Workshop Choices

14 Jul

TOCs always seem to have a hard time finding pro-d. Schools usually do their own thing so it’s up to TOCs to track down a workshop that suits their needs. For the pro-d day  on  Monday, September 24th the Pro-D Committee will book one or two BCTF workshops.

Below is a list of workshops the BCTF offers. Please pass on your preference of workshop or event just the type of workshop you’d like to see by either leaving a comment or sending an email to

Teachers teaching on call (TTOCs) workshops

1. Work-Life balance:  This workshop  offers strategies for maintaining work-life balance in a particularly stressful role.

2. Personal well-being: This workshop focuses on nutrition, exercise, and sleep as foundations of a healthy life.

3. Dealing with anger—How do we develop positive strategies to effectively respond to anger?

4. Raising health and safety awareness

5. Reality 101: Life teaching on call. This workshop is designed to support teachers teaching on call with current teaching practices and resources, and to enhance their confidence.

6. Understanding the professional relationship: Boundary issues—staying safe in your role as a TTOC

Aboriginal education workshops

1. Aboriginal history, culture, and the United Nations: An overview of Aboriginal people in BC.

2. Beyond words: Creating racism-free schools for Aboriginal learners

3. Inclusive schools and teaching practices for Aboriginal students

4. Indigenous perspectives (The impacts of colonization on Aboriginal/Indigenous education.)

5. Working with Aboriginal youth

Classroom issues workshops

1. Assessment for learning: Clarify the differences between formative assessment for learning and summative assessment of learning.

2.Boundaries issues: Understanding the professional relationship between teachers and students

3. Social networking and new technologies: Being a professional online

4. Understanding and dealing with difficult student behaviour

Social justice and global education workshops

1. Assertive communication

2. Bafa Bafa (secondary)/Rafa Rafa (elementary) A Cross-cultural simulation gameParticipants experience what it is like to live and cope in another culture.

3. Breaking the silence: Talking about (LGBTQ) issues in schools

4. Bringing global education into the classroom

5. Choosing your issues and planning your action. Participants will learn how to take an issue and plan a course of action using strategic and analytic tools.

6. From silence to action: Supporting LGBTQ secondary students and staff

7. Global education: Creating cultures of peace

8. Global education: For a sustainable future

9. Linking thinking: Integrating environmental education into all classrooms

10. Resisting normalized sexual violence against youth

11. Responding to racism: This is a skills-based workshop on effectively responding to discriminatory remarks and incidents of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

12. Social justice in every classroom.

13. Socializing justice: Taking action against racism

14. Strategies for discussing controversial issues. Suitable for teachers of Grades 5–12.

15. Teachers can make a difference for children living in poverty

16. Poverty as a classroom issue

17. “That’s so gay” is not okay! Learn effective strategies to counteract homophobic slurs in schools.

18. Thirsty for change: The global water crisis

Pick a card, any card

11 Jun

As we have preferential call out in Surrey (aka “requests”) TOCs often get business cards made up. When I started on call in February of 2009 I promptly ordered 200 full colour cards from Staples. I’ve given out less than half. I only leave cards for teachers who I’ve worked for, as I feel the random scattering of cards around staff rooms to be totally ineffective.

I wonder, has any Surrey TOC received a request because someone found the image of their smiling face pinned on a bulletin board? I seriously doubt it.

I have a request of my own. Please do not pin your card on the STA TTOC bulletin board. This board is provided by the union so that teachers on call can find out pertinent information. Staff Reps are instructed to post TOC newsletters, event posters and Pro-D funding forms on this board.

Often when I go to write my blog address or TOC Rep email address on the board it is covered in outdated information and piles of business cards. I’ll be asking Staff Reps to clear off their boards at the end of the year. Please help me help you by allowing the board to serve its true purpose, which is to provide information about life on call.

Leaves of Absence

27 May

Teachers on call are often frustrated that they cannot access the same benefits as contract teachers. Not only do TOCs missout on employer paid medical and dental benefits, we can’t access  the various paid leaves that contract teachers can.

The good news is, one day you will have a contract and the benefits that come with it. Here is a summary* of only some of the paid leaves contract teachers in Surrey can access:

* this is an edited summary. To see the specific language read our collective agreement at


A. Bereavement And Funeral- no loss of pay to attend the funeral of a spouse, child, sibling, parent or legal guardian, spouse’s parent or sibling, grandparent, or grandchild. Between 3 and 5 days of paid leave can be taken depending on how far you have to travel for the funeral.

B. Personal Discretionary: Up to five days per school year, without pay, for personal matters.

C. Family:  One day’s paid leave to assist or provide support to a parent, spouse or child as a result of an accident or medical problem. One day of leave as a result of an employee’s unexpected home displacement (e.g., fire).

D. Marital: One day’s leave will be granted without pay to enable an employee to attend the employee’s own marriage ceremony.

E. Pregnancy / Parental: Employees shall be granted, upon request, a parental leave of absence as provided for in the Employment Standards Act. An employee returning from pregnancy / parental leave will be reassigned to the same position held prior to the leave.

Pay during Maternity Leave

For the first two weeks of Mat leave a contract teacher gets 95% of her salary. For the 15 weeks following that,  she gets 70% of her salary. After those 17 weeks the teacher is paid by E.I. benefits. The monthly pay for a teacher on EI is approximately  $1800.

F. Paternity: One day paid leave and one day unpaid leave will be granted to permit an employee to attend the birth of a child and/or to bring the new-born child home from hospital.

G: Adoption: One day paid leave and one day unpaid leave.

H. Parenthood: A leave of absence without pay for up to one school year to enable the employee to spend full-time with the employee’s natural or adopted children.

J. Religious: Up to three days leave at cost of subsitute to participate in specific religious holidays.

K. Transportation Failure: Where an employee is unable to report for duty because of a breakdown in public transportation services normally used by the employee or because of closure of public services (e.g., roads), leave will be granted with no loss of pay for up to a full day’s absence.

Specialist Associations

21 May

Every teacher needs a PSA! Provincial Specialist Associations are a great way of connecting with colleagues who work in the same area as you. PSAs offer year round support in the form of newsletters, workshops and website. The Pro-D day in October is called PSA day because many PSAs offer workshops that day. The cost of these workshops and PSA membership can be covered by your $150 in Pro-D funds.

Here is a list of the PSAs you can join:

Name Description
ABCDE Association of BC Drama Educators
AEA Aboriginal Education Association (formerly known as First Nations Education Association FNEA)
AEGTCCBC Association for Educators of Gifted, Talented and Creative Children in BC
AEPSA Adult Educators’ Provincial Specialist Association
APPIPC Association Provinciale des Professeurs d’Immersion et du Programme Francophone
BCAEA BC Alternate Education Association
BCAMT BC Association of Mathematics Teachers
BCATA BC Art Teachers’ Association
BCATML BC Association of Teachers of Modern Languages
BCBEA BC Business Education Association
BCCASA BC Culinary Arts Specialist Association
BCCLA BC Co-operative Learning Association
BCDEA BC Dance Educators’ Association
BCEDL BC Educators For Distributed Learning: Hospital/Homebound & Distance Education Teachers
BCMEA BC Music Educators’ Association
BCPTA BC Primary Teachers’ Association
BCRSSTA BC Rural & Small Schools Teachers’ Association
BCSCA BC School Counsellors’ Association
BCScTA BC Science Teachers’ Association
BCSSTA BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association
BCTEA BC Technology Education Association
BCTELA BC Teachers of English Language Arts
BCTLA BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association
CUEBC Computer-Using Educators of BC
EEPSA Environmental Educators’ Provincial Specialist Association
ESLPSA English as a Second Language Provincial Specialist Association
LATA Learning Assistance Teachers’ Association
PAGE B.C. Teachers for Peace and Global Education
PEBC Physical Education Teachers of BC
PITA Provincial Intermediate Teachers’ Association
SEA Special Education Association
THESA Teachers of Home Economics Specialist Association

May 28

21 May

Monday, May 28 is a non-instructional day in Surrey. It is not a typical Pro-D day, because it is the one non-instructional day where Principals can direct the work of teachers. Contract teachers are expected to attend meetings organised by the Admin at their school that day. There are no workshops for TOCs available.

Rounds 1, 2, and 3

10 May

The school district has three rounds of hiring during the school year. Rounds 1 and 2 are only open to contract teachers. TOCs cannot even view the Rounds 1 and 2 postings, as they are on a part of the Employee Self Service website we don’t have access to.

The only round TOCs are eligible for is Round 3. More info on that at the bottom.

Timeline for Round 1 (April)

The Round 1 Catalogue is available to contract teachers online for a period of one week in mid April. Positions are awarded within 2 weeks. These assignments are continuing, which means if you get a job in Round 1 you essentially “own” that classroom. You need enough seniority, the right qualifications and a successful interview to win a job in Round 1. By Mid May the school district posts the Closed Report for Round 1 so teachers can see who was awarded which position. If a teacher notices that someone with less seniority or qualifications won a position over them, they can contact the STA to investigate why the position went to the person it did.

Round 2 (end of May)

Round 2 jobs are the vacancies left by teachers who are moving schools because they earned a different position in Round 1. Not all Round 2 jobs are continuing assignments. Positions are awarded in the first week of June, and the closed report is published in the third week of June.

Round 3 (August-June)

Round 3 includes the Special Bulletins and Regular Staff Bulletins which are posted Thursday mornings on the school district website. TOCs typically have until Monday at 4:00 to drop off a paper copy of the resume with cover letter and letters of reference directly to the school Principal. The posting will specify the deadline and interviews cannot occur before the posting closes. Round 3 jobs may be long enough (72+ days) to earn the successful TOC applicant a continuing contract. However, some positions are just 6 week assignments.

Round 3 doesn’t happen until all the laid off teachers and teachers coming back from leaves are recalled into positions. In August you will see Round 3 postings on the SD website. All though not every teacher had been recalled at that point, they were jobs with specific qualifications or odd time tables (lots of half days) that didn’t suit any of the laid off teachers who are owed jobs.

Round 3 also includes the recall of laid off teachers. Several hundred contract teachers with the lowest seniority dates in Surrey are laid off each year. They are then ineligible to apply in Rounds 1 and 2. Laid off teachers must wait to be recalled into a position, which usually occurs from the end of June to the end of September.

TOC Seniority

8 May

Human Resources publishes a record of all teacher’s seniority every June and December. Printed copies are sent to all school sites as well as the STA office. Contract teachers are in one book and TOCs are in another. The TOC record of seniority for 2012 list 430 full time TOCs in Surrey. There are several hundred more of TOCs who also have part time positions and are in the book for contract teachers.

TOCs accumulate a day of seniority only for days worked on scale. Once you get a contract all your “on scale” TOC days are added up and your seniority date is assigned. For example, I was hired as a TOC in Feb ’09, got my .5 contract on September 7 this year and my assigned seniority date is October 7, 2009.

Your seniority date is not the same as your pay scale level. I am on year 2 of the pay scale even though I was hired over 3 years ago. This is because only my on scale days counted towards the back dating of my seniority date.

Once you get 189 days on scale you move up to the next experience level on the pay scale. Your pay increase however, is only updated in September and January. So, if you accumulate 189 days in October, you’ll have to wait until January to see the pay increase.

You can find the pay scale on pg. 202 of the PDF at this link:   Where it says “TOC 1/189 Rates July 1, 2010,” that is our current on scale rate.

Some stats on Surrey TOCs:

There are 7 TOCs who have more than 1000 on scale days. This is approx 0.16% of Surrey TOCs

There are 82 TOCs who have more than 500 on scale days. This is approx 19%

There are 285 TOCs who have more than 250 on scale days. This is approx 66%

Spring Break

24 Apr

How do you feel about the 2 week spring break? The union has some ability to negotiate working hours with the district. For the last few years Surrey has had a 2 week spring break, and it’s time again to decide what to do next year. I am personally strongly against the 2 week spring break and here is why:

– The 8 minutes added to each school day to make up for the 5 school closure days in March do not make up for the lost learning time. In high school this is just an extra 2 minutes per block.
– The district has made this change to deal with underfunding. Closing schools because the gov won’t pay the bills is not educationally sound.
– TOCs do not get paid over spring break, and losing 2 weeks of income is a hardship. TOCs also do not get paid for stat holidays, nor receive employer paid benefits, so we are constantly getting the short end of the stick
– Not all TOCs can apply for EI over spring break, and the amount one does receive from EI is equivalent to just over 2 teaching days per week.
– We are always talking about how we look in the public eye. Here is a great chance for teachers to stand up and say that an extra week of holiday hurts our students and we won’t allow that.

Here is what I have heard on the FOR side (people who want the 2 wee break)
– Teaching is a very stressful job and the 2 weeks allows for adequate rest
– This is time we spend with our families
– Losing a week of teaching doesn’t really make an impact in student learning

Please share your thoughts!

Record of Employment – for EI

18 Apr

In order to receive EI benefits, Service Canada must have your Record of Employment.  Payroll issues electronic ROEs for all TOCs for the winter, spring, and summer breaks. You do not need to request it. ROEs are issued after payroll has processed the pay period that includes the last school day.

If you are applying for EI benefits you can go to to apply online. This can be done before your ROE has been issued.

The electronic ROE goes directly into the EI system, so a paper copy is not needed and will not be mailed to you. Your electronic ROE will be available in your My Service Canada Account. To register for a My Service Canada Account, follow the instructions in the “View my Electronic Record of Employment” web page at

If you need assistance registering or using your My Service Canada Account, you can speak to a Service Canada representative by calling:

English: 18002067218 French: 18008086352

TIP: Register for your My Service Canada Account a few weeks ahead of time by following the instructions shown under “f you are not applying for EI benefits”–follow the “equest a personal access code”link and then

click the “ontinue”hyperlink at the bottom of the next two pages.

Lay Offs

11 Apr

Lay off notices were issued the first week of April this year to contract teachers with a seniority date after January 31, 2010. TOCs do not get laid off. In Surrey, 319 contract teachers were laid off this year. They will be recalled between June and late September.

We’re lucky to be in a growing district because it’s pretty much a guarantee that everyone will be recalled. In shrinking districts it’s much scarier, because there might not be positions for all laid off teachers.