Peter Fullerton

Peter Fullerton, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, says recommended changes, such as reducing class sizes, need to happen as soon as possible. (Courtesy of NBTA)

The head of the New Brunswick teachers' union says a national survey that shows most teachers are unhappy with their work-life balance is in line with what he hears from teachers in the province every day.

In the survey, released Monday by the Canadian Teachers' Federation, 93 per cent of the more than 8,000 respondents said they are torn between teaching and home responsibilities.

Ninety-five per cent said their stress comes from not having enough time to meet the individual needs of students, while 91 per cent cited class composition as another source of work-related stress.

"If you look in the past, teachers used to enter the classroom and they would teach the class. Now, we enter the classroom and we have to teach individuals," said Peter Fullerton, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association.

"It's the change in the delivery of education, having to meet the needs of all children, that [has] certainly created an inordinate amount of stress," he told CBC News.

The survey makes five recommendations to improve the work-life balance, including:

  • Reduce class size.
  • Improve support for children with special educational needs.
  • Increase time for planning and preparation.
  • Reduce non-teaching demands.
  • Increase and improve resources.

Fullerton says such measures need to be taken as soon as possible.

"We're finding that a number of teachers are leaving in their first five years because the stress load and the workload is so great. And we need to keep those young teachers involved, they are the life blood of the teaching profession as we move forward," he said.

"We have to take a look at ways of establishing norms so that we will have a system that meets the needs of all teachers, as well as all students."

The survey, conducted during the winter and released at a national meeting in Summerside, P.E.I., this week, will be presented to education ministers across the country.