This yearâ€™s World Teachersâ€™ Day theme â€œProfessional Development to meet the needs of a changing worldâ€ resonates well with classroom teachers across Canada. According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the Canadian Teachersâ€™ Federation (CTF), the majority of teachers engage in professional development (PD) workshops, seminars and conferences to enhance and support student learning.
â€œOver 93% of the 1,103 teachers surveyed said they took part in professional development activities in 2004-2005,â€ says CTF President Winston Carter, indicating that participation in PD activities remains constant from coast to coast to coast: 94 % in the Atlantic region, 93 % in the Western provinces, and 92 % in Central Canada and the territories.
â€œThis is extremely positive,â€ says Carter. â€œA further indication of teachersâ€™ commitment to life-long learning is that in addition to the PD costs covered by school boards and ministries of Education, teachers collectively spend an estimated $100 million out of their own pockets â€“ approximately $683 per teacher â€“ on PD activities. This amount is not reimbursed by their respective school board or ministry of Education nor is it tax deductible.
â€œHere is yet another example of in-kind contributions made by teachers,â€ explains Carter referring to the over $90 million spent by teachers of their own funds to purchase school materials and other items for their students.
â€œTeachers are totally dedicated to meeting the needs of a changing society as well as the diverse needs of their students. They firmly believe in the continual renewal of knowledge and expertise through a diversity of approaches, processes and technologies, which is key to building effective learning communities,â€ explains Carter. â€œHowever, teachers need the support of their employing school boards and provincial/territorial and federal governments â€“ both financially and professionally,â€ he concludes.