Why We Exist

Why We Exist

We are a non-profit organization that works with northern First Nations communities to recruit, prepare, and support outstanding teachers.

Education in Canada is a success story. Study after study shows that our public schools are among the best in the world. But high overall quality masks deep inequality. On First Nations reserves, 3 in 5 students do not complete high school. Too often, teachers arrive in remote and Indigenous communities without the preparation and support they need to succeed--and stay--in the classroom. The twin challenges of teacher supply and turnover compound historical injustice and systemic inequities to produce an education gap between First Nations and non-First Nations communities.

The right kind of teacher can help fill this gap. We work with education leaders, principals, teachers, and students in northern First Nations communities to recruit outstanding teachers from across the country, provide three weeks of community-focused summer training, and provide ongoing teacher support for a minimum of two years. Inspired by the leadership of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action on Education, Teach For Canada teachers emphasize a spirit of reciprocal learning with communities during their 2+ year teaching commitment.

Currently, there are 55 Teach For Canada teachers in 13 First Nations schools in northern Ontario. Their inspirational teaching is increasing student attendance, student engagement, and student achievement.

Our Approach

Our Approach

Our approach is designed to recruit, prepare, and support outstanding teachers who will increase student outcomes in northern First Nations communities. This model has been defined by our First Nations community partners, our Circle of Advisors, our Board of Directors, and experienced northern educators.

Teach For Canada representatives talk with students at Queen's University

Recruit

teachers who have the right personality and competencies

In partnership with our First Nations community partners, we run a national teacher recruitment campaign from November to April to find outstanding teachers who are a good fit in the north. Once the application window has closed, our national teacher selection panel--made up of community members, experienced northern educators, and Indigenous leaders--interviews and selects teachers who have the skills, attitudes, and mindsets to succeed in northern First Nations schools. Learn more here!
 

Match

teachers with our northern First Nations community partners

Once the cohort of Teach For Canada teachers has been selected, we provide our community partners with an online database that details each of the teachers. Community leadership then have full ownership over selecting and hiring teachers who fit well with their specific school and community. At the present time, we work with 13 First Nations communities in Treaty 3, 5, and 9 in northern Ontario. The communities are Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, and Cree. Nine communities are only accessible by air or winter road, and four communities have all-season road access.

Prepare

teachers professionally and personally for their transition to the community

The summer before they begin teaching in a northern First Nations community, all Teach For Canada teachers attend a three-week Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Led by Indigenous leaders and experienced northern educators, SEP focuses on hands-on learning about the histories, cultures, languages, traditions, and values of FIrst Nations communities. There are also lessons on culturally-responsive education, special education, professionalism, mental health and wellness, and other classroom-related topics. Each teacher has the opportunity to meet their Principal or Education Director and all teachers participate in a four-day visit to a First Nations community.

Support

teachers through peer, professional, community, and personal support

First, Teach For Canada provides online forums and in-person cohort reunions to build and maintain a peer support network. Then, we help teachers grow as professionals by arranging development opportunities including professional mentorship, classroom visits, and AQ reimbursements. Next, we support each teacher's integration into the community through a community liaison program. Finally, we assist with problem-solving and personal challenges by serving as pathfinders and supporters. We provide a support network around each teacher to help them succeed--and stay--in the community.

Our Values

Our Values

Our core values lay the foundation for our entire program.

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Humility

We value the experiences and perspectives of others, and we recognize our limitations. We appreciate that our efforts complement a range of initiatives that seek to reduce educational inequity, and that we will only be a small step in the right direction.

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Culture

We recognize that culture and education are fundamentally linked. We will ensure that cultural respect and responsiveness permeate our entire program.

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Collaboration

We are committed to partnering effectively with schools, communities, and other groups to ensure that our work advances the broader good for all children.

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Transparency

We will be transparent about our strengths and weaknesses, and open about our successes and failures.