In solidarity with the Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) stands with the Indigenous peoples of Canada as their struggle for justice continues on a daily basis, and reaffirms its condemnation of racism, discrimination, intimidation, acts of violence and all forms of hatred. In response to the recent events in Nova Scotia, the CTF supports the Mi’kmaq people as they exercise their inherent treaty rights, as affirmed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to engage in a moderate livelihood in the lobster fishery. This right was established in 1760–61 through the Peace and Friendship Treaties and upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada through the Marshall decision in 1999.
In solidarity, we ask our members in Nova Scotia and everywhere to act in harmony with Indigenous peoples. In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we call for the inherent rights in Mi’kma’ki to be defended, the law to be maintained and an immediate resolution to the unjust conflict experienced by the Mi’kmaq people.
Shelley L. Morse, CTF president
Uganda’s teachers awarded the 2020 Norm Goble Award
For the second consecutive year, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) has received the Norm Goble World Teachers’ Day (WTD) Award.
Created in 2014, the award is offered annually to encourage the Canadian Teachers’ Federation’s overseas partners to carry out activities on World Teachers’ Day. This year, the award takes on a special significance in the context of the worldwide pandemic. Teachers courageously battle on the front lines to ensure students are able to continue learning in this new environment, while being safe.
The UNATU’s winning proposal was to involve the public in a series of tree-planting ceremonies, led by teachers and school communities. The rationale for this activity draws on both the symbolism of growth and the practical benefits of engaging school communities in contributing to the beautification of the school environment.
“Winning this award means we can help bring some hope into the lives of teachers, who tirelessly contribute to the well-being of their students. Learning does not start and end in the classroom,” said Filbert Baguma, general secretary of the UNATU.
A total of six CTF/FCE partner organizations applied and honourable mention prizes were offered to the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia and the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union.
The Norm Goble WTD Award is attributed to Dr. Norman Goble, who served as the CTF secretary general from 1970–1982, and as the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession secretary general from 1982–1988. Goble made many stellar contributions to education in Canada and throughout the world, and is credited for his work in the initiation of World Teachers’ Day (WTD).
CTF releases results of pandemic mental health study
In the early summer of 2020, the CTF conducted a cross-Canada survey measuring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on teachers. The survey mirrored a study done by the Alberta Teachers’ Association and was conducted in both official languages. Along with the results from the ATA study, a total of 17,422 completed responses were collected. This study focused on the survey questions specifically related to teachers’ and students’ mental health.
Here are a few of the key findings:
Depression, anxiety and stress
- 31 per cent of teachers “strongly agree” or “agree” that they feel depressed.
- 25 per cent of teachers reported difficulty getting sufficient sleep (quality and quantity) every night, including those who responded “never” (4 per cent) and “infrequently” (21 per cent).
- 36 per cent of teachers frequently set aside time throughout their day to be physically active. One-third said they “never” (6 per cent) or “infrequently” (27 per cent) set time aside.
Workload and personal responsibilities
- 41 per cent “strongly disagree” or “disagree” when asked if they are able to keep any work–life balance while caring for their own families and children.
- 74 per cent “strongly agree” or “agree” that they feel exhausted at the end of the day.
- 59 per cent “strongly agree” or “agree” that they feel fatigued when they get up in the morning and have to face another day of teaching students at a distance.
- 65 per cent of teachers “strongly agree” or “agree” that they feel isolated from schools and students.
- 75 per cent “strongly disagree” or “disagree” when asked if they feel the same emotional connection to their students as they did before the pandemic.
The study recommends providing immediate and ongoing mental health support to teachers, education workers and students. New mental health resources need to be developed that explicitly address the impacts of the pandemic. Finally, clear communication from administration, boards and ministries must occur, along with an adjustment of teacher workload expectations. ❚