In TVO podcast “The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Austerity and Ontario's Teachers” (March 9, 2012), Professor Cameron Montgomery of The Faculty of Education at The University of Ottawa commented: “Teachers work hard for their money. I think there’s this misconception that teachers have this luxurious life and they get summers off. I’m sorry, it is one of the most stressful jobs out there…. My research is on stress…. Teaching is one of the top three stressful jobs. You have to be aware of that when we start making these policies that could definitely affect teacher stress levels and teacher burnout. Teachers have daily interactions with students [where] sometimes ½ to ¾ of the class has special needs…. 30 – 50% of new teachers quit in the first three to five years [of teaching].”

Posted: 5 years, 11 months ago by Chameleon #5
“30 – 50% of new teachers quit in the first three to five years [of teaching]” – this is truly sad! I do know vibrant, smart, creative, young teachers who have left the profession due to stress and work load issues, which is a tragic loss society must acknowledge and address. What these new teachers have told me is that they simply did not know that their teaching workload would take up so much of their personal time on evenings and much of their weekends. ‘Normal’ workweeks of 37.5 hrs/wk do not exist for teachers…any teachers.

AND I do strongly disagree with you Doretta Wilson (Society for Quality Education); this is not the way to weed out “teachers who should not be there” or “who have gone into teaching for the wrong reasons.” When you think about it, completing 5 years of university, accumulating a massive student debt, qualifying for an interview, jumping through all of the hoops in the interview process, starting a teaching career only to leave disheartened after several years is not only hugely tragic on a personal level, but this is also a great loss to our society. How can this be avoided?
Posted: 5 years, 11 months ago by YinYang #4
Teacher working conditions translate directly into student learning conditions. Prof. Cameron’s (U of Ottawa) statement about ‘special’ needs in classrooms is not well understood by most people who are not in education. The numbers of children with ADHD, autism, a wide variety of learning disorders (both identified and unidentified), psychological baggage and behavioural challenges in the regular classroom seems to have increased exponentially over the past decade. Many of these children have difficulty focusing and staying engaged for even short periods of time, which often results in disruptions to the flow of lessons. These disruptive behaviours have become the new ‘normal’ that teachers are faced with everyday. Almost all of these children are not within the one percentile cutoff for EA support, so delivery of the curriculum to all the students becomes a daily challenge to meet the expectations. As well, some classes in my school have upwards of twelve IEP’s, which teachers must prepare/write/implement in addition to their regular workload with no consideration whatsoever for this additional work and every little in-class EA support. I am curious about numbers of IEP’s in other classrooms and how teachers presently cope with these workload challenges. The Drummond recommendation of removing up to 70% of student support personnel and increasing class size is unbelievable. It is apparent that education is a business, not an investment.

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