It wasn't so long ago that there'd be 40 to 50 potential employers setting up booths at the U of M education students' job fair.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/2/2016 (2162 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opinion

It wasn't so long ago that there'd be 40 to 50 potential employers setting up booths at the U of M education students' job fair.

I'd go every year to check out the state of employment for future teachers, to chat up the superintendents, and to look for a story.

Sometimes they jumped right out at me: the recruiter from inner city Los Angeles offering contracts way beyond the salary levels in Manitoba; the year the feds were there to hire teachers to work full-time in prisons; the big crowds that recruiters drew of young people who'd rather spend a year in England teaching in the inner city than trying to get on the substitutes' lists here.

But there were always recruiters and plenty of them, including most of Manitoba's school boards.

It was way down this year.

I know that the city divisions have switched tactics and many do their own recruiting days — there was no sign of Winnipeg, Louis Riel, Pembina Trails, Seven Oaks, or Brandon. There weren't many chief superintendents among the handful of Manitoba divisions which did show up.

There were only two private Manitoba schools, only one other Canadian public school board (from Hamilton), none from any other province. The job fair used to attract Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Durham Region, northwestern Ontario, some of the largest boards in Ontario's Roman Catholic system most years.

No First Nations schools from Manitoba or Saskatchewan or northwestern Ontario, no sign of the Mexican English-language private academies which had been regulars, no Americans, though there were several private companies looking to sign up teachers to go overseas for a year or two.

You see the same thing now at the universities fair each November: where once more than 50 universities would set up booths at six city high schools, you're now lucky to get 30.

It's partly a matter of budgets, and of websites becoming so sophisticated that recruiters believe they can make their pitch to future teachers and future university students just as well online as they can by putting staff on an airplane and paying for hotel rooms and meals on the road so they can hand out glossy brochures.

But maybe the jobs just aren't out there. Maybe it's time someone in this province compiled some serious data about how many teachers we're graduating each year, how many education grads are getting jobs and where they're getting them, how many are working as substitutes or on term contracts, how many are leaving the profession?