Teachers On Call: Frustrated and Discouraged

A survey of Teachers Teaching on Call (TTOC) was conducted earlier this year by the British Columbia Teachers Federation.

Here are the results in a nutshell:

  • 45% had to supplement their income with non-teaching work.
  • the largest proportion of TTOC’s are between 25 and 34 years old with 80.5% of them being female
  • 44.6% work less than 70 days a year; only8.4% were able to work 111-130 days
  • only 28.15% were working for 4 consecutive full-day assignments (TTOC’s accure seniority on the 4th day)
  • 78.5% earned under $30,000/year
  • The survey also allowed respondents to add a personal comment. Here is a summary of some of the comments received:
  • the job is highly stressful as I do not know until early in the morning if I am going to work that particular day…and I do not know when there will be work…
  • there is a lack of Pro-D funds which makes my ability to pursue professional development very difficult…
  • the callout system makes the job competitive so newer TTOC’s feel like they must ‘promote’ themselves rather than acting as a professional
  • the callout list seems preferential rather than rotational…
  • my hours worked do not  contribute toward internal seniority, which could eventually lead to being hired in the district
  • retired teachers who return as TTOC’s are put on the same list as the regular TTOC’s  and these retired teachers appear to be requested by their still employed teacher friends over the regular TTOC’s
  • I am disheartened by the lack of days I am called…I am forced to work 2 other jobs to make ends meet…TTOC’s often live below the poverty line and struggle to survive…I feel I am not protected within my profession
  • It is common for me to wake up early not knowing if I will work that day…I become nervous and anxious not knowing when I will work again…it is very hard to set a budget when I do not know how much I will make in a month
  • most TTOC’s do not receive medical or dental benefits…how can I continue to be a healthy teacher and role model for my students if I am not supported by my employer?
  • life as a TTOC can be very isolated…I find it difficult to build camaraderie with the staffs. Many staff members ignore me and I have no one to socialize or collaborate with.

It is imperative that districts and provincial associations work to secure contract language that ensures seniority-based TTOC callout and eliminates preferential callout practices.

Contract teachers should support their TTOC’s. colleagues and not put themselves in the position of ‘evaluating’ TTOC’s by subscribing to preferential callout.

In addition contract teachers should ensure that TTOC’s are welcomed  by including them in recess and lunch conversations, making sure they receive the regularly scheduled prep of the contract teacher and ensure in general that their rights under the Collective Agreement are protected.

Are you a TTOC? Do your feelings about TTOCing correspond to the BC survey? Please let our members know.

Are you a contract teacher? The survey indicates that some contract teachers do not make the necessary effort to welcome TTOC’s. How do you respond to this? How do you, your school, your district support TTOC’s? Please provide our members with any comments you may have.