Canadian Teachers Face Longer Hours

According to the most recent national teacher survey, in comparison to four years ago, Canadian teachers are working longer hours and the conditions under which they work are making it increasingly difficult to maintain quality learning environments for students.

Terry Price, President of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), released the preliminary findings of the survey in her opening remarks at the federation’s Annual General Meeting currently being held in Saskatoon at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel.

“Teachers’ working conditions are our children’s learning conditions. Research shows that one of the key elements affecting student achievement is the conditions under which learning occurs and teachers teach. For example, conditions include class size and composition as well as time for preparation and marking.

“Teachers are telling us that — compared to four years ago — they are working longer hours and their workload is significantly greater. They report growing class sizes and at the same time larger numbers of special needs students are being integrated into their classrooms.

“These factors all play out on our children’s learning conditions, states Ms. Price.

“If we are to retain and recruit qualified teachers, we must address these issues,” she explains. “Teachers need resources and support to serve all students well. Without comprehensive and sustained efforts to improve teacher working conditions, many of our efforts to help children reach their full potential will go unfulfilled,” concludes the president.

Survey highlights:

*The 2005 survey indicates that 83 per cent of Canadian teachers reported that they had a higher workload than four years ago. In 2001, 63 per cent of teachers reported an increase in their workload compared to the two years prior;

*Teachers report in 2005 that they work an average of 55.6 hours a week including assigned classroom instruction, course preparation, grading and reporting, individual help to students, meetings, parent interviews and supervision of students. In the 2001 survey, teachers reported an average work week of 51.8 hours;

*51 per cent of teachers say their class sizes have grown over the last two years, with only 1 in 10 teachers reporting smaller class sizes;

*74 per cent of teachers surveyed report an increase in the number of integrated, exceptional students in their class in the past two years.

The survey involved 1,103 teachers in every province and territory and was conducted by Vector Research + Development Inc. in May 2005. In sampling theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results based on a random sample of 1,103 from a population of 213,000 will differ by no more than + 2.9 percentage points.