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    Motivating Teachers
    By Katy

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    Starley, I know those teachers too, and I know a lot of them didn't start out that way.

    The effect of overwork, underfunding, accountability, threat of liability, poor management, threatening parents, severe student behaviour/academic problems with shrinking support systems--with less time and less money to do it all--can get the better of anyone. These problems are real, and they are getting worse. Even one destructive child in a class of 30 can push you over. So can a personal crisis, such as marriage breakdown, ailing parents, troubled kids, etc. Teacher requests for our employee assistance program have risen sharply over the last few years, the most noticeable trend being stress management for the under 30's. Long term disabilities (many of them stress-related) are rampant.

    If school boards and government are truly trying to increase teacher effectiveness, and motivate employees, why can't they provide real support and opportunity instead of these expensive, head-line grabbing, but teacher demoralizing schemes. With my board in Ontario, professional ed is ALL at our own expense, and at our own time. (AQ courses demand 120 hours and $800+ tuition, each.) I suppose exceptions are made in different boards, if they were to allot some of their budget towards teacher ed, but it sure doesn't happen with mine.

    I need the professional freedom to determine what I need to learn and how best to use it. This bureaucratic make-work takes my precious planning and research time (and money) away from my students, who need it most.

    Kathy



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