Elementary Teachers of Toronto

Elementary Teachers of Toronto

September 16, 2010 19:00 ET

Survey Reveals Teachers Dissatisfied With School Board "Pep Rally"-Elementary Teachers of Toronto

Board Criticized for Wasting Teachers' Time and Money

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 16, 2010) -

ATTN: ASSIGNMENT EDITORS, EDUCATION REPORTERS 

Results of a membership survey following the Sept 1 Air Canada Centre rally sponsored by the Toronto District School Board, reveal that a strong majority (71%) of Toronto's Elementary Teachers were not satisfied that the event contributed to the professional development of TDSB teachers, and a similar percentage (73%) were not satisfied that the event was an appropriate use of Board Professional Advancement (PA) funds.

These results come from an online survey of 1,155 Toronto elementary teachers conducted from September 1st to 15th by opinion research firm Strategic Communications, Inc. (Stratcom).

The survey of elementary teachers explored satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the Professional Activity Day, the three-hour program, the role and remarks of TDSB Director Chris Spence, and the contribution of the Sept. 1 event to improving Board-teacher communication. "Before and after the rally Director Chris Spence has insisted that teachers were overwhelmingly supportive. The results of this survey tell a different story. Elementary teachers did not think this rally was a good use of their time or a good use of scarce Board funds," said Martin Long, President of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto. 

Survey highlights include:

  • 74% were not satisfied that the Sept 1 event program was designed to meet the professional development needs of elementary teachers 
  • 70% were not satisfied that the Sept 1 event will pay 'strong dividends' in Toronto's classrooms as Director Chris Spence has stated
  • An overwhelming majority (83%) was satisfied with the quality of musical and other performances in the three hour program 
  • 55% were satisfied with the Director's presentation to teachers and staff on Sept 1. However, 56% are not satisfied that the Director has a practical plan to provide teachers with the professional supports they need to pursue excellence in the classroom.
  • Almost two thirds (65%) were not satisfied that the Sept 1 rally would improve communication between elementary teachers and the TDSB Director and senior staff.
  • Almost two thirds (65%) are dissatisfied with the current level of input that elementary teachers have into decisions about the programs and activities in the schools where they work. 

Many teachers viewed the event, dubbed Believe It! Our Time is Now, as having little or no relevance for their day-to-day work. "The musical entertainment was terrific and it was easy for many of us to agree with a lot of what Chris Spence had to say. But frankly, it's naïve and patronizing to suggest that the professional challenges teachers are currently facing can be overcome with a pep rally, some uplifting slogans and a bit of swag" said Long. 

For classroom teachers working with very limited resources the cost of the event simply could not be justified. "Many teachers are struggling with shortages of the most basic classroom materials and supplies. From their perspective this kind of event was a real misuse of scarce Board funds."

Long noted that an ETT research report released earlier in 2010 documented issues of concern to teachers, pinpointing challenges and priorities in areas of school administration, curriculum, class size, workload and resources and facilities. The Voices from the Classroom report contained multiple recommendations for how the teaching and learning environment could be strengthened, including specific suggestions to increase the efficiency and responsiveness of school administration with the goal of building more cohesive school communities. 

"Classroom teachers have an acute understanding of precisely what it will take to achieve the standards of educational excellence they strive for every single day. That's why they find it so irritating to be subjected to a glossy and superficial team-building exercise which sidesteps all of the issues they regularly confront" said the ETT President. "If the Director is really serious about building a stronger education team in our schools and across Toronto then he should be using our recent report as his playbook."

Contact Information

  • For more information and additional survey results:
    Martin Long
    416-393-9930 or (mobile) 416-708-8317
    mlong@ett.on.ca