General FAQ

Doesn’t Canada have a strong education system?

Overall, Canada has a world-class public education system. The successes of our education system is in large part a credit to Canada’s committed teachers.

Yet, Canada’s aggregate educational outcomes don’t tell the whole story. According to the 2006 census, only 39% of 20-to-24-year-old First Nations people living on reserve have a high school diploma. Among Inuit, the graduation rate was only 30%. In rural and remote communities, the drop-out rate is double the national average.

And, too often, schools in remote and Indigenous communities face challenges recruiting and retaining teachers. This is the specific challenge that Teach For Canada addresses.

Why are education outcomes lower in remote communities?

A combination of systemic under-funding of education, a history of oppression, a legacy of outside involvement in remote and Indigenous communities, teacher shortages and rapid teacher turnover, and social challenges have combined to reduce education outcomes in remote communities. Much of the inequity that Teach For Canada seeks to address is itself the result of residential schools—the calculated destruction of Indigenous languages, cultures, and communities in the name of education.

Why are you asking for a minimum two-year teaching commitment?

Many remote and Indigenous communities struggle to keep teachers in the classroom for one entire school year, or even for one full term. While two years is far from perfect, a minimum two-year commitment is far superior to a sequence of shorter-term teachers, or no teachers at all. Many Teach For Canada teachers will stay in the classroom after their initial two-year commitment. For those who do not, we recruit, prepare, and support another teacher to take their place.

Does Teach For Canada prioritize Indigenous teachers?

Yes. Recruiting Indigenous educators is a priority for Teach For Canada because it’s a priority for many of our community partners. We are committed to addressing the social and political inequities that Indigenous students face, and we spend what energy and resources we have to work alongside Indigenous communities–and at their direction–to address this issue.
We will also recruit teachers from urban centres, where there is often a surplus of teachers. Our targeted recruitment efforts will offer committed educators a means of teaching in a community where their talents can make a meaningful difference.

Who funds Teach For Canada?

As a non-profit organization, Teach For Canada fundraises to cover all costs of our teacher recruitment, preparation, and support programming, along with all of our other organizational functions. At the present time, 70% of our annual funding comes from family foundations and 30% comes from corporate supporters. A full list of our donors can be found here.

Teacher Emily McCartney-Maracle meets with a community member from Cat Lake First Nation

Teacher Application and Matching Process FAQ

I am a Canadian teacher, but my Bachelor of Education and teaching certificate are from a province/territory other than Ontario. Can I apply to Teach For Canada?

Yes. Since 2009, the Ontario Labour Mobility Act has enabled the Ontario College of Teachers to certify teachers from other jurisdictions Canada under the terms of the revised Agreement on Internal Trade. However, it is the responsibility of the individual teacher to transfer their teacher certification to Ontario. To teach in Ontario, teachers must:

 

  • Apply for certification through the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT)
  • Become an Associate Member of the relevant teachers association
  • Obtain a QECO salary evaluation for placement on the local salary grid
I am an internationally-trained teacher. Can I apply to Teach For Canada?

Teach For Canada is proud to recruit a diverse range of applicants, and we encourage all teachers to consider applying. However, at a minimum, successful teachers must be:

  • certified or certification-eligible to teach in Ontario
  • have legal working status in Canada for two years
  • available to teach full-time for two school years
  • able to relocate to a remote First Nations community in northern Ontario
  • available to attend a three-week Summer Enrichment Program in July/August (all-expenses covered by Teach For Canada)

If you fulfill these requirements, we would love to learn more about you. You can learn more here.

I only want to teach for one year. Should I apply?

No. One of our goals is to increase teacher retention in the north, and each Teach For Canada teacher makes a minimum two-year teaching commitment to a northern First Nations school. However, we hope that you will consider applying to Teach For Canada when you feel ready to commit to teach for at least two years in a northern community.

Why do you mostly recruit teachers for JK to grade 10?

Most northern First Nations communities do not have local schools that go beyond grade 10, and many schools only go to grade 8. Students from these communities must travel to larger centres to complete their high school studies. Teach For Canada focuses on JK-10 teachers to serve as many remote and Indigenous communities as possible. The only exception is the Keewaytinook Internet High School (KiHS), a blended in-person/online school that operates in several of Teach For Canada’s community partners.

Where will I teach?

You will teach in a rural or remote First Nation in northern Ontario. We currently work with 18 communities, and will be partnering with several additional communities for September 2018. During the interview and selection process, you will not yet know the community in which you will teach. The matching process happens afterward, as our community partners identify their needs and select the Teach For Canada teachers that have the specific fit with their school and community.

What is the matching process like?

Teach For Canada and our community partners want you to be as happy as possible in your community, and this means that you and the community need to be a good mutual fit. We will ask you to complete a matching survey during the selection process. The survey will ask you questions about your interests, your passions, your preferences, and it will give you the opportunity to share any other details that may affect which community would be best for you (e.g. family or medical details). The answers you give will only be used by principals and Education Directors during the matching process.

Teachers roast marshmallows at the campsite in Big Grassy River First Nation.

Summer Enrichment Program FAQ

What is the Summer Enrichment Program?

Teach For Canada teachers join us in the summer before they begin teaching for an intensive, community-focused Summer Enrichment Program, co-designed and led by education experts, experienced teachers, school and community leaders, and Elders. Among other topics, Teach For Canada teachers are immersed in the histories and cultures of the communities in which they will teach, meet two members from the community in which they will teach, visit a First Nations community, learn teaching strategies tailored for northern First Nations students, and discuss and reflect on wellness and self-care techniques.

When is the Summer Enrichment Program?

The 2018 Summer Enrichment Program is a three-week immersive program that will be held from July 15 to August 3.

Am I paid during the Summer Enrichment Program?

No. Teachers will not receive a salary during the Summer Enrichment Program, but all travel within Canada, accommodation, meals, and other related costs will be covered by Teach For Canada.

After their first and second year of teaching in the North, teachers are invited to an opt-in reunion at the Summer Enrichment Program.

Teacher Support FAQ

Who are the professional mentors?

Professional mentors are experienced educators who have volunteered to lend pedagogical and classroom advice to TFC teachers when they need it. Teachers are connected with their mentor during the Summer Enrichment Program. Usually teachers connect with mentors by phone, Skype or email once or twice a month.

What qualifies for AQ reimbursements?

Teach For Canada will reimburse the cost of one Additional Qualification (AQ) course per year while working in a partner First Nation. AQ courses are regulated by the Ontario College of Teachers and will be added to a teacher’s list of qualifications on their teaching certificate upon successful completion of the course.

Who do I turn to if I face a difficult situation?

During the Summer Enrichment Program, Teach For Canada guides the creation of concrete self-care strategies, isolation plans, as well as professional and personal goals to assist teachers with their personal well-being. During the school year, Teach For Canada’s Teacher Development Managers will help teachers problem-solve professional and personal challenges. Teachers can also turn to their professional mentors for classroom assistance.

Grade 5-6 teacher Joel Beadle works with students to build marten boxes in Lac Seul First Nation.

Teaching and Life in the North FAQ

What curriculum will I use?

The curriculum in Teach For Canada’s community partners is the standard provincial curriculum used in public schools. However, Teach For Canada teachers receive training at the Summer Enrichment Program on how to adapt the curriculum to make it relevant for students in remote and Indigenous communities.

What is it like to teach in a northern school?

Each school and community is different. Resources that tend to be available in each school include:

  • TA in the classroom with the teacher
  • SmartBoards, laptops, and tablets in the classroom
  • Office with a secretary and staff room
  • Special Education Teacher (school-wide) for high needs students
  • Guidance or Social Counselor

Take a tour of a school!

My partner is also a teacher. Can we be matched together?

Yes. There is space on the teacher application to indicate whether you’d be liked to be matched with your partner, should they also be a teacher. If you both meet Teach For Canada’s selection criteria, and if you are both selected to become Teach For Canada teachers, then we will ensure you are matched with a community that requires two teachers with your qualifications.

I have a partner who isn’t a teacher. Can my partner come with me?

Yes. Many Teach For Canada teachers have brought non-teaching partners with them to the North. Each community’s specific needs and opportunities will differ, and so we expect that your partner will keep an open mind on how his/her skills can be used in the community. Throughout the community matching process, you, your partner, and the community work together to find a great fit.

What happens after I complete the two-year commitment?

Many Teach For Canada teachers will stay in the classroom after their initial two-year commitment. For those who do not, they become Teach For Canada alumni and we will recruit, prepare, and support another teacher to take their place. We commit to a community and to a classroom over the long-term.

What are salaries like in the North?

Just like with any other teacher in the school, your salary will depend on your years of teaching experience, your QECO salary qualification based on your university experience, and the salary grid in the community.

For a brand-new teacher who has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree and has 0 years of experience, the beginning salary in First Nations schools in northern Ontario is typically between $36,000 and $44,000. Though the funding gap between First Nations schools and non-First Nations schools puts limitations on salaries, teachers with more years of teaching experience can naturally expect a higher salary. In fly-in communities, additional northern allowances are common and include a northern salary enhancement, retention bonuses, relocation allowances, and other salary perks that may range between an additional $3,000 and $7,000.

Are there fitness facilities in the North?

Sometimes. The school gym typically doubles as a school classroom and a fitness centre, because it is rare for a community to have a fitness centre with weights and equipment like treadmills. Teachers are typically able to engage in other types of fitness like jogging, hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing, playing hockey and other sports, and doing personal exercises at home. For entrepreneurial teachers who want to bring fitness equipment to the north for their students, grants are often available.

What are the food options in the North?

In drive-in communities, teachers will typically drive to the nearby town or city to buy groceries every few weeks, and prices are comparable to major urban centres. In fly-in communities, most foods and produce are available but they are often higher-priced and can be more limited than in urban centres. Maintaining a vegetarian diet is possible, but it will require some planning ahead of time. More information on ordering foods or other items will be given during the Summer Enrichment Program.

Can I bring my pet?

In most cases, yes. We will send you a survey before the full interviews where you can tell us more about your personal preferences, including a pet. For teachers who are selected to be part of the Teach For Canada program, this information will be provided to communities during the community matching process. If you have a pet and you are selected to teach in a fly-in community, you should contact your air travel provider to better understand their regulations for travelling with pets. If you fly with a larger-sized dog on Wasaya Airlines, you must book at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled departure. The airline might also need to know certain information, like your dog’s breed and weight, and require that an airline-approved kennel be used.

Where would I live and how much does it cost?

You would live in dedicated housing provided by the community for teachers. The accommodation is called a teacherage, and it can vary from a single housing unit for each teacher to shared teacher accommodation within the same building. Single teachers or teaching couples will have their own bedroom and will often share living space. Teachers with families will work with the communities to find a teacherage with space to accommodate their needs. Rent varies by community, but it is typically below $600 per month per teacher.

FAQ for Communities

I am interested in working with Teach For Canada. How do I learn more about the process?

Our Community Engagement and Indigenous Relations team would love to hear from you. Please contact Shardae Fortier at shardae@teachforcanada.ca to begin a conversation.

What has been the impact of Teach For Canada teachers in First Nations?