Schoolteaching in Canada
Published: December 1991© 1991
190 Pages, 6.04 x 8.96 x 0.55 in
Virtually every Canadian has been influenced, for better or worse, by schoolteachers. Adults recall with clarity experiences with individual teachers; children are in contact with schoolteachers on a daily basis; parents know the importance of teachers in their children’s lives. Teachers are the key component in the hotly debated, heavily funded education systems across the country. Theirs is a profession at the centre of often contradictory interests: pedagogic, political, professional, and public.
Alexander Lockhart offers a survey of elementary and secondary schoolteachers and presents a profile of the profession as a whole. Among the topics he discusses are the characteristics of today’s teachers, the conditions in which they work, their professional associations, career patterns in teaching, the political environment, current pedagogy, and the public interest.
His findings reflect a profession in transition. In elementary schools two-thirds of teaching staff are women; in secondary schools two-thirds are men. Half of all Canada’s teachers are at mid-career, aged 35–49, and near the top of their salary levels. Teachers’ salaries have risen faster than the industrial composite in recent years, yet teachers are frustrated in their aspirations. As a group, Lockhart says, teachers have less autonomy than other professionals. Current policy directions and public attitudes aggravate this situation.
Lockhart warns that the teaching profession is moving into crisis. The implications are serious, for our children, and for the quality of life throughout Canada as we look toward the twenty-first century.