Retaining future teachers: The need for support connected to school realities

The shortage of teachers in Quebec, as elsewhere in Canada, means that students find themselves in a teaching situation as soon as they start their professional education. The difficulties they experience as students or while working in the school environment could result in their questioning whether to pursue their professional education or even to consider early abandonment of the profession. Hence the need for teacher education support systems geared to school realities.

teacher shortages
The phenomenon of teacher shortages due to retirements, early teacher dropouts, fluctuations in school enrolments and the lack of attractiveness of professional education programs has increased as a result of the health measures put in place in schools to combat COVID-19.
Recruitment of uncertified teachers Service centres and school districts are addressing their teacher shortages by increasingly turning to teachers who are not legally qualified, i.e. those lacking a professional certificate, probationary licence or provisional teaching licence. These uncertified individuals include first- and second-year students who work in schools as supply teachers or as contract replacement teachers.
A difficult transition from teacher education programs to entry into the profession Despite their career-centred training, beginning teachers face a number of challenges in terms of professional integration:

  • Job insecurity: part-time and variable-term contracts
  • Cumbersome and complex tasks: their tasks sometimes fall outside their field of study, include difficult class groups and require them to teach several subjects at different grade levels or in multi-grade classes
  • Lack of support from colleagues and management in some schools
  • Classroom management difficulties, challenges in building positive pedagogical relationships and communicating with parents, all of which can lead to a low sense of competence
Professional education that is not sufficiently connected to school realities
  • Gaps between theory and practice: what is taught does not provide adequate teaching practice preparation
  • Deficient classroom management: new teachers are poorly equipped to manage a class group
  • Insufficient knowledge of and preparation for students with disabilities or adjustment and learning difficulties
  • Difficulties in planning and evaluating learning: young teachers often lack skills in these areas
  • Lags in techno-pedagogy: few courses prepare future teachers for the use of digital technology for educational purposes

Support strategies for better retention of future teachers

  • Reconcile their studies with their in-school supply teaching duties in order to meet the students’ needs.
  • Provide flexible and part-time professional education programs to enable a better work-life balance for uncertified teachers who want to develop their teaching skills.
  • Create digital university learning environments that are better adapted to school-based teaching in order to better prepare students for the use of digital technologies in education.
  • Establish peer mentoring systems (in person or online) from the beginning of the professional education programs.


Niyubahwe, A., Sirois, G. & Bergeron, R. (submitted). Les conditions d’insertion professionnelle des enseignants en Abitibi-Témiscamingue et au Nord-du-Québec et les mesures de soutien dont ils bénéficient en début de carrière. Formation et profession.

Sirois, G., Niyubahwe, A. & Bergeron, R. (submitted). Attirer et retenir les futurs enseignants dans les programmes de formation initiale : le cas de deux régions éloignées du Québec. Revue Éducation et Francophonie.

Sirois, G., Semevo, K. S. & Dembélé, D. (May 5, 2022.) Pénuries d’enseignant.e.s et de suppléant.e.s: un état des lieux dans 34 centres de services scolaires du Québec. Communication présentée dans le cadre du 9e Colloque international en éducation du Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante (CRIFPE), Montréal, Canada.

Sirois, G. and Niyubahwe, A. (2022.) Enseignants non légalement qualifiés dans nos écoles : au-delà des inquiétudes, quelles solutions? La conversation Canada. https://theconversation.com/enseignants-non-legalement-qualifies-dans-nos-ecoles-au-dela-des-inquietudes-quelles-solutions-172591


Meet the Expert(s)


Dr. Aline Niyubahwe

Professeure, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Aline Niyubahwe est professeure régulière à l’UQAT dans les domaines du développement de l’enfant et de l’adolescent et des théories de l’apprentissage. Chercheure associée au CRIFPE, el...

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