On October 5, World Teachers’ Day, people in many countries gather to celebrate the enormous contribution of the world’s 55 million teachers to nurturing students, building communities, and creating a better future.
Declared by UNESCO and first commemorated in 1994, World Teachers’ Day is a national holiday in some African nations. Although education is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 72 million children around the world are still denied that fundamental right.
By contrast, British Columbians are fortunate to benefit from one of the world’s finest, most inclusive public education systems, with some of the most highly qualified teachers anywhere.
“Despite our many challenges and the numerous aspects we would still like to see improved, the fact remains that our public school system is the envy of the world,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert. “Of course, the quality and commitment of the teachers in our system are central to that achievement.”
Recent research by the BCTF into the working lives of BC teachers shows them to be highly trained, hardworking, and committed to ongoing professional development.
All BC teachers have a minimum of five years’ post-secondary education, but the survey found that more than half have undertaken significant additional professional training beyond that. One-quarter of BC teachers have completed their Masters degrees, and one percent have earned PhDs.
The comprehensive survey, with returns from more than 560 teachers across the province, also found that BC teachers are devoting long hours to their professional duties. On average, full-time teachers worked 47.8 hours per week. Almost one-quarter of teachers work between 50 and 59 hours per week, and almost 10% work 60 or more hours per week.
“These research findings reflect the deep commitment of BC’s teachers to doing their very best to meet the individual needs of all students,” Lambert said. “We really mean it when we say kids matter, and teachers care.”