December 1, 2016 5:45 pm
Updated: December 2, 2016 10:07 am

Nova Scotia teaching students may lose practicum opportunities with work-to-rule action

WATCH ABOVE: Education students throughout NS universities may lose practicum opportunities due to work-to-rule job action. Global’s Alexa MacLean reports.

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Some Nova Scotia students working toward an education degree may have to put the invaluable hands-on practicum portion of their studies on hold because of work-to-rule job action the Nova Scotia Teachers Union is starting Monday.

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The practicum — which puts the education students in Nova Scotia classrooms actually teaching the grade-school students — is a critical part of their studies that’s required to earn a Nova Scotia Teacher’s Certificate.

“It’s so valuable because everything that you’ve learned in school is great but until you’ve actually had the chance to put it into practice, you don’t really know what it will truly be like,” said Michael McCallum, a math and French teacher who graduated with a Bachelor of Education from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU).

McCallum is fresh into his teaching career and credits his practicum experience with landing a position out of school.

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“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get a preview into the career before jumping in with both feet,” he said.

Education students must have a minimum of 15 weeks in an in-classroom training environment to be qualified for a teaching certificate.

It’s a part of post-secondary education studies that is currently “up in the air” because of the work-to-rule job action.

“We’re in uncharted territory here. So, first of all I’d ask education students to reach out to their faculty to talk to them,” Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan said Thursday.

Regan says the province will be meeting with faculty heads to discuss how the job action may impact practicums.

One-hundred-seventy-eight students are enrolled in MSVU’s Bachelor of Education program.

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The student union is preparing to facilitate talks between students and faculty members.

“Heading into the next couple of weeks we’ll be working with our faculty of education to make sure that collectively we can provide those resources and supports for education students,” said Ryan Nearing, president of MSVU’s student union.

While nothing has been decided yet in regards to the future of practicums, Nearing says all he’s hearing from MSVU students is that they hope things get resolved between the union and the government sooner rather than later.

“As a student’s union we speak on behalf of Mount students and these students are hoping to receive their practicum experiences that a lot of them were looking forward to.”

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