Teachers' association welcomes 'refreshed' curriculum, worried about time to prepare

Connie Keating, New Brunswick Teachers' Association president, says more supply teachers are needed. (CBC - image credit)
Connie Keating, New Brunswick Teachers' Association president, says more supply teachers are needed. (CBC - image credit)

Anglophone high school students in New Brunswick will see a larger course selection and changes to how credits will be counted when they pick their classes for the next school year — and that's raising concerns for some teachers.

A larger selection of courses has been approved by the Department of Education, and schools will be able to decide which ones they wish to make available for their students.

Connie Keating, the president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, said while the association is pleased with the department's approach to the changes, some teachers are worried about the prospect of potentially having to learn new curriculum.

"The goal is to have more learning opportunities for students. So, that will require some teachers to learn new curriculum and learn new skills themselves."

Roger Cosman/CBC
Roger Cosman/CBC

Some will be worried about where they will find the time for that, "considering currently we have a chronic supply teacher shortage," Keating said.

"It is a change at a time when schools have been experiencing instability."

The changes, which will take effect in the fall, have been in the works for years now, with the goal being to increase student motivation and interest, according to the Department of Education.

The three main changes being made at the high school level are:

  • A one-semester course will now be worth four credit hours instead of one credit.

  • Students will have more options to choose from within mandatory course clusters.

  • Some students may be eligible for early graduation after completing 100 credit hours.

The NBTA has been involved in the process of making these changes to high school courses, Keating said, and has had a staff member attending the meetings with the department.

Teachers and principals have reached out to ask questions about how they're going to have time to learn new curriculum with an expanded of course selection, as well as meet with staff and figure out how it's going to look, she said.

But despite concerns, Keating said for the nearly 25 years she's worked at the high school level there has been talk of a high school renewal, and she's pleased to see it happen.

"Our high school system has needed [to be] refreshed and modernized for some time now."