Teacher workload squeezes learning



    TORONTO, March 11 /CNW/ - New research into what elementary teachers do
during a typical workweek sheds light on the many components of a teacher's
day, especially the teaching related work that takes place in addition to
classroom teaching. A study by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers'
Association (OECTA) shows that during a typical workweek, which now averages
55.7 hours, full time elementary teachers spend an average of 30.5 hours on
essential, out of class, teaching-related work.
    The research shows that elementary teachers feel that their workload does
not allow them to give individual students the time and attention that they
deserve. Almost 94 per cent of the elementary teachers surveyed reported
feeling 'stressed' by their growing workload. Seventy per cent say that
meeting the individual needs of an increasing number of special needs students
in their classes is contributing to their workload. They also report that
teaching split grades (59 per cent) and increases in curriculum-related
expectations (54 per cent) are significant contributing factors to their
increasing workload and stress levels.
    "Until workload is addressed and made more manageable, students will pay
a price for the fact that elementary teachers do not always have enough time
for each of them," says OECTA president Donna Marie Kennedy. "Teachers
struggle to find enough time for planning and teaching all of their students.
Unfortunately, without sacrificing their personal lives, their workload does
not allow the teachers to do an excellent job in a reasonable number of hours
each week."
    Researchers spoke to 1767 elementary teachers from across Ontario about
work-related activities at school and outside of school, on weekdays,
evenings, weekends and vacations.
    The research, conducted by James Matsui Research Inc. in October 2006,
shows that teachers spend much of their out of class time preparing lessons,
developing individual education plans for students with unique needs, marking,
preparing report cards, working with students out of class, volunteering for
extracurricular programs, meeting with parents, attending staff meetings and
collaborating with colleagues, supervising students and receiving professional
development.
    In response to an open-ended question about how to address the workload
issues, teachers suggest reducing class size, providing more support for
students with special needs, curtailing the rate of curriculum change and
reviewing the curriculum expectations.
    "Addressing teacher workload is an essential step toward improving
student achievement and OECTA members care deeply about helping students
achieve," says Donna Marie Kennedy.




For further information:

For further information: Contact: Donna Marie Kennedy, President OECTA,
(416) 925-2493 (work), (416) 662-5112 (cell)

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Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

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OECTA

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