Week 9- The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation

This week we explored the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation website and the numerous benefits and opportunities they provide to teachers, both within the classroom and outside.

3 Things I Learned

The first major thing I learned was that the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation offers many international opportunities for their teachers. Some current opportunities available are Project Overseas and a Professional Development Program in India. Project Overseas is a volunteer experience seeking primary and secondary teachers who are interested in teaching in countries throughout Africa and the Caribbean. The Professional Development Program in India is an opportunity for teachers to develop a Professional Development Program for the primary teachers of India. These opportunities allow teachers to learn about other cultures, explore new places, all while developing your teaching skills.

The second major thing I learned was that the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation provides multiple professional resources for their teachers. A great example of this is the Stewart Resources Centre. This is an online library that carries a collection of over 28,000 books and audio visual resources, 125 print and e-journals and newspapers, and a selection of teacher-prepared units. As a future educator this is a great resource to develop deeper subject knowledge. Teachers must be lifelong learners and the Stewart Resources Centre provides teachers with this opportunity while also making it easily accessible.

Finally, I learned that the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation offers various mental health supports to their teachers, such as confidential counseling services and certified psychologists to talk to. It is critical that we improve the mental health of our teachers.  This in turn will benefit the students in the classroom. Statistics from 2015 show that 67% of teachers state that their job had adversely impacted their mental health. It is encouraging to know that the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is concerned with this high number and want the best for the teachers in our province.

2 Connections I Made

Nobody goes into teaching for the money. It is a well held belief that teachers are grossly underpaid. Although this may be true, it is important to note that this does not mean we will be poor and “suffering”. When looking at the salary grid for teachers, after ten years of teaching and receiving further education and credits, teachers can make approximately $100,000. This is a great salary! Of course, there could be improvements to the salary teachers are receiving but the current amount being paid is not one that we should scoff at. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015 the median income for an individual was $33, 920, and the median total income for families was $70,336. Seeing these figures, it is difficult to consider teachers underpaid. It is more likely, that they are undervalued.

The second connection I had, also had to do with the Step and Class part of the salary grid. I am completing both my Bachelor of Education-Secondary Science and my Bachelor of Science-Biology. I have heard from countless individuals that you should not complete your second degree until you get a permanent full time position within a school, as they do not want to pay more money than they have to. It was comforting to hear that although that is sometimes the case, most schools would rather have the best teachers possible for their students. If you are bringing “something to the table” that other candidates are not, you will have greater success. Money is not the only factor.

1 Question I Have

After the discussion I was curious about some of the other benefits. One in particular that will eventually apply to me concerns maternity/paternity leave.  According to Saskatchewan Employment Standards, a birth parent is entitled to 18 weeks of maternity leave and 34 weeks parental leave. The question I have is, what affect this will have on determining the “number of years teaching” as it will apply to the salary grid? Will I be penalized for taking the year off to care for my child or will the year away still be recorded as a “teaching year”? The answer to this will affect where a teacher finds themselves on the salary grid.

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