Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 25, 2012 - 4:02 pm

New Nunavut teachers need more mentoring, mayor says

NTEP graduates depart teaching jobs early

SAMANTHA DAWSON

Graduates of the Nunavut Teacher Education program should get more mentoring after they join the workforce, Arctic Bay mayor Frank May said May 24 at the general meeting of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities in Iqaluit.

Of five women from Arctic Bay who graduated from NTEP about three years ago and were teaching in Arctic Bay, two have since been dismissed, and one has moved from the community.

And an additional five teachers are leaving only after about one year to a year and a half of work, May said.

“There was no follow-up, so these ladies got their degree, they went to work, two years later one of them gets fired, this year another’s fired,” he said.

“It seems to me that if we’re putting all this effort into training them, that perhaps on the other side there should be more mentoring of them,” May said.

This would help alleviate problems that arise and encourage people to stay and work in the hamlet, he said.

“Now I know these ladies, they are intelligent, they are well-spoken, they are not drinkers, they are not dope-dealers. It’s not up to me about why they are no longer working,” May told NAM delegates.

“It would do the college some good to maybe talk to the Department of Education about some form of in-class mentoring in the case of teachers,” May said, saying it might be good to check in on newly graduated nurses as well. 

When students graduate, the community is proud and happy, and getting more graduates could reduce the problem of having to hire from the South, May said.

But Arctic Bay is still in a situation where there are unqualified people still teaching, he said.

“So we’re out shopping, looking for southern teachers, who we have to fly in and we have to house,” May said.

People from the South may know how to be a teacher, but they don’t always know how to interact with people in the North, May said.

More support and mentorship is exactly what the college aims to do, Nunavut Arctic College president Mike Shouldice said.

“It’s a general practice that we need to nurture that just makes sense to me,” Shouldice said.

The program, which has been around since 1968, has “had a long curve of learning, graduates and numbers,” he said.

It was known first as the Eastern Arctic Teacher Education program, he said.

It currently offers a four-year bachelor degree in education or a two-year diploma from the University of Regina.

There are opportunities for conferences, workshops and meetings with peer groups that can help with that transition period, Shouldice said.

In Rankin Inlet, there are six people graduating from NTEP this year, Shouldice said.

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