Class concerns
NTEP grads under microscope

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

CORAL HARBOUR (Oct 06/99) - A Coral Harbour parent has raised concerns over the level of classroom instruction students are receiving in Sakku school.

Mona Netser says some teachers have been given classroom responsibilities beyond their own training, education levels and abilities.

She says the situation is causing Sakku school to lose credibility with many students and their parents.

"My daughter in Grade 7 comes home and tells me her teacher couldn't pronounce a word, so she had to tell her how to pronounce it properly," says Netser.

"That kind of nonsense is going on in our school. These NTEP teachers graduated last year and were hired because they are local."

Netser says Coral parents are especially concerned about the level of instruction higher-grade students are receiving from the NTEP teachers.

"What if they want to go on to college or university? Are they going to be qualified?

"The students are losing interest in going to school. They feel some of these teachers aren't as qualified as they are."

Netser claims shortly after school began, a number of students were complaining their teachers were practically asking them what do to.

"They were being asked, 'What did you do last year? What should we do?'

"Teachers shouldn't be asking students these types of questions because they lose confidence in you right away."

School principal Ken Beardsall says there is a system in place for dealing with teacher performance and that's his job.

He says Sakku has 10 NTEP grads on staff this year qualified to teach kindergarten to Grade 9.

"I'm very proud of the work our NTEP grads have done," says Beardsall.

"They're here working late almost every night and I've seen positive things in almost every classroom."

Beardsall says his students are comfortable with the NTEP teachers, who are able to communicate with all local parents as well as their students.

"The gap which used to exist between the school and the community is rapidly diminishing and that's so helpful here for education.

"To tell you the truth, for so many new teachers, I'm seeing less problems than with new teachers from the south."

The Kivalliq District Education Council director, Curtis Brown, says Nunavut teachers are closely evaluated during a two-year probationary period.

He says teaching is a complex profession and you don't become an excellent teacher just by going through a college or university program.

"You become an excellent teacher by making a solid effort, doing the best you can, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes," says Brown.

"All teachers need, and are expected, to further their professional development each year so they can become the best teacher possible.

"The parent has been encouraged to continue sharing any concerns with school staff, so that appropriate steps can be taken by the administration to ensure professional development in any specific areas of need are addressed, if, in fact, there is need there."