Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Thousands of classroom aids: a  “helping hand” for teachers

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The addition of 10,000 classroom aides is planned throughout the Quebec network at the preschool and primary levels.


Under the agreements in principle concluded with the teaching unions, Quebec undertakes to provide the full-time equivalent of 4,000 classroom aides throughout the network preschool and primary school. This measure will considerably lighten the burden on teachers in struggling classes, say several experts.

According to the Federation of School Support Personnel (FPSS-CSQ), approximately 10,000 educators, mostly daycare staff who currently work part-time, could act as classroom aides.

It's going to be between 10 and 15 hours more per person, so job insecurity was our priority, and it will allow many people to get out of this precariousness to obtain a better viable income, reacted Éric Pronovost, president of the FPSS-CSQ.

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Éric Pronovost, president of the Fédération du personnel de support scolaire, affiliated with the CSQ (Photo archives)

Classroom aides would have the title of school educators. They would not be involved in teaching or evaluation tasks, but they could supervise a class, help to follow instructions and collaborate in the organization of activities.

[They will] lend a hand with crafts, school trips. This will allow the teacher to better supervise students and delegate [tasks] such as photocopying, traveling around the school or supporting students in need.

A quote from Nancy Granger, professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Sherbrooke

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These people will be front-line collaborators not only with the teachers but especially with the children in the classroom. We [will] be better able to meet needs, continued Ms. Granger.

Classroom aids were already the subject of attention. ;a pilot project launched in 2022 in 200 schools in the province. The project then proved that adding these key people eased the burden on teachers.

The teachers told us: "It helps me to stay in my job, I am much less tired, much more motivated to work in pairs." And for the students, we see that there really is a healthier classroom climate, noted Ms. Granger, who analyzed the results of the pilot project carried out with 100 classroom assistants since 2022.

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Nancy Granger, professor at the faculty of education at the University of Sherbrooke

As for the former president of the CSN Claudette Carbonneau, she also welcomed this addition of aid to the class.

It will not replace speech therapists, special education technicians and specialized personnel, but it will give a helping hand to teachers, specifically in elementary schools.

A quote from Claudette Carbonneau, former president of the CSN

There has been a shortage of specialists for so long and there was incredible inertia! The employer will have to realize that there is a cost and that he will have to train and recruit workers. It’s a measure against inertia, she said on ICI RDI.

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Claudette Carbonneau, former president of the CSN

Ms. Carbonneau also welcomes the other mitigation measures included in the agreement in principle concluded between the FAE and Quebec, in particular the proposal to alleviate classes in difficulty by opening new groups of students , provided that there are teachers and premises available.

If mitigation measures are not possible, the #x27;teacher could then get a bonus of up to $8,000 to teach more difficult classes. is not the bonus that will help the quality [of education], recognizes Ms. Carbonneau. [But] the fact that there are special measures is to be welcomed. This is a plus […] in order to make progress in education, because the situation in 20 years has deteriorated.

The agreements in principle will be presented, both to members of the FAE and to those of the Common Front, starting Monday. The general meetings will last until mid-February.

With information from Jean-Philippe Hugues and Rose St-Pierre

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