Parents and students have a new local option when seeking assistance with schoolwork, counselling or career choices.

Local teacher Leeça St. Aubin has set up her new online service Teach For Hire, after opting to retire from full-time teaching of English and French classes at école secondaire catholique de Plantagenet. A literal bundle of exuberant energy, St. Aubin is taking her 27 years to the private sector and hopes being unchained from a set curriculum will allow her to better assist students, parents and other educators.

“Regular online classes for high school are just basically material that is sent out – it’s not synchronous learning,” St. Aubin observes. “Students read the assignments, they do the assignments and send them in.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down classes and forced the Ontario educational system to turn to online learning, the experienced teacher began to realize it might be time for her to step away from formal teaching and start her own business. But it was the announcement of a return to school in the fall – and the new masking regulations which went with it – which made up St. Aubin’s mind.

“I am a language teacher and I use my face to connect with my students – students need to see my smile,” St. Aubin emphasizes. “We use our faces to make that communication. It’s all non-verbal, but that’s what makes my classes go ‘tick’ – that’s the heartbeat!”

Teach For Hire offers tutoring in French and English, counselling and advice for young adults, and support for parents. St. Aubin also offers services for those who have completed their schooling, including acting as a mentor for teachers, young adult career coaching, and advice for artists and entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses.

Throughout her career, St. Aubin has coached thousands of teenagers in areas such as mental health challenges, career choices, and filling out applications for university and educational scholarships. The thing she will miss the most by far about working at a physical school is the close relationship she was able to develop with her students.

“I was truly sad,” says St. Aubin, who posted a video on her Facebook page to announce the news. “There was a moment where I got choked up, because as much as I want to stay positive – (long pause) – I just absolutely loved teaching.”

While on an online site with access to anywhere in the world, St. Aubin intends to focus on students, parents and teachers in the Eastern Ontario region she knows well.

“This is something I could do anywhere in the world, but I feel it’s important to be credible and continue to be active in this area,” says St. Aubin, who notes she can be available almost immediately to anyone who needs assistance. “It’s very accessible – they get a Zoom link and ‘boom’ I’m there.”

Anyone wishing further information on Teach For Hire can visit the company’s website or Facebook page. Information on how to contact Leeça St. Aubin by email or phone is available on both online sites.