No Time, Less Money: A Collaborative Response to Intensification
After the completion of a difficult round of negotiations, Prairie Spirit School Division (PSSD) and the Prairie Spirit Teachers’ Association (PSTA) convened a committee to investigate causes of teacher workload intensification. The committee perceived an increase in the amount and complexity of teachers’ and administrators’ workload, but required reliable data to inform an appropriate response. This case narrative describes the collaborative efforts of the PSTA and PSSD to address workload intensification with limited resources. The committee contracted a consulting firm to assist in developing an on-line survey of more than 700 PSTA members to identify causes of intensification. The respondents reported a significant increase in workload over the previous three years, particularly in the areas of assessment, grading, and reporting; differentiating instruction to meet diverse learning needs; and finding classroom resources. The majority of the respondents positively rated their physical and mental health, but indicated a need for increased supports for stress management and physical activity. While working to translate the data into solutions, the committee articulated the importance of collegial collaboration, and recognized the difficulty in prompting struggling teachers and administrators to reach out to each other for help. The committee identified causes of intensification, and the need to understand factors that promote or restrict collegial collaboration. The case narrative is followed by four activities to help educational leadership students explore the complexity of workload intensification.
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