Saturday, February 11, 2012

Voter Forum question: unemployed teacher

In the Voter Forum, Nina posted this under the heading "unemployed teacher":
I really don't agree with unemployed teacher's having to pay to be a member of a College that is doing absolutely nothing to help them find a job! Why not allow us to pay the fees until AFTER we've secured employment with a school board in Ontario? 

I myself was very naive to think I could find a decent teaching job easily, and I know a lot of other teachers (graduates of the 2008 programs) that feel the same frustration I do

A lot of us are quitting the profession before we even start

Help us find jobs before charging us hundreds of dollars
Here's my response:

When I graduated teachers' college in 2003, I remember that on top of charging me an administrative fee in the hundreds to process my application for certification, the College also charged me a full year membership fee. I didn't become certified until August, yet the College wasn't willing to pro-rate the first year's fee (I wrote in and asked), and come January I was paying again.

$138 may not be much to a full-time teacher, but to many occasional teachers making less than $10,000 a year from teaching, that's 1.38% or more of their gross salary. By comparison, ETFO membership fees are 1.36% of salary.

There needs to be some form of part-time or low-income fee structure in place; differentiating between full-time employed members and part-time/occasional members is easy, as salaried College members have their membership fee deducted through payroll. The rest of us (roughly 85,000 out of 230,000 members, or 37% according to the latest College stats) pay our membership fees through the College web site. We should be able to self-identify if we're low-income and pay a reduced rate.

The College should also be including the first year's membership in its application fee, or at the very least be willing to pro-rate it for new members. There's no reason for the College not to be flexible.

As for finding a job, becoming a job portal is something the College could consider. I know I find it offensive that many school boards are opting to use job sites that charge job-seekers a fee, as that's simply exploiting the people who have the least.

If elected, I'll be bringing my understanding of the realities of occasional teaching to the table, and these issues will be raised.

Mark Carter, OCT
Southcentral Region Part-time/Full-time candidate

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