Sunshine Coast teachers will be able to coach sports teams and run after-school programs again, thanks to a vote to withdraw last year’s motion to “cease all extra-curricular and voluntary activities” on Sept. 6.
Teachers made the decision at their special Sunshine Coast Teachers’ Association (SCTA) general meeting last Thursday, where they also carried a new motion.
The new motion reads, “that, for the 2012/13 school year, members be encouraged to maintain a focus on teaching and work-life balance in determining whether they participate in extra-curricular activities, evening performances or other voluntary activities.”
Teachers withdrew voluntary activities during the last school year in an effort to show the government and the public the extra work teachers do voluntarily. The move resulted in some school sports teams folding and a loss of some after-school activities previously manned by teachers.
“This is very good news for the district. Last year the SCTA came out very strongly saying that ‘we will not’ and so any teacher participation didn’t happen for after-school or other activities,” said superintendent of schools Patrick Bocking.
“At the same time, some activities did take place because, where possible, principals were able to find a little bit of time to support them. There were also community volunteers who supported some of them.”
Knowing teachers are now able to volunteer is a relief for School District No. 46; however, Bocking said it doesn’t mean all teachers will return to voluntary positions they held before the withdrawal.
“They may make a decision to not volunteer because they are working hard in their classrooms, and that’s where they want to continue their focus,” Bocking said. “So that will be up to the teachers to decide whether they’re going to be participating in any particular activities, and it will be a personal decision for each one.”
SCTA president Louise Herle agreed it is a personal choice.
“Some may choose to provide extra-curricular and volunteer activities and some will not. We applaud teacher professional autonomy,” she said.