March 17, 2017 5:58 pm
Updated: March 17, 2017 7:06 pm

Regina convention highlights challenges facing teachers, budget worries

WATCH ABOVE: Dealing with difficult parents, compassion fatigue, teaching kids who are new to our country and quite possibly, budget cutbacks in the near future. There are plenty of challenges facing today’s teachers and today, hundreds of them met at Queensbury Centre for a convention. Jules Knox has more in this report.

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It’s one of the biggest worries teachers face: being asked to do more with less.

Approximately 2,300 teachers from Regina’s public and Catholic schools met at the Queensbury Centre for a convention on Friday, and many of them are concerned about how the upcoming provincial budget could affect the classroom.

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“Not having enough resources in the classroom and having higher teacher-student ratios and having more kids and being asked to juggle those kinds of things with the decreased funding that’s likely coming,” Anne Benson, a Grant Road Elementary School teacher, said.

“Trying to accommodate all the different learning needs that are in your classrooms and all the diversity is amazing, but it does present some challenges,” she said.

New immigrants still learning the English language can also create extra work for teachers, Nora Montero De Moore, Regina Catholic School Division’s English as a Second Language consultant, said.

“One of the major challenges is the language barrier at the beginning,” Montero De Moore said. “We have to teach them vocabulary, basic skills of the English language so they can be integrated and participate in the classrooms along with everybody else.”

Montero De Moore said classroom teachers and the school have to consider cultural awareness and cultural situations, which can be different depending on where the student is from.

“For example, differences in attitude and social response, how the student will react to authority. How will they be able to play in the playground or in conflict resolution situations,” she said.

“The parents also play a big role into this because sometimes in different cultures parents aren’t used to being participants with the school. We’re trying to get parents to be part of the school as well.”

Another struggle teachers are facing is technology in the classroom and striking the right balance.

“It is a concern. My concern as an educator is that our kids are losing social skills, the ability to talk to one another,” educational consultant Kim Campbell said. “We as teachers have to manage that, but at the same time not fight it because it is a part of their life.”

Campbell said teachers have to find ways to bring technology into the classroom, but also encourage students to speak in front of their classmates or work in groups without technology.

“Originally it was calculators, right, then if people became dependent on that, then they couldn’t do math. Now we have computers for typing and kids don’t want to write as much. So it’s a wonderful thing but it’s also something that needs to be given to them in small doses,” Ben Auzenne, a Henry Janzen elementary school teacher, said.

Workshops covering everything from compassion fatigue to dealing with difficult parents were offered throughout the day at the convention.

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