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One of the school administration’s first activities in September is to post a sign-up list of clubs, committees, sports activities, etc. Elementary teachers often feel obligated to sign-up for these activities. Most of these activities are voluntary. Teachers are not required to do them.
Requirements of the Education Act
The Education Act details the duties of a teacher. This list does not include participation in extra-curricular activities, such as coaching basketball or fundraising.
Because the Act sets out the core legal requirements of the role of a teacher, ETFO advises our members that these activities should be the focus of their work. Teachers have a defined job, and the demands of that job continue to increase.
Teachers are workers who have lives of their own. Electing to undertake voluntary activities can result in less focus on a teacher’s core classroom responsibilities, or on their personal lives. This can be the cause of considerable stress.
Extra Curricular Activities are Voluntary
ETFO has made recognizing that such activities are voluntary an important bargaining priority. Most of our teacher collective agreements contain language supporting this fact.
As a union, ETFO has worked to ensure that collective agreements enshrine limits on the length of the instructional day, instructional week, and the school year. ETFO recognizes that, without these limits, employers could extend the job well beyond what is reasonable.
ETFO also recognizes that, while voluntary extra curricular activities benefit students, many members find it a challenge to cope with the ever-increasing demands of the job.
ETFO advises members to make decisions about participating in extra curricular activities based upon their individual professional and personal situations. Members who feel pressured to volunteer for extra-curricular activities are advised to contact their local president or to call the ETFO provincial office at 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836