The Nature of Teaching Duties (Part 2)—Duties in Classroom Instruction and the Role of Professional Time
Along with instructional time and assignable time, teachers have a professional responsibility for activities such as planning, preparation, marking and reporting.
A 2015 survey conducted by RA Malatest & Associates Ltd for the Ministry of Education examined teacher workload and found that an “average of approximately 80 minutes of additional activity accompanies each 60 minutes of instruction.”
Assignable time caps have existed for a long time and were added to all collective agreements in the first round of central bargaining in the 2012–16 round of bargaining. However, the professional time teachers spend to meet their practice obligations is unregulated. In general, professional timecan be defined as the time that is directed by teachers themselves.
• The when and the where determined by the teacher
• Time outside of the school day
• Time free from instruction
• Before and after school, unless assigned supervision or expected to be somewhere
• Weekends and holidays
Teachers have a duty to prepare adequately for daily teaching assignments and to plan each subject’s semester/year work to promote orderly development and progress. Planning units and creating instructional materials are professional time, because the teacher decides on the plan and materials for their students.
To conscientiously prepare lessons, the teacher must know exactly what is to be attempted from the beginning to the end of each lesson period. This is why planning is so time-consuming. As teachers should have a clear idea of how they and their students will accomplish the objectives, the teacher must make decisions about the method of presentation; proportions of teacher and student activity; student assignments, both in class and for homework; and other materials and instructional supports that will be used.
It would be absurd to attempt here to specify the length or nature of this preparation, since it will vary widely depending on the subject, the topic, and the experience and qualifications of the teacher. Additionally, no two teachers could, or should, present a lesson in exactly the same way. The methods by which a professional person practices are a matter for individual decision. It follows, then, that the amount of professional time allocated to preparation will also be individual to each teacher.
The methods by which a professional person practices are a matter for individual decision, so it follows that the amount of professional time allocated to preparation will also be individual to each teacher. #WEAREATA