FMPSD Celebrates Substitute Teachers’ Appreciation Week

March 13 to 17 is Substitute Teachers’ Appreciation Week, and the Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) thanks all of our substitute teachers. These dedicated professionals are critical to the District’s operation by being a constant support for teachers and students.

Home to 65 substitutes, FMPSD is always looking for new teachers. Gayle Neil has been a substitute teacher with us since 2015. She shares her experience.

“The best thing about being a substitute teacher is the diversity of students that I see on a weekly basis. I can go from being an ECDP (Early Childhood Development Program) teacher one day to teaching grade 12 chemistry the next day. I also really love the fact that as a substitute teacher I know I can provide some relief to a teacher who needs it. As a former full-time teacher, I truly appreciated when I had a substitute I could rely on, and my goal is to be that kind of substitute teacher.”

Gayle says new teachers can benefit from being a substitute in many ways.

“It provides an opportunity to grow and experience a variety of situations. It gives new teachers the time to practice which teaching style works best and to build their confidence. As an experienced teacher, I might recommend substitute teaching if you are new to a community and don’t know the setting very well.”

Any tips for new teachers? “Always pack gym shoes because you never know when you are the gym teacher,” Gayle adds.

Kim Boehme agrees. He joined FMPSD in 1988, and retired from full-time employment in 2015. Becoming a substitute teacher is the best thing he did for himself, he notes.

“The best thing about being a substitute teacher is the ability it gives me to set my own work schedule and balance productive work time with productive relaxation time. It’s also a great way to stay connected with former colleagues, institutions and sense of contributing to the community.”



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“Staying connected to my vocation is satisfying and challenging while giving me the freedom to explore new connections and activities in the community,” Kim adds.

Shana Janisse, is the TOC (Teachers on Call) Coordinator for the District, and says being a substitute teacher has its unique perks.

“You can choose your own schedule as well as choose which schools and grades you wish to teach. Being a substitute allows you to find out quickly where your strengths and weaknesses lie; and substituting may lead to full-time work as well.”

“We want to let you know that we value you for all your assistance each and every day. You play a large part in preserving classroom consistency in order for learning to continue uninterrupted. You help us meet our goals,” added Shana, who has been with the District for three years.


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Nancy Ball, Teacher Capacity Leader, FMPSD, echoed similar sentiments.

“Substitute teachers play a necessary and valuable role in the education of Fort McMurray students. The role of the substitute teacher carries with it many of the daily responsibilities of instruction, discipline and supervision. Each day the teaching environment may differ, school to school and classroom to classroom. The role of the substitute teacher is equally demanding, equally essential and equally professional as that of a classroom teacher. That being said, it is also equally rewarding as a substitute teacher to teach many students over a school year.”

“Substitute teachers play an essential role in maintaining the continuity and excellence of Fort McMurray Public School District. As a District and community we celebrate their contributions to the teaching profession and to public education. They are indeed key team players in our District, our schools, and our classes,” Nancy says.

Phil Meagher, Deputy Superintendent, FMPSD, oversees personnel, and appreciates substitute teachers.

“The Fort McMurray Public School District could not function or be as successful, as we are with students, without the dedicated substitute teachers we have working in our system. Some of them do not know what they will be teaching until they arrive at the school, and even then it might change throughout the day. So we certainly salute these brave souls as they do what is best for kids everyday no matter what the school, grade or subject matter may be. Thank you to all our substitute teachers for the excellent job you do,” Phil states.