Canadian Teachers Collectively Spend Millions of Their Own Money on Professional Development Activities

This year’s World Teachers’ Day theme “Professional Development to meet the needs of a changing world” resonates well with classroom teachers across Canada. According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), the majority of teachers engage in professional development (PD) workshops, seminars and conferences to enhance and support student learning.

“Over 93% of the 1,103 teachers surveyed said they took part in professional development activities in 2004-2005,” 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.

“This is extremely positive,” says Carter. “A further indication of teachers’ 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 – approximately $683 per teacher – on PD activities. This amount is not reimbursed by their respective school board or ministry of Education nor is it tax deductible.

“Here is yet another example of in-kind contributions made by teachers,” 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.

“Teachers 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,” explains Carter. “However, teachers need the support of their employing school boards and provincial/territorial and federal governments – both financially and professionally,” he concludes.