“Introducing merit-based pay for extra hours and exceptional work, as well as allowing teachers more flexibility and creativity within the curriculum, and cutting back on work that is not teaching-related would do much to reduce teacher burnout, says Bradley.”
Overwhelmed Canadian Teachers Quitting in Droves
By Justina Reichel
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 19, 2013
Last Updated: February 20, 2013
Put this way, pay for extra curricular hours of additional supervision makes sense. My district provides that, though the return is inconsequential. I supervise 18 hours of lunch, covering six classrooms, about 150 students, and earn a day off… Which I have to prepare for. Most people think of merit pay as measured by test score results. I cannot accept that. Too many factors outside of a classroom teacher’s control affect progress. How about a bonus above grid for each designated student in a teacher’s classroom?
I am working through my 31st year in Saskatchewan school systems (It’s all about pension contributions.). Of course, I have taught longer. I stood before my first classroom the Fall of 1980 in Kagoro, Kaduna State, Nigeria. I think I will superannuate June 2019 (four more years). There are already moments, mornings, days when I could just leave. I have felt all of the concerns expressed in this article.
I left at 55, with 32 years of teaching high school, the last 6 with horrific, inhumane workloads.
— Former teacher Debra Barry
In response to a recent Montreal Gazette article on teacher workload and high resignation rates, former teacher Debra Barry noted in a letter to the editor that it is not just new, young teachers who are quitting.
“I left at 55, with 32 years of teaching high school, the last 6 with horrific, inhumane workloads. I taught 14 groups of students, 400 teenagers, twice a week in what felt like a factory assembly line. As a teacher who ran multiple student activities and sports teams over the years, I was exhausted. The success of my students sat squarely on my shoulders with little or no support from a board obsessed with the budget over students’ needs, and an administration with so much paperwork they never came out of their offices.
“Many of my colleagues are leaving for the same reasons, most before full pension. I am so glad I got out, but my daughter, after three years of teaching, is exhausted by her workload of four different elementary school levels, many special-needs children not properly supported, and hours of unpaid and unrecognized preparation time.”
Like Debra Barry, I have a son in his first decade of teaching. I am ambivalent about that. When you know something institutional, like public education, intimately, it can sometimes seem like a crock of shit. Politics, religion, parenting, all economic endeavour can be viewed with frustration.
I have not always been a good teacher. Moments, hours, days, probably years found me not at my best. I am trying to be as self aware as I can these final years. Take a moment to watch A Scene From The Browning Version (1951) – The Crock Apologizes. This is from an old movie, and older play, that had quite an impact on me as a young teacher. I have composed my own speech just like it many times. I really don’t want to need to give it.
Everyone involved in public education has competing interests and mistaken beliefs. That is why it will inevitably seem like a mess to us. I think I can handle that for several more years. Cynicism and discouragement have not overwhelmed me yet. It helps that I have finally learned not to sweat the small stuff and as they saying goes, remember, the vast majority of it is small stuff.