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Working as a Teacher – Elementary and Secondary

Job Description Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers, NOC 4032

Elementary schools in BC mostly include classes from kindergarten to grade 7. Elementary school librarians are included in this unit group.

Working as an Elementary school and kindergarten teacher you will perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Prepare courses for presentation to students according to approved curriculum
  • Teach students using a systematic plan of lessons, discussions, audio-visual presentations, and field trips
  • Promote student’s physical, mental, behavioural and social development
  • Prepare, administer, and correct tests
  • Evaluate and identify student’s individual learning needs
  • Attend meetings with students, parents, and school officials
  • Complete paperwork and report cards
  • Participate in staff meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training
  • May supervise teachers’ aides and student teachers
  • Elementary school and kindergarten teachers may specialize in such areas as special education or second language instruction.

Source: NOC 4032

Job Description Secondary School Teachers, NOC 4031

Secondary schools in BC include grades 8 to 12. Secondary school teachers usually specialize in subject areas. Secondary school teachers who are heads of departments and high school librarians are included in this group.

Secondary school teachers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Prepare subject material for students according to an approved curriculum
  • Motivate students to learn
  • Assign and correct homework
  • Prepare, administer, and correct tests
  • Evaluate progress, determine individual needs of students, and discuss results with parents and school officials
  • Participate in staff meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training
  • Coach sports, supervise clubs, or take students on field trips
  • May supervise student teachers

Source: NOC 4031

Industry Overview

Working “on-call” and part-time has become a common starting point for new teaching graduates. The demand for teachers is greatest in northern BC.

Elementary Teachers:

In recent years, BC has experienced a number of elementary school closures due to declining student enrolments. There is growing demand for French immersion and Francophone program teachers; most of these teachers secure contracts within their first year of employment.

Secondary Teachers:

Secondary teachers specializing in advanced math, physics, chemistry, French, and French immersion tend to be in higher demand in all areas of BC. There is expected to be an increasing need for teachers in such fields as business education, technology education, home economics, special needs, and ESL.

Job Outlook in BC

Secondary school teachers (NOC 4031)

job outlook secondary school teachers noc 4031

Chart from WorkBC

Elementary school teachers, (NOC 4032)

job outlook for elementary school teachers

Chart from WorkBC

The Regional Employment Projections for 2010-2015 provides job opening projections for elementary and kindergarten teachers and secondary teachers within these BC regions:

elementary secondary school teacher regional wage

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

You can learn more about working as a teacher in BC from

Types of Employers

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers work in:

  • public and private schools

Secondary school teachers work in:

  • Public and private high schools
  • Community/agricultural colleges,
  • Technical institutes and other vocational schools
  • Language schools
  • Private training establishment/companies
  • Community agencies and government

Salary

BC Public Schools – Teacher Salaries and Categories

The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in BC is between $53,000 and $66,000. The average annual salary for secondary school teachers in BC is between $66,000 and $95,000.

BC Public Schools – Teacher Salaries and Categories

In BC teachers’ salaries are determined by the individual’s academic qualifications and their years of experience. The Teacher Qualification Service (TQS) evaluates teacher qualifications and assigns a category. The category assigned is based solely on academic qualifications. Years of experience also determine salary; acceptable experience is determined by the individual school district, not the TQS.

Across BC, elementary school and kindergarten teachers can expect to make:

elementary kindergarten teachers regional wage

Source: Job Bank Canada, Wage Reports

Across BC, secondary school teachers can expect to make:

secondary school teachers regional wage

Source: Job Bank Canada, Wage Reports

Working Hours

Teachers usually work between 8 and 10 hours a day on weekdays, teaching classes, preparing lessons, marking assignments, and attending meetings. They often put in additional hours over the weekend. This can add up to 50 or more hours a week. Most teachers work a 10-month school year. They have two months of time off in July and August, as well as a holiday over the Christmas period and at spring break in March.

Skills, Education and Experience

Skills

  • excellent communication skills, and the ability to inspire their students
  • flexible, patient, calm and able to empathize with students
  • ability to teach students with a variety of learning abilities and needs
  • resourceful, creative, and highly organized

Education and Experience

Elementary and Kindergarten School Teachers

  • Bachelor’s degree / Bachelor’s degree in education
  • Provincial teaching certificate
  • Certification is required to teach English or French as an additional language

Source: NOC, 4032

Secondary Teachers

  • Academic Bachelor’s degree
  • Bachelor’s degree in education
  • Provincial teaching certificate
  • Certification is required to teach English or French as an additional language

Source : NOC, 4031

Qualifications

Teaching is a regulated profession in British Columbia

Licensing Requirements for Teachers

If you would like to teach in BC’s kindergarten to grade 12 public education sector, you must have a certificate of qualification from the Ministry of Education issued through the Teacher Regulation Branch. This certificate also enables you to work in all independent schools and First Nations schools in the province.

To qualify for a certificate, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • a BC grade 12 diploma or its equivalent
  • a degree or its equivalent
  • at least four years of post-secondary study
  • completion of an acceptable teacher education program
  • familiarity with the Canadian education system
  • English proficiency, or, in the case of teaching French, French proficiency
  • recent teaching experience
  • a fit and moral character to work with children

Source: Ministry of Education: Becoming a Teacher in BC

Teacher Certification for BC Independent (Private) Schools

For individuals who have not completed a teacher education program, apply for an Independent School Teaching Certificate through the Teacher Regulation Branch.

Internationally Trained and Accredited Teachers

To teach in BC’s kindergarten to grade 12 public education sector, you must apply to the Teacher Regulation Branch for a Ministry of Education teaching certificate.

Academic studies alone are not enough to qualify you for a BC teaching certificate that enables you to teach in the public school system. You must also have completed a teacher training program that qualifies you to teach in the kindergarten to grade 12 public school system in the jurisdiction where you completed the program.

Familiarity with the Canadian education system If you have studied and/or taught in an education system that is significantly different from the education system in Canada, you may be asked to complete a familiarization program.

Teacher Qualification Service (TQS)

If you are eligible for a certificate, you will also need to apply to the Teacher Qualification Service (TQS) for your TQS category. Public school boards use this category (which is based solely on your academic qualifications) as one element in determining your salary level.

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, electronic sources, and through professional associations.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun and the Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • Education Canada
    Can search kindergarten to secondary teaching jobs by category (e.g. elementary, algebra), employer type (e.g. public, private, First Nations), city, and region within BC
  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

  • BC Teachers Federation (BCTF)
    The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) is the union of professionals representing public school teachers in the province of British Columbia. All public school teachers belong to the BCTF and their local teachers’ association.
  • Make a Future: Careers in BC Education
    Joint venture between British Columbia’s 60 public boards of education, the BC Ministry of Education and the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a wide range of different job titles that are relevant.

For Elementary school / kindergarten teachers, look for these and other related job titles (NOC code 4142)

  • French immersion teacher – elementary school
  • Teacher Librarian, elementary school
  • Primary school teacher
  • Special education teacher – elementary school
  • Supply teacher – elementary school

For Secondary school teachers, look for these and other related job titles (NOC code 4141)

  • English teacher, secondary school
  • French as a second language teacher, high school
  • Adult education teacher, secondary school
  • “Subject” teacher, high school
  • Department head, secondary school
  • High school teacher, special education
  • Supply teacher, high school
  • Trades / Vocational Instructor – secondary school

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of school districts in the Lower Mainland or BC and contact them directly. NOTE: School districts may not advertise. New graduates typically start work on a substitute list (i.e. “Teacher-on-call”), in part-time positions and/or as maternity leave and sabbatical replacements.

For further information on “Teachers-on-Call”,

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “school district” or “boards of education” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, use the following pathfinders:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

There are associations for teachers and for school districts in BC and Canada. These associations provide assistance to organizations and individuals working in this sector.

  • BC Muslim Association
    BC Muslim Association is currently the largest Muslim organization in the province and operates schools in Richmond and Surrey encompassing grades kindergarten to seven.
  • British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
    The BCTF, established in 1917, is the union of professionals representing 41,000 public school teachers in the province of British Columbia. All public school teachers belong to the BCTF and their local teachers’ association.
  • Khalsa Schools
    Elementary and secondary schools in Vancouver and Lower Mainland area.
  • Teacher Qualification Service
    The primary function of the TQS is to assist teachers and their employing school boards in establishing the qualifications of teachers for salary purposes.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. Examples at the Central Library: