Beginning teachers

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Welcome to all new teachers!

You are embarking on an exciting journey in an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding career.

The ATA wants to make sure that new teachers start out on the right foot. Here you’ll find resources and information that will help you as you begin teaching in Alberta.

Have a question? Check out our frequently asked questions!

My ATA

Remember to sign up for your online ATA account! This will allow you to access the Members Only section of the website to find important information about collective bargaining, vote in ATA elections and access the ATA library.

Sign up for your online ATA account

Scholarships, grants and bursaries

Get your ideas off the ground! The ATA has numerous scholarships, grants and awards to help further education, initiate activities, awareness and programs to enrich your knowledge and teaching practice. 

  • ATA Educational Trust
  • ATA Doctoral Fellowships in Education
  • DEHR Grants and Awards
  • Educational Research Award
  • Gold Medals in Education
  • Grants Supporting Diversity, Equity & Human Rights
  • John Mazurek Memorial—Morgex Insurance Scholarship
  • Local Community Relations Grants
  • Mentorship Grant Application Form
  • Nadene M Thomas Graduate Research Bursary
  • Political Engagement Grant
  • Provincial Election Grant
  • School Board Election Grant
  • Strategic Planning Grant Program

PD opportunities

Professional development is exciting and varied. Explore all the avenues to enrich your teaching career with the ATA. 

Beginning Teachers’ Conference

Beginning Teachers' Conference logo graphic

September 23 and 24, 2022

Fantasyland Hotel, Edmonton

Eligibility

Registration is open to teachers in their first two years of classroom teaching and to teachers new to teaching in Alberta.

Teachers in charter, federal and private schools must be associate members of the ATA to attend. Find out how to become an associate member. 

Registration

Online registration opens August 2, 2022.

Register at https://atapd.ca/events/2022-beginning-teachers-conference.

FAQ for new teachers

Below are answers to questions new teachers often ask.

If your question is not answered here, check the Worth Knowing e-mails, which Teacher Employment Services (TES) distributes weekly to district representatives and Teacher Welfare Committee members. Ask your representatives to forward these e-mails to you, or check the Worth Knowing section (using your online ATA account).

If you still have questions, contact TES staff.

Certification

How do I apply for a teaching certificate?

In Alberta, all teaching certificates are granted by the Alberta Education registrar. A teaching certificate can be interim or permanent.

If you are eligible for certification, apply through the Teacher Workforce Information System (TWINS).

The minimum requirements and costs for certification are listed here.

Don’t forget to also apply for your Teacher Qualifications Service (TQS) evaluation.

If you have questions, contact Professional Development (PD) staff.

What are the different types of teaching certificate?

Temporary teaching authority

Graduates from an Alberta bachelor of education program who have received an offer of employment from a school division may be eligible for a letter that grants them temporary teaching authority for 90 days.

Interim professional certificate

An interim professional certificate may be granted to applicants who have completed a bachelor of education program in Alberta, in other provinces or abroad.

An interim professional certificate generally expires on August 31 of the third year following the year in which it was issued. The registrar may grant extensions of an interim professional certificate for up to a three-year period.

Permanent professional certificate

After two successful years of full-time teaching (approximately 400 days) and two successful evaluations from your school leaders, you may apply for your permanent professional certificate.

A permanent professional certificate remains in effect unless withdrawn by the minister of education.

Find out more about teaching certificates here.

Contracts

What do I do if information is missing from my contract?

Teaching contracts are typically brief documents that indicate your employing school division, your contract type and term length, the full-time or part-time nature of your position, and a few other administrative details concerning pay dates and resignation requirements. Information assigning you to a particular work site or teaching assignment is rarely included.

Information about salary and benefits is not included in your teaching contract. This information is found in your collective agreement.

If you have questions about teaching contracts, contact TES staff.

What are the different types of teaching contract?

In general, there are three types of teaching contract: temporary, probationary and continuous.

Temporary teaching contracts are offered for terms up to a year in length. Beginning teachers may be placed on temporary contracts to cover the assignments of teachers who are on leave or to fill other short-term vacancies. The start and end dates of temporary teaching contracts vary greatly.

Probationary teaching contracts are offered to some beginning teachers. Teachers on probationary contracts are not covering for teachers on leave or filling short-term vacancies. That said, there is no guarantee that the contract will be renewed at the end of its term. Probationary contracts end on June 30 and can be renewed if the teacher agrees. Typically, successful performance during a probationary contract leads to a continuous contract.

Continuous teaching contracts may be awarded to teachers who have completed at least two years of teaching and who have had two successful evaluations.

Pay and benefits

Where do I find out how much I will be paid?

Salary and benefit information for teachers is found in most collective agreements. Your position on the salary grid is determined by your years of formal teacher education and your years of professional teaching experience.

The current collective agreements for Alberta’s public, separate and francophone school divisions can be found here.

If you have questions about salary or benefits, contact TES staff.

How do I find out where I will be placed on the salary grid?

The Teacher Qualifications Service (TQS) is the agency in Alberta responsible for evaluating a teacher's years of education and experience to determine salary.

TQS application information and fees can be found here.

If you have questions about the salary grid, contact TQS staff at tqs@ata.ab.ca.

Where can I find out more about the other benefits I am entitled to?

Detailed information on the specific entitlements of your collective agreement (including assignable time maximums, employment insurance, group benefit plans and types of leave) can be found here.

If you have questions about salary or benefits, contact TES staff.

What are all these deductions that are coming off my pay every month?

In addition to employment insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, you’ll notice some other deductions coming off your pay every month. Most deductions are listed in your pay advice, so review it carefully. If you have questions, contact your school board’s human resources or payroll department.

Professional development

What’s a TPGP?

Every year, you must develop a teacher professional growth plan (TPGP) that maps out your PD goals for the year. These goals should be informed by a self-evaluation of your current teaching context and areas of potential growth related to the competencies listed in Alberta Education’s Teaching Quality Standard.

The ATA offers growth planning templates and an online self-evaluation tool.

If you have questions, contact PD staff.

What kind of PD opportunities exist for teachers?

The ATA offers a wide array of conferences, workshops and PD events.

As an ATA member, you can join one specialist council for free, attend your annual teachers’ convention, and participate in face-to-face and online PD workshops. Your school division might even have a mentorship program for new teachers.

For more information about the ATA’s PD programs and services, go here.

If you have questions, contact PD staff.

Does the ATA have any resources I can access to help inform my work?

Yes! The ATA develops and curates a range of resources to support your career-long learning.

Check out the print materials, web guides and interactive kits available through the ATA library.

Access resources developed through the ATA’s ongoing work in Indigenous education; inclusive education; and diversity, equity and human rights.

If you need help finding something specific, contact PD staff.

Scholarships, grants and awards

Funding access for PD

The ATA and the ATA Educational Trust offer a wide range of scholarships, grants and awards you can access for attending specialist council conferences, enrolling in postsecondary courses or graduate degrees, and more. Click here for a complete listing of these opportunities.

If you have questions, contact PD staff.

Professional conduct and competence

What’s the difference between conduct and competence?

Professional conduct describes your behaviour and actions—how you conduct yourself as a professional teacher. The Code of Professional Conduct lists the minimum expectations for teacher conduct.

Professional competence refers to the pedagogical knowledge, skills and attributes you possess as a professional teacher. Alberta Education’s Teaching Quality Standard lists the minimum expectations for teacher competence.

For more information, contact TES staff.

What happens if a teacher engages in unprofessional conduct?

Teachers who engage in unprofessional conduct not only damage their own professional reputation but also can erode public assurance in the teaching profession.

Any member of the public (including students, parents and other teachers) may file a complaint with the ATA if they believe that a teacher has acted in an unprofessional manner.

When a complaint is filed, the ATA’s executive secretary assigns an investigator to look into the matter. Based on this investigation, the executive secretary may order a number of actions, including requiring the investigated member to appear before a hearing of the Professional Conduct Committee.

More information about conduct complaints and the discipline process is available here.

If you have questions, contact TES staff.

Who can I talk to if I’m having trouble navigating a tricky relationship with a colleague, parent or student?

The ATA can provide advice, support and mediation services to help you manage difficult interpersonal relationships.

Don’t hesitate to contact TES staff for support.

What happens if a teacher fails to demonstrate professional competence?

Teachers must continue to demonstrate the competencies in the Teaching Quality Standard throughout their career.

The Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy explains the relationship between a teacher’s self-directed professional growth and the role of school leaders in supervising and evaluating teachers to ensure continued competence.

In the rare situation in which a teacher fails to demonstrate ongoing competence (despite the ongoing process of growth, supervision and evaluation), the teacher may be subject to an evaluation of their teaching or to a competence complaint.

Competence complaints are filed to the division superintendent, who, after an investigation, may request that the ATA’s executive secretary convene a hearing of a Professional Practice Review Committee to rule on the matter of the teacher’s competence.

More information about competence complaints and the practice review process is available here.

If you have questions, contact TES staff.

Who can I talk to if I need help finding PD opportunities or resources?

Don’t hesitate to contact PD staff if you need help finding or accessing PD supports.

Getting involved

How can I get more involved with the ATA?

There are many ways you can become more involved with the ATA and its various subgroups (locals, specialist councils, convention associations and bargaining units).

Participate in one of the ATA’s advocacy or political engagement campaigns.

Apply to sit on an ATA committee or volunteer to serve as a consultant or an instructor.

Or simply follow the ATA on social media.

No matter what your level of engagement, we’re glad to have your help!

How do I help elect the ATA’s leaders?

The ATA elects members of its Provincial Executive Council every two years.

More information about running for office, promoting candidates and voting is available here.

Contact

Professional Development

pd@ata.ab.ca

780-447-9400 (Edmonton area)

1-800-232-7208 (toll free in Alberta)

Contact

Teacher Employment Services

tes@ata.ab.ca

780-447-9400 (Edmonton area)

1-800-332-1280 (Calgary)

1-800-232-7208 (toll free in Alberta)

Contact

Teacher Qualifications Service

tqs@ata.ab.ca

780-447-9400 (Edmonton area)

1-800-232-7208 (toll free in Alberta)