Teaching is an odd profession. Most if not all “promotions” require a person to stop being a teacher. This reality makes these changes more daunting than for many other professions. There are many people who are livelong teachers and will never consider a “promotion”. That’s a valid choice, teach on! If you’re wondering about the options inside the board, read on!
There are two main types of promotions that are seen as a natural progression from teaching within a board. They entail different job duties and should be considered if you enjoy the respective types of work.
Administration: The main role of a principal is to be a manager. We call them educational leaders and describe the vision we want them to have of schools and education, but at the end of the day can they manage people? Do you like people? Can you give clear direct feedback in a sensitive and respectful way? Can you advocate for your staff at the school board? Are you comfortable with uncertainty? Can you let go of control and give others autonomy? Are you comfortable with conflict? Can you meet deadlines and organize your time?
Consultant: There are several types of consultant positions. In general, what they have in common is supporting teachers. These positions involve developing materials and tools to help teachers in their classrooms. These roles are non managerial. That means you can’t actually tell anyone what to do. Your job is to listen to the needs of specific teachers or groups of teachers and find ways to help them. Either with suggestions of methods, strategies or other implementable options. This a good choice for people that like people and research. Consultants should also have a thick enough skin that they don’t take things too personally. A rejection of a method/philosophy/idea should be water off a duck’s back to them.
Once you’ve considered your career path, you still don’t know if you’ll enjoy the new position. Often, we like the idea of something more than the reality. There is an agreement in the RTU local that gives you some grace time to try out a non-teaching position.
Temporary positions can be tried out for up to 2 years without losing tenure. Permanent positions can be tried out for 1 year without losing tenure. This means that you retain your fulltime permanent position, and your post at your school.
In either case you have one further year where you retain your permanency, but not your school post. After that year you lose your permanent position, but come back at top of the recall list. After 3 years, you start back at the bottom.
These grace years are not part of the provincial agreement. They are part of the RTU-RSB locally negotiated agreement. The RTU has accepted these clauses as membership has shown a desire for them. The hope is that it will allow for a higher quality of administrator and consultant. In general, RTU and QPAT do not like permanent positions being held by people who are not teaching. No one wants half the permanent positions in a board being held by the administrators and consultants indefinitely. That would mean around 60 permanent positions would be held until retirement by non-teachers, that RTU and QPAT do not represent. Remember, once you leave teaching RTU and QPAT no longer represent you. RTU and QPAT membership is based on professionally teaching, not teaching as an identity.