First Nations Schools
Careers in BC’s First Nations Schools
With approximately 200 First Nations communities and 32 First Nations languages, BC represents a wealth of cultural diversity. First Nations in BC have worked together to develop their own unique schools and a collective education system to meet their children’s needs and prepare them for success within their own communities and within Canadian society.
The schools and communities vary significantly, but the First Nations Schools Association and its member schools are working toward the realization of their deep commitment to quality education, high levels of learning for all, and cooperative efforts with parents and the community to ensure that their students are provided with a strong foundation in academic skills and their self-confidence and identity as First Nations people.
Benefits of Teaching in First Nations Schools
First Nations schools offer professionally and personally rewarding experiences for teachers who want to make a difference while working in interesting, challenging environments. Some of the unique benefits experienced by teachers in First Nations schools are low student/teacher ratios, beautiful physical environments, flexible work situations, and opportunities to learn about First Nations cultures.
Teachers in First Nations schools often deliver a wider variety of curricula and make more significant programming decisions than those who work in other settings. First Nations schools attract teachers and educators who enjoy living and working in places that offer a strong sense of community and fulfilling opportunities to work especially closely with parents and Elders.
First Nations schools emphasize and promote conventional academics and language and culture learning opportunities, particularly striving to reflect the values and traditions of the communities they serve.
School Sizes & Locations
School sizes vary greatly, from less than 10 to nearly 300 students, between one and dozens of staff. Some First Nations schools are located in or near urban centres while others are very remote, some only accessible by floatplane.
Who Should Apply to Work in a First Nations School?
Teachers and educational professionals who enjoy a high degree of flexibility, close working relationships, and especially meaningful work will enjoy working in BC First Nations schools. This work is particularly well-suited for individuals who want to learn about different cultural perspectives and who appreciate peaceful rural settings and the range of recreational opportunities they offer. The school environments are often team-based, collegial and energetic.
first nations schools are grouped within an 8-region system
A non-profit society, the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA), uses an 8-region system to group First Nations schools into cultural/geographic regions:
- Nuu-chah-nulth/Coast Salish
- Gitksan/Wet’suwet’en Region Schools
- Kaska/Dene/Tahltan/Tagish/Inland Tlingit/Tsek’ene
Given the diversity of BC’s First Nations, these are groupings of convenience, and they are not intended to represent strict boundaries or traditional territories. The school principal, community education staff, school governing board members, and First Nations community members or parents may be included on the hiring team.