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Unpaid work by Langley teachers worth $1 million a month

Every month, according to their employers, Langley teachers work an average of $1 million in unpaid after-hours work.
Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times file photo LTA president Gail Chaddock-Costello (left) and other members at an after-school rally held in November.

Every month, according to their employers, Langley teachers work an average of $1 million in unpaid after-hours work.

That figure is based on a failed application in November by B.C. school districts to have teacher salaries rolled back 15 per cent by the British Columbia Labour Relations Board.

Lawyers for the association that bargains for all public school boards in B.C. argued teachers pay should be reduced during the current labour dispute because the union was refusing to fill out report cards and carry out other types of after-hours work.

In their submission to the board, the lawyers for the BC Public School Employers' Association said activities outside regular school hours "account for between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of the work normally performed by a teacher."

The application for a pay reduction was rejected.

In the Langley school distract, 15 per cent of teachers salaries works out to just over $1 million a month or $12 million a year, a Times analysis shows.

That represents 7.5 per cent of the Langley districts annual $158 million budget.

Langley Teachers' Association president Gail Chaddock-Costello says as far as she knows, it is the first time the provincial employers' association has ever put a dollar value on the unpaid work teachers perform on evenings and weekends.

Chaddock-Costello said the average teacher works a 60-hour week if unpaid duties are counted like lesson prep, exam marking, coaching and meeting with parents.

"It's part of our job," Chaddock-Costello said.

"It's a huge amount of time."

Chaddock-Costello wasn't surprised by the million-dollar estimate.

If anything, she said, the employers have understated matters.

"About 90 per cent of exam prep is done after hours on evenings and weekends."

Chaddock-Costello said a teacher can spend as much as three to five hours a night prepping and marking exams for an "essay-rich" subject like English.

During the current contract dispute, she said teachers are still doing lesson preparation and marking exams outside classroom hours.

They just aren't handing in the results as part of their work-to-rule campaign.

"That is the sole difference."

Any Langley student who needs their grades for a college or university application will get them, Chaddock-Costello promised.

"This [labour dispute] isn't an excuse to not mark students work" she said.

Or to avoid parent-teacher nights.

Teachers are still meeting individually with parents to discuss student performance, Chaddock-Costello added.




Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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