Case study – Taking the leap

Taking a leap

The professional life of a teacher is a path strewn with obstacles where decisions of all kindabound. One of them concerns professional development and change of vocation. In this case study, Rémi, a young teacher in a secondary school located in a mining community, is called upon to replace the assistant director of his establishmentVery hesitant about the decision to make, Rémi asks for advice.

The case

Rémi is a young physical education teacher who has been working for 3 years at the Copper Secondary School, an establishment deserted by an increasing number of teachers who prefer a more lucrative career in the mines of the region. Interested in integrating succession bank for management positions, Rémi has however indicated that it would undertake the formation necessary the following year due to the birth of his twins. However, the human resources department of the school board asks Rémi to replace the current deputy director out on sick leave for four monthsRémi is hesitant : he doesn’t meet some of the eligibility conditions for the management position ; the idea of ​​becoming the superior of his colleagues worries him ; and feelings of incompetence related to the position of deputy director and in human resources management delays his decision. 

The analysis

To better understand the situation in which Rémi finds himself, it is essential to analyze the causes and consequences of the different dimensions of his problem, namely : the characteristics of the internal and external environment of the school ; the evolution over time of Rémi’s professional growth ; and the legal framework that provides context for this particular situation.

Characteristics of the internal and external environment

The external environment of the copper secondary school has a direct impact on the issues that drive the educational establishment. The main characteristic of this environment is the dominant presence of the mining industry in the region. Many teachers are leaving their jobs to take up better-paying jobs in the mine, creating an ever-increasing demand for qualified teachers in the local school system. In addition, the number of master training registrations has decreased due to the mine’s aggressive recruitment strategies.

In addition, the internal environment of the school is characterized by the aging of the school’s administrative class and by a shortage of candidates for leadership positions. Indeed, few teachers are interested in occupying a managerial position because of the small salary difference between administrative and teaching positions. Finally, the training conditions necessary for eligibility for a management position put off several teachers.

Evolution in time

Rémi’s professional development plan can be considered over time. In order to better understand the causes and consequences of his action, let us enter a chronological approach to his career as a teacher and aspiring assistant director : 1) Rémi comes out of university ; 2) he joined the Copper School as a physical education teacher ; 3 ) three years later, the school board suggested that he join the admin ressource bank ; 4) a little later, the Human Resources Department offered to replace the assistant director on sick leave for 4 months – Rémi hesitated to give his decision and took advice.

Let us continue this chronological approach hypothetically. What would happen if Rémi accepted the replacement offer ? First, he will have it occupy the post of deputy director without meeting the eligibility requirements for a management position. Remi was very clear on this subject : he can not initiate the formation necessary due to the birth of his children. Secondly, once the four months of replacement have passed, no guarantee has been offered to Rémi by the Human Resources Service regarding his professional future. Should he return to his teaching position empty-handed? The evolution of the availability of management positions in the particular context of the Copper School leads us to believe that there will be other professional opportunities available to Rémi in the near future, but for the moment it is up to us impossible to know when.

Legal and regulatory framework

According to the document, “Deputy Director of School – Qualifications”, Rémi is missing  two essential qualifications to legally hold the position of deputy director. First, he did not have the five years of experience required in a teaching job (Rémi only taught three years), and then he did not complete the university program of 2 th prescribed cycle for managerial employment. Despite Rémi having expressed his intention to undertake this training later, these two elements play against his application file for the position of assistant director. One can legitimately wonder if Rémi is the best candidate for this position.


Our advice to Rémi would be a tough one: Refuse the offer for now and register for the formation in school administration while remaining a physical education teacher. 

In this optionRémi chooses the future : he chooses short- and medium-term solution, but takes the means to promote a transition in the long-term. By registering for training in school administration, he confirms this choice to become a member of management. In addition, by deciding to return to education for a period of one or two years, he gives himself the opportunity to let his twins grow, thus aligning with the objective of balancing private and professional life, but also reaching five years of experience as a teacher, essential if the to be eligible for a management position.

The advantages of this option are to give Rémi time to acquire the knowledge he needs to access the position of director, to prepare emotionally for the modification of his relationships with his colleagues, to gain confidence in the qualities necessary for his professional growth. The drawbackare the waiting time before the completion of the project to become a member of management and labor occasioned intense combination of study and employment.

By giving Rémi more time to prepare for this professional transition, this option also allows him to strengthen his confidence in his potential as a leader and to be better prepared to face the challenges that this new position will pose. Essential element of private and professional life, self-esteem positive is undoubtedly a goal it is crucial to realize to live a balanced life th at work and at home.

Then this option will allow Remi to normalize relations with colleagues in giving them time to get used to his new director aspirant condition. The bonds of friendship or collegiality between colleagues are difficult to codify, but access to a hierarchically superior position will necessarily lead to a change in the relationships that Rémi maintains with the other teachers in his school. 

The objective of completing training in school administration is central to the project that Rémi intends to accomplish. An essential condition for eligibility for the position of assistant director, the training will also give Rémi the time and opportunity to familiarize himself with the requirements of this administrative position, while giving him the confidence to fulfill these requirements. Despite the difficulty of combining work and study for a fairly long period of time, the completion of the training will allow Rémi to join the respite bank and establish his credibility as a serious candidate for a management position at long term.

Finally, this option is undoubtedly the one that most fully meets the objective concerning the balance between private and professional life. Because each human must be considered as a whole, it is impossible to separate these two elements : the impact of professional engagement is felt at home and vice versa. The birth of Rémi’s two twins delays his rise to a management position, but does not prevent him from continuing his journey later. On the contrary, the arrival of his children allows him to take a healthy distance from his own processes and motivations, to accumulate the years of experience necessary for eligibility for a position of assistant director and to train for a position. administrative.


Going from one job to another is not easy. Transitioning from a teaching position to an administrative position in the same school is no more difficult. Former colleagues no longer greet us in the same way ; balancing work and family life is more difficult to achieve ; new challenges present themselves to us which undermine our confidence in our own strengths. In our study, we advised Rémi to refuse the offer made to him, while confirming his interest in the changing of bank his school board and sign up for training in educational administration, remaining a physical education teacher in his school. This case analysis allowed us to better understand the external and internal context that makes up the school environment, as well as the personal, professional and legal difficulties that can hinder the transition from one position to another. On a more personal note, this analysis allowed me to ask the following questions : Am I eligible to access a management position ? Am I ready to take on such a role ? Will my family life suffer from this decision ? How will this new professional status affect my relationships with my colleagues ? The questions to these answers constitute the first step towards a better acceptance of the coming change.

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