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Current Portrait of the Teaching Profession in Canada and French Ontario

By Anne-Sophie Ruest-Paquette on behalf of COPA National

Translated from French to English with the collaboration of Kathryn Penwill

COPA, an Ontario-based child assault prevention center, has been operating for 27 years. Our new status as COPA National has enabled us to begin offering our services across the country. As a francophone non-profit organization, COPA National's mission is to influence public opinion in order to change attitudes and mobilize Canada's francophone minority communities to prevent and stop child abuse at the individual, organizational and systemic levels. At COPA National, abuse is understood as a violation of a person’s human rights. In keeping with our mission, and as the provincial coordinator of the francophone Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program (welcoming and integrating newcomer students and families in Franco-Ontarian schools), we develop and refine websites (e.g., learning or continuing education modules), educational workshops, and informative, simple and effective resources and tools for all members of French-language minority school communities, affiliated professionals and community stakeholders. Our anti-oppressive, intersectional feminist approach informs a range of coherent actions and services which have allowed us to play a role in supporting the creation of a Canadian “Francophonie” where children and adults can be safe, strong, and free while respecting the rights and differences of others.

In order to offer our services free of charge to our target audiences, we appeal to the generosity of financial partners by submitting formal funding requests in which we must demonstrate our understanding of the social problem for which these funds are available. For example, on January 14, 2022, we submitted an application to Canadian Heritage under the Recruitment and Retention Strategy for Teachers in French-Language Minority Schools. We, therefore, conducted a summary literature review on the teaching profession in Canada and in French Ontario, on the one hand, to identify the needs and issues and, on the other hand, to develop a substantial project. We then produced a synthesis of the texts reviewed and integrated it into the application form. The portrait of the teaching profession in Canada and in French Ontario which emerged from this research is worrisome. This is why we have decided to share it with you, specifically to raise awareness. We hope that it will shed some light on the challenges faced by teachers in schools across the country and in the province.

Burnout, disengagement, and dropout among teachers in Canada

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Canadian public education landscape has changed significantly. Indeed, "the extraordinary expansion of knowledge, the proliferation of communication technologies, the transformation of family structures, cultural pluralism, ethical relativism", "changes in the job market" and school reforms have altered professional practices and the daily experience of teachers (LT, Tardif, 2012, p. 3). These changes are the result of globalization and of an economic, even neo-liberal vision of education (control, accountability, performance, competition, comparison, etc.: e.g., standardized tests) (Ibid.). For the past few decades, and among other responsibilities, teachers have had to ensure the basic socialization, civic development, and schooling of heterogeneous school populations, a larger proportion of whom require both continuous and personalized supervision or support (Ibid.). Moreover, in addition to having to both teach and facilitate students’ learning by adopting evidence-based "innovative approaches and effective practices" and using new technologies, Canadian teachers must adapt to school restructuring, "engage in the life of their school and sell its image" (LT, Ibid., p. 7), collaborate with colleagues (including new educational officers), perform administrative duties, participate in continuing education activities, and "assume the roles of parent surrogate, police officer, psychologist, friend, life coach, and supervisor with their students" (LT, Ibid., p. 5). As a result, the teaching profession in Canada has become considerably more complex and intensive. Thus, many teachers experience work overload, pressure, feeling overextended, inefficient (or incompetent), dissatisfied and powerless (decisions imposed without consultation), a sense of inadequate preparation for the realities of the field (e.g., heterogeneity of student populations), and an unbearable level of stress that contributes to a disproportionate mental and emotional burden (Beaudry, Deschenaux, Aguir, & L'Hébreux, 2021; Fédération canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants, 2014; Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2017; Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015; Lessard, Kamanzi, & Larochelle, 2013; Tardif, 2012). This is especially true in Francophone minority settings where the workload is even heavier (e.g., promoting spoken, read, and written French in a predominantly Anglophone environment), where the lack of qualified personnel is at a critical level, and "where access to French-language resources is still a difficulty experienced by more than half of the teachers in their respective communities" (LT, Fédération canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants, 2014, p. 15). Under these conditions, teachers are at risk of burnout (mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion, feeling a lack of accomplishment or ineffective at work, and depersonalization or distancing: Janosz et al., 2018; Rodger, 2019) and compassion fatigue (helplessness with respect to suffering students: Rodger, 2019). This raises the question of whether teaching has become an impossible profession (Tardif, 2012), especially in schools with inadequate resources and administrative support (Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015).

All of this has given rise, in the primary and secondary education sector, to the phenomenon of professional dropout (or disengagement) of Canadian teachers, specifically beginning teachers, who - in general - lack experience, confidence, and job stability (Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2017; Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015; Karsenti, Collin, & Dumouchel, 2013). According to a 2006 questionnaire survey of 4,569 Canadian school staff members, 24% of the 2,163 participating teachers, or one in four teachers, reported that they often thought about leaving the profession (Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015). Data from this study further revealed that 38.4% of respondents felt frustrated with teaching, 22.6% were tired of teaching and working with students, and 17.8% reported that teaching did not provide great satisfaction (Lessard, Kamanzi, & Larochelle, 2013). It must therefore be acknowledged that teaching "seems to be losing some of its power of attractiveness and retention in Canada" (LT, Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015, p. 59).

In addition to the reasons named above, teacher dropout - which is characterized by a "premature departure from the teaching profession, whether voluntary or involuntary" (LT, Karsenti, Collin, & Dumouchel, 2013, para. 6) - is often attributed to the intrapersonal (socio-emotional skills) and interpersonal dynamics encountered in the classroom or school (violence and bullying, behavioral and classroom management problems, class size and composition, hostile school climate, lack of support and appreciation, etc.) and, by extension, to poor relationships with students (a predominant factor) and, to a lesser extent, with principals, colleagues, and parents/guardians (Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2017; Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015; Karsenti, Collin, & Dumouchel, 2013; Karsenti et al, 2018; Lessard, Kamanzi, & Larochelle, 2013). Based on a Canada-wide quantitative study conducted from December 2012 to January 2013 with 815 French-language teachers (Fédération canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants, 2014), job satisfaction is strongly associated with the quality of relationships maintained with other members of the school community. Moreover, it is interesting to note that classroom disruptions, ineffective management of problem behaviors, an inhospitable school climate, and interpersonal tensions experienced by staff in Quebec's public elementary and secondary schools (e.g., violence and insecurity) are among the leading causes of burnout among teachers in that province (Janosz et al., 2018).

All of the factors listed so far contribute, for some teachers, to the rise of unpleasant emotions (Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2017) and, as a corollary, to the emergence of a negative relationship to the profession, which is defined as "the combination of pessimistic perceptions or self-perceptions with regard to the various aspects of the teaching profession" (LT, Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015, p. 66; see also Lessard, Kamanzi, & Larochelle, 2013). It is primarily the emotions provoked by difficult interactions and reflected in a negative relationship with the profession that ultimately lead some Canadian teachers toward professional disengagement and dropout (Kamanzi, Barroso da Costa, & Ndinga, 2017). On this point, dropping out of a profession "is the culmination of a gradual process of disengagement through which the individual develops negative attitudes toward their profession" (LT, Ibid., p. 116). Taken as a whole, teacher disengagement - which includes an affective dimension, a rational dimension, and a normative dimension - refers to the process leading to teachers having a negative perception of their roles and tasks, “as a result of which some of them may display behaviors and attitudes of rejection towards their profession" (LT, Ibid., p. 117). Such behaviors and attitudes tend to be associated with burnout.

According to a quantitative study conducted between 2005 and 2007 with several thousand students and teachers from the Quebec public school system (Janosz et al., 2018), negative perceptions among teachers - especially when they relate to student indiscipline, ineffective classroom management, and lack of support - increase the risk of developing symptoms of burnout. However, beyond individual perceptions and skills, the researchers argue that it is the lack of supervision and regulation of disruptive behavior and rudeness, as well as the hostile relational climate of a classroom or school, that "objectively" increase the risk of burnout (Ibid., p. 7). In addition to noting the need for better training and support for teachers (e.g., classroom management), they posit that "preventing burnout requires a safe, supportive and competent school environment to manage student misconduct" (LT, Ibid., p. 7). They also note that women exhibit more burnout than men.

While dropout is inevitable in any profession, when its rate "is high and its impact proves negative" across a given system, "its inherent character can be coupled with a problematic character that can be interpreted as a symptom of professional dysfunction" (LT, Karsenti, Collin, & Dumouchel, 2013, para. 9). In other words, "the problem of teacher dropout is not so much due to the new teachers themselves, but rather to the educational system into which they are being integrated" (LT, Ibid., conclusion). The fact remains that the disengagement of the professionals concerned prior to dropping out leads to a loss of motivation, interest, and attachment to teaching and to the students under their responsibility (Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2017).

In the education community, the consequences of such a dropout are numerous: financial losses due to costs associated with pre-service training, recruitment, hiring, and professional development; decreased quality of teaching; impact on student academic achievement; and teacher shortages (Kamanzi, Barroso da Costa, & Ndinga, 2017; Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015; Karsenti, Collin, & Dumouchel, 2013; Karsenti et al., 2018). What's more, there is - according to a Quebec action research conducted with 974 teachers, 47 administrators, and 827 students - a causal relationship between teacher retention and high school students' intention to leave school (Karsenti et al., 2018), with "investments made in teacher retention [being] [...] likely to have a major impact on [students'] academic success" (LT, p. 17). A comparable relationship exists between teacher well-being and student well-being (e.g., perceptions, sense of belonging, and stress levels: Janosz et al., 2018; Laurie & Larson, 2020) and learning (e.g., decreased motivation and academic achievement: Janosz et al., 2018; Laurie & Larson, 2020; Rodger, 2019), with support and resources to prevent teacher burnout having the potential to facilitate the welfare of all. Teacher well-being also improves the relationships teachers forge with their students (Laurie & Larson, 2020). In a similar way, teachers' sense of professional efficacy is positively related to students' well-being, achievement, social adjustment, and school retention (Janosz et al., 2018).

In summary, the teaching profession in Canada is facing a number of challenges. This reality is manifested, among other things, by the distress and professional dropout observed among teachers, whose state of well-being has an impact on students' mental health, academic experience, and achievement. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse, as the statistics gathered in the next section show.

COVID-19 Pandemic and School Community Members

A quantitative exploratory study of 1,683 Quebec teachers conducted in June 2020 (Beaudry et al., 2021) found that more teachers often (14%) or sometimes (30.5%) considered leaving the profession at the beginning of the pandemic than before (5.5% = often, 28.7% = sometimes). According to data from a questionnaire survey of over 2000 Quebec teachers conducted between May 1st and June 30th, 2021 (Tardif et al., 2021), 30% of teachers said they were dissatisfied with their work since the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, between 29% and 40% of respondents experience feelings of emotional exhaustion on a weekly basis, and 47% are currently experiencing fatigue as a consequence of their work. On both sides, it is noted that teacher insecurities, distress, and burnout (due in part to their increased workload) have, since 2020, been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic (Lévesque, September 1, 2021; Tardif et al., 2021). This is also true for students and their families, with some subgroups being more vulnerable than others (e.g., members of marginalized or racialized communities: Centre d’excellence de l’Ontario en santé mentale des enfants et des adolescents & Santé mentale pour enfants Ontario, 2020). Overall, "the changes and stresses brought on by the pandemic have had a negative impact on the mental health and well-being of Ontario's youth, their parents, and caregivers" (LT, Ibid., p. 13). Teachers, themselves made vulnerable by their circumstances, must not only continue to work and adapt like everyone else, but they must also support students who are dealing with the aftermath of isolation and uncertainty (Ibid).

According to a Statistics Canada article (September 8, 2021), the public health measures prescribed since the start of the pandemic and the fears arising from them "have contributed to increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and loneliness" among Canadians (LT, p. 3), with 10.5% of the population reporting fair or poor mental health in the fall of 2020 compared to 8.9% in 2019. Of the subgroups surveyed, women - who are overrepresented among Canadian teachers (74.5%: Fédération canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants, 2014) - and youth aged 12 to 17 were more likely to report fair or poor mental health, with percentages increasing during the health crisis. Meanwhile, Indigenous (including First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples) or rainbow individuals (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirited, etc.) were less likely to respond with positive mental health compared to non-Indigenous (53.2% vs. 64.3%, respectively) or heterosexual and cisgender (39.9% vs. 64.6%, respectively) individuals. Based on data from different cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey since spring 2020, approximately 67% of girls and women and 51% of boys and men aged 15-30 years reported acceptable or compromised (as opposed to excellent or very good) mental health since the start of the pandemic (Garriguet, 2021). A recent report by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (Commission de la santé mentale du Canada, 2020) using data from the COVID-19 HEADS UP survey of 137 young people aged 12-18 in 2020 similarly indicates that they "are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions caused by the pandemic" (LT, p. 2), with 48% of them experiencing burdensome feelings of isolation and loneliness (p. 6). Yet, mental health and well-being "are essential for individual and collective human beings to think, feel, interact with others, earn a living, and enjoy life" (LT, Organisation mondiale de la santé, 2018, para. 3).

Beyond the direct consequences of the current pandemic, discrimination, social exclusion, violence (or the risk of violence), and violation of rights - the prevalence of which has been of concern since the outbreak of COVID-19 (see studies cited below) - are recognized as detrimental to the mental well-being of those affected, so much so that an "environment that ensures respect for and protection of rights" is a prerequisite to mental well-being (LT, Ibid., para. 8).

A recent participatory study reported that more than a quarter of respondents (28%) reported experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment by others since the onset of the pandemic (Statistique Canada, September 17, 2020). For example, rainbow individuals, Indigenous peoples, people who are immigrants, people living with a disability, people from visible minorities, youths aged 15-24, and women all reported higher rates of discrimination during this period, with the most common targeted characteristics being skin color (34% of cases), age (30% of cases), physical appearance (26% of cases), ethnicity or culture (25%), and gender (22%).

In the case of family violence, 54% of victim services surveyed confirmed an increase in the number of victims (Statistique Canada, n.d.). The authors of a review of 48 scientific papers published between March and December 2020 suggested that the rate of child abuse incidents reported to the police or a Children's Aid Society had decreased since the emergence of COVID-19, which the researchers attributed to a decrease in social contact and, in turn, a reduced likelihood that the effects of abuse would be observed by others (Cappa & Jijon, 2021). Yet, seven of the included studies testified to an increase in calls to 911 and telephone support lines as a result of family or domestic violence. Three other studies reported an increase in partner and child abuse injuries in hospitals, and parents and guardians in an additional 15 surveys reported more frequent use of violence in their households. Four surveys of service providers also found that they perceived an increase in child abuse.

Researchers interested in the frequency of attacks against girls and women in times of pandemic recall, for their part, that the financial insecurity associated with such a health crisis (e.g., job loss or reduced income) increases the vulnerability of this population to violence (Peterman et al., 2020). Mandatory quarantines force girls and women to isolate themselves in their homes, putting those living with an abuser at greater risk of being targeted for violence. In addition, the professionals and family members most likely to see signs of abuse and to help abused girls and women tend to be less accessible during a pandemic, and girls and women are less likely to seek support services for fear of contracting the virus.

In light of the above, it appears that the social groups most at risk of marginalization and violence within Canadian society prior to the pandemic are even more so since its emergence. Given that these groups are represented in schools across the country and the province, it can be assumed that there are students and school staff who, in addition to experiencing the direct effects of the current health crisis, are also experiencing an increase in such injustices.

Echoing publications that show that the frequency of bullying in schools has decreased in Canada since the emergence of the pandemic (UNICEF Canada, 2020; UNICEF Innocenti, 2020), survey data collected in 2020 from 6578 students in grades 4-12 in Ontario - a large majority of whom have attended school face-to-face since September 2020 - suggest that the rate of bullying by a peer or peers has decreased since the onset of the pandemic (59.8% or three in five students from September 2019 to March 2020 compared to 39.5% or two in five students from September to November 2020: Vaillancourt et al., 2021). The researchers attributed this to smaller class sizes, increased monitoring of online activities and on-site interactions (compliance with social distancing guidelines), and reduced opportunities for peer socialization at school. Still, more girls (17.7% vs. 14.7% of boys), elementary school children (21.7% vs. 12.2% of high school students), students with non-binary gender identities (57.1% vs. 38.6% of binary students), and students identifying with a minority sexual orientation (49.9% vs. 34.7% of heterosexual students) responded that they had experienced bullying during the pandemic. Of all these subgroups, non-binary and sexual minority students were the primary target of bullying prior to and during the pandemic, with three out of five of them reporting being bullied between September and November 2020. Findings from a qualitative doctoral study conducted between 2018 and 2020 with nine French-speaking educational and systemic leaders in Ontario, for their part, reveal that they all observed or experienced incidents of anti-black racism from students or colleagues within the Franco-Ontarian school system (Villella, 2021).

In other words, students and school staff who have been the most targeted by discriminatory language or actions in Canada before or since the onset of the pandemic are members of various marginalized social groups. These findings serve as a reminder that bullying and ostracism, like all aggression, are not individual problems, but rather the product of domination relationships that result in the inequitable allocation of power across social groups.

This is the position of COPA National, whose philosophy and methods are consistent with the recommendations issued in many publications on school welfare, violence and discrimination. For example, we take a holistic approach, focusing on the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups. Our workshops and resources are informative, raising awareness and focusing on defending the right to be safe, strong, and free, the promotion of equity, inclusion, and social justice, combating aggression, bias, stereotyping, and all forms of discrimination, all with the goal of fostering change at the individual, group, and systemic levels. And finally, our workshops and resources combine social-emotional learning, anti-oppressive pedagogy (following an intersectional analysis) and (cyber)citizenship education; they aim to build caring school, family and community cultures; they are aligned with the four basic principles of children's rights (including consideration of children's views and interests), as well as with the rights guaranteed by the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and they promote mental health, self-determination and resilience (see Beaumont, 2014; Gouvernement du Canada, 2006; Larochelle-Audet et al., 2018; Louis, 2019; Parents partenaires en éducation, 2021; Ruest-Paquette, 2020; UNICEF Algeria, n/a; Vaillancourt et al., 2021). COPA National is therefore well equipped to respond to the unique needs of students and staff in French-language schools in Ontario, including during a pandemic.

Franco-Ontarian context

On March 17, 2020, the Ontario government declared a state of emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province, which included school closures. Since then, Ontario school communities - like many others across Canada - have been on high alert, with health measures and containment restrictions varying from week to week, region to region, school to school and even classroom to classroom. When schools are open, staff and students in grades 1-12 must always wear masks (except when eating or drinking), limit their interactions to those in their classroom or bus bubble, respect established schoolyard zones, regularly sanitize hands, furniture, toilets, doorknobs, equipment, etc. many times a day and practice social distancing.

Subgroup activities are discouraged and the lunch period is spent in silence. Some students attend school every day, others alternate. When schools are closed, classes are held remotely, via a virtual platform, in synchronous or asynchronous mode. Both students and teachers have had to acquire and learn to master new software, videoconferencing tools, and new technologies, with Internet connection problems and technological glitches being sources of frustration shared by the majority. In this context, most students do not receive the support they need and teachers are unable to deliver the material or provide the follow-up necessary for student success. This increases the risk of teacher dropout, which is particularly dramatic given the shortage of French-language teachers that has persisted in Ontario since the addition of a second year to the pre-service program in 2015 (Dalley & Villella, 2015; Groupe de travail, January 2021), which also coincides with the year in which the provincial government reduced the number of publicly funded seats in all faculties of education by 50% (Groupe de travail, January 2021).

With regards to student enrollment, in 2018-2019, there were a total of 111,024 students in Franco-Ontarian schools, with the number of teachers amounting to 9,350 (Ibid.). Of these 111,024 students, 9.4% are foreign-born, which corresponds to approximately 10,400 immigrant learners, more than half of whom are racialized (Ibid.). Following the release and implementation of the Aménagement Linguistique Policy for French-Language Schools in 2004, which redefined the potential pool of parents eligible to enroll their child in a French-language school in Ontario, the number of students in Franco-Ontarian schools increased by 26.4% (Ibid.). The province's French-language education system has thus been growing over the past 15 years, with heterogeneity becoming increasingly characteristic of Franco-Ontarian classrooms.

In contrast, and according to the Report on Teacher Shortages in Ontario's French-Language Education System (Groupe de travail, January 2021), "the annual attrition rate for teachers in French-language school boards is approximately 6.5%", meaning that approximately 600 French-language teachers leave the profession each year (LT, p. 41). In addition, "approximately 26% of Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) members leave the profession within the first 5 years and do not renew their OCT membership" (LT, Ibid., p. 41). This attrition is attributed to increasing and more complex workloads, lack of system support to facilitate teacher induction, challenges in the classroom, and a perception that the profession is devalued, which is associated with decreased motivation to pursue a teaching career (Ibid.).

As for faculties of education in Ontario, they certify an average of about 500 new teachers per year, which is not enough (Ibid.). According to the report, an additional 520 teachers would need to be trained annually "to balance the supply and demand for certified teachers" (LT, p. 4). In response to the report, the Ford administration committed to following 32 of the 37 recommendations in a four-year strategy (Eddahia, June 17, 2021).

Finally, in French Ontario, where the shortage of French language teachers and resources is decidedly critical, school personnel are - in addition to everything else - held responsible for participating in the development of students’ French-language skills and Franco-Ontarian identity in predominantly Anglophone communities, where the risk of linguistic assimilation is undeniable (Dalley & Villella, 2015). When one considers that nearly one-third of teacher education students at the University of Ottawa was born in Quebec (Francophone majority) or in a foreign country "where standard French is a guarantee of social mobility" (LT, Ibid., p. 160), mutual misunderstandings, interpretive differences regarding the variant of French and the Francophone identity to be promoted in schools, as well as interpersonal tensions that may emerge between colleagues and between staff and students - whose language practices are sometimes bilingual, sometimes multilingual - are inevitable. There are also those for whom "encountering an environment where students can speak up and discuss with teachers with impunity" and where "the child's place is the focus" are difficult, as they are contrary to the school socialization they experienced in their country of origin (LT, Ibid., p. 160).

Pandemic or not, French-language teachers in Ontario need support to better collaborate and meet students' needs. In a province-wide public consultation process with over 4,500 Ontarians in 2017, respondents named, among other observations, the "need to support the well-being of those who work with our students on a daily basis, a need that is separate from, but interrelated with, the needs of students" (LT, Ministère de l’Éducation de l’Ontario, September 2017, para. 5). This is precisely what COPA National wishes to do, with the recommendations below guiding the design of the proposed project.

Recommendations to reduce teacher dropout

Among the recommendations issued in various publications to reduce the occurrence of teacher dropout or to promote teacher retention (before or since the pandemic, regardless of the language of instruction), we note the following:

  • Improving pre-service teacher education "through greater 'confrontation' with the reality of the environment" (LT, Karsenti, Collin, & Dumouchel, 2013, conclusion; see also Karsenti et al., 2018), particularly so that teachers feel better prepared to manage diversity, classrooms, and relationships in the school (Dalley & Villella, 2015; Groupe de travail, January 2021; Karsenti et al., 2018);

  • Offering workshops, webinars, or training designed according to teacher needs and requests (Karsenti et al., 2018);

  • Developing a culture of collaboration (Goyette, 2020) or mutual aid within each school (Karsenti et al., 2018) and, in so doing, improving the quality of relationships within the school (e.g., including primarily teacher-student relationships) as well as classroom and school climate (Janosz et al., 2018; Kamanzi, Barroso da Costa, & Ndinga, 2017);

  • Sensitizing teachers to the realities and needs of marginalized and vulnerable social groups represented in the school community (Karsenti et al., 2018);

  • Facilitating the empowerment of new teachers (Karsenti et al., 2018);

  • Consulting with teachers before implementing a change that may impact their professional practice (Beaudry et al., 2021);

  • Providing simple and practical resources in French to school staff (Karsenti et al., 2018);

  • Training principals on their role in the induction of new teachers (Karsenti et al., 2018);

  • Preparing prospective teachers to seek help when needed (Karsenti et al., 2018), supporting the development of their adaptive capabilities (Goyette, 2020; Karsenti et al., 2018), and increasing their social-emotional skills and sense of professional efficacy (Goyette, 2020; Janosz et al., 2018; Rodger, 2019), all to reduce their job stress and promote their well-being;

  • Conducting a survey of prospective teachers to assess their readiness to seek help (Karsenti et al., 2018) or, in a similar vein, addressing the subjective dimensions of teacher dropout (Kamanzi, Tardif, & Lessard, 2015), including collecting qualitative data about their experiences and needs (Kamanzi, Barroso da Costa, & Ndinga, 2017; Rodger, 2019);

  • Encouraging the adoption of self-reflective practice among teachers (Goyette, 2020; Janosz et al., 2018);

  • Implementing preventive measures (Karsenti et al., 2018) focusing on teacher wellness and resilience, and positive school leadership, among other things (Laurie & Larson, 2020).

Knowing that the lived experience of teachers "is fundamentally qualitative in nature (emotions, joys, challenges at work, etc.) and semantic (the meaning that teachers give to their profession in general and to each of its aspects)'' (LT, Kamanzi, Tardif and Lessard, 2015, p. 67), COPA National hopes - through the project Enseigner dans une école de langue française en Ontario, c'est pour moi ! - to better understand and intervene on the targeted clientele’s feelings, emotions, and interpretations. We anticipate that this will have a positive impact on the well-being of teachers as well as students, which is all the more pressing given the current health crisis, especially in francophone minority settings, where there are fewer social services in French and an alarming shortage of teachers.

*If you are a school stakeholder and would like more information on the proposed project, we invite you to contact us directly (


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