people to select from. All those applying need to be qualified in the area of the job being offered. They come to the interview with experience in the board’s schools and in working with children. In addition, by sticking with occasional teaching for a long period of time, they have paid their dues. They have demonstrated their dedication to the teaching profession by hanging in through difficult, often-discouraging circumstances. And bear in mind that the board will still put that person on a “probationary contract.” If the principal does not feel the teacher is doing a competent job, documenting the problems can lead to termination in a year.”

Taken from the source:

http://www.orilliapacket.com/2013/03/15/bill-274-could-effect-positive-change

Jody
SCDSB (Occasional Teacher) for 5 Years with 6 LTOs

Peter Reese said...

Dear LTO Teacher for 2 years:

“Take kindergarten for example, with the new Early Learning program, you need a teacher who can get along with the ECE in the room. Many teachers are territorial and this creates problems in these classrooms.”

Why wouldn’t any senior supply teacher get along with an ECE in the all-day kindergarten program? That makes no sense at all.

As a supply teacher, I work with ECEs all the time and appreciate their help in the classroom especially during circle discussions, lessons, and co-operative learning centres. I appreciate their help and never undermine them in anyway.

I have also taught in many primary, junior, intermediate, and special education (resource rooms) with EA support and always appreciate the extra help. Supply teachers run into ECEs and EAs all the time. That makes absolutely no sense at all. We work as a team and are very flexible, professional people! LOL!

“They may be good teachers but just not the right fit for that type of teaching job.”

Why wouldn’t they be the right fit? Please explain this to me.

“According to reg 274, too bad too sad. You have to pick one of them. Even if they are all non-cooperative, non-kindergarten type personalities, you'll have to subject that classroom to one of 5 (possibly incompetent) teachers.”

You cannot assume that all five senior supply teachers will be “non-cooperative” and “incompetent” my friend. I think that’s also very rude of you to put them all into one general category. You don’t know any of these supply teachers to make such a statement.

“While teachers principals know and trust from previous LTOs who have shown success in the classroom, will be demoted to supplying.”

Well, I have successfully completed over 10 LTOs and have taught in some of the toughest schools that my school board has to offer. I have paid my dues, put in my time, gained experience, and taken my courses (ABQs, AQs, and PD Workshops) to improve my performance. That is why I know I would be a great fit in any classroom and I don’t need you to tell me otherwise. You don’t know me or any other supply teacher well enough to judge how we’ll perform in the classroom. LOL!

Peter Reese said...

Continued ...

LTO Teacher for 2 years stated:

“Also to address Peter's comments about the interview process: Yes, it is effective THIS year as ppl interviewing have had LTOs so principals are giving good/bad yes/no references to "get the good ones on the list".

Okay, how do you know this? Where are your facts to support these claims? Geez!

“This year! And fair enough! I got on mine b/c I have been successful in LTOs already but know many who were not offered spots on this list. HOWEVER, what will happen when all of the teachers who have had LTOs dries up (we finally get permanent jobs yayy!) - then they will ONLY be able to add to the list based on THE INTERVIEW. So new teachers will be added based on an interview only (b/c to get an LTO you need to be on the list - so eventually the chicken will have to come first).”

That’s right! You need to pass a very competitive interview process to get on the LTO roster. It’s not easy and if you’re a so called “weak” teacher, there’s no way you can pass that easily. Next, the top five “senior” supply teachers will be called in for LTO interviews. Surely, a principal(s) can find their “fit” from a list of five qualified, experienced individuals. Finally, a principal chooses which teacher will take on an LTO assignment. Throughout the year, that teacher will be evaluated based on their classroom performance. These evaluations will be considered when a teacher applies for contract (permanent) positions. It’s completely transparent and fair! What’s the problem?

“An interview is NOT sufficient to tell if someone can/will/has been successful in the challenging classroom situations that are the reality into today's Ontario schools.”

You know what? I have done over twenty teaching interviews throughout my supply teaching career. Experience has taught me that interviews reflect performance.

Every time I attend an interview, I bring more experience to the table. For instance, let’s pretend I am an interviewer at the board office and you come in and shake my hand. I ask you to have a seat and look at your teaching portfolio that highlights your credentials and professional progress. Then, I ask you some questions like “Tell me about your progressive discipline plan,” “Tell me a time when you energized an entire classroom,” “Tell me about a time when you were emotional about a student but had to remain as objective as possible,” “Tell me about your balanced literacy/numeracy program,” “Tell me about a time when you worked in a collaborative team setting,” “Tell me about your 3-Part Math Lesson,” “How would you modify a lesson/unit for a child with special needs?”

These questions are very comprehensive and situational. You not only have to be on top of your game, but you have to have some real long-term teaching experience. Employers at my school board don’t want to know what you would do in a situation; they want to know what you have done. Experience does matter and seniority reflects experience.

“This whole regulation is deeply flawed!!”

Speak for yourself. You wouldn’t be saying this if you were at the top of the seniority list. I guarantee you wouldn’t. Pay your dues like everyone else!

“I'm telling you, it will create more problems than it addresses...”

You don’t know that at all. Maybe we should all just give this new regulation a chance before jumping to such negative, pessimistic conclusions ;)

“Nepotism is one thing but mediocre teachers teaching our kids is worse if you ask me.”

Nepotism not only has a negative effect on student progress and fair hiring practices, but it also doesn’t give our system much credibility either.

Regulation 274 > Nepotism = Quality Education 4
Students and Fair Hiring Practices 4 Teachers :)

Cheers!

Peter R.

Peter Reese said...

Marie,

Do you have "seniority" with your school board? If so, what is it used for? Thanks!

Peter R.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marie,

Just looking back on the comments you provided about being a 20 year teacher working at the same school. I am sure you could pull a few strings to get your family and friends hired at your school if this regulation never existed right?

Muhammad
Peel District School Board (5 Years) OT

Bryce and Agatha said...

In my opinion what is most crazy about Regulation 274 is that it upholds the very narrow board-based seniority that has been part and parcel of public education for years. Why is the experience of teachers who have shown initiative and taught in international schools or in the north of Canada OR EVEN IN OTHER SCHOOL BOARDS IN ONTARIO not worth anything in the seniority sweepstakes? And let's not forget that the real 'root cause' of all this hassle is the gross mismanagement of the profession ever since it was taken over by the College of Teachers, whose interest in creating new members has far outweighed its interest in seeing that its members gain employment. Why were tens of thousands of graduate teachers permitted to gain training for jobs that didn't exist in the first place?

Peter Reese said...

Hello Marie,

I guess it's been a little bit since we had our little discussion about Regulation 274. May I ask, how do you feel about it now that it's alive and well across ALL public elementary and secondary school boards?

I have now met hundreds of supply teachers who didn't feel it was the right thing back in the spring of 2013, but now feel it's completely justified and fair :)

Let's face reality here, in the collective agreement for contract teachers, have the right to apply for staff transfers and use their "seniority" whenever they apply for "internal" positions that are completely closed off from everyone outside the permanent staff.

I am so happy that Regulation 274 was not bumped by people like you, Angie Potts and Trustee Howard Goodman who care nothing about students except getting their own blood relatives hired before some other poor hardworking bastard who has been stuck for an indefinite period on a supply list prior to this new hiring process. We both know that.

You have a nice day!

Peter Reese
Permanent Contract Teacher (as a result of Reg 274)

Anonymous said...

I think this whole discussion is demonstrative of the value of seniority. The arguments against it are not well informed, reflect misunderstanding and lack of understanding of both the Reg 274 hiring process and the terrible processes it attempts to replace, as well as a lack of understanding of the political processes involved (eg. Reg 274's implementation is currently being sabotaged by many school boards, and the unions are negotiating with the government to fix its rougher edges; Reg 274 is not immutable for the rest of time... and repealing it would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater).

Meanwhile, those who actually have significant experience as occasional teachers have made persuasive reasoned arguments based on their first-hand experiences.

The teacher unions exist to protect and improve your working conditions, and it's not coincidental that all of them support Reg 274 (though all of them also support removing some of the loopholes that allow management to abuse the new process). Teacher unions do not have an agenda that's independent of their members... they are democratic organizations that follow the will of their members, and the consensus is that Reg 274, while not perfect and in need of some tweaking, is a huge step forward from where we were.

New teachers... sorry to break it to you, but you don't know everything, and you're not any more fabulous than the rest of your colleagues. Get some experience under your belt, talk to your older colleagues, and maybe someday you'll appreciate the wisdom of seniority hiring. In most of your cases, it's going to allow you to get a job sooner than you would have had one without seniority.