The Practice of Teaching - Handbook for New Teachers and TTOCs
This handbook contains information on the history of the Federation and on a variety of practical topics, such as classroom management, reporting requirements, working with parents, and sources of help for new teachers and TTOCs.
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P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S A G E
On behalf of the 41,000 public school teachers across the province, welcome to the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation.
Congratulations on becoming a teacher and a member of our union!
You most likely chose to become a teacher because you know that working with children and youth is a creative, fun, and rewarding
experience. Teaching is the most important work in any society; we work with kids to help them develop the knowledge and skills to
better understand themselves, and to participate in the world they live in. Through us, they learn the basics and much more. Many
teachers are also drawn to the profession because of its crucial role in addressing inequities and discrimination in our society.
The BCTF is one of the most recognizable acronyms in BC—that is because we are not shy about advocating for public education. Our
work exists in a political environment where policy and funding decisions are made by cabinet ministers and school trustees who are
often far away from what is actually happening in classrooms. That is why, as a union, we work together to advocate publicly for our
rights and the quality of our students’ education. Being part of a union means that you are not alone!
As a member of the BCTF, you are now part of one of British Columbia’s oldest organizations. The Federation was created in 1917
and throughout our rich history we have often described ourselves as a union of professionals. Our membership includes all teachers
in the public system, various specialists, and adult education teachers who work in public school districts as well as some speech
language pathologists, school psychologists, and associated professionals.
Whether it is within the Federation as a whole, your local teachers’ association, or one of our Provincial Specialist Associations,
there are many ways you can be involved and access support. We have many programs and services that strengthen professional
development, Social Justice, Health and Wellness, International Solidarity, and Teacher Autonomy.
Professionally, we encourage and help each other to enhance our practices and to become better at what we do. We aim for
a more just and democratic society by working to eliminate all forms of discrimination, notably sexism, racism, transphobia,
and homophobia from our schools. We also work with Aboriginal teachers, students, and communities to further the work of
reconciliation and to help mitigate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools. We work tirelessly with other unions and citizens’ groups
to advocate for strong, stable, and properly funded public education as well as other public services.
That work carries over to the national and international levels as well. We work with other teacher organizations in Canada and
abroad through the Canadian Teachers’ Federation on issues common to all of us across provincial and national borders.
We are proud of our Federation, not only because of our extensive service to teachers and our ongoing advocacy for public
education, but also because of our reputation as a highly democratic and member-driven organization. Remember to look
through The Practice of Teaching: A handbook for new teachers and TTOCs and become familiar with the work we do, think about
participating on a BCTF committee, or a committee of your local teacher union. Join one of the Provincial Specialist Associations.
Get involved in your local’s decision-making processes and the many events it organizes. Attend the BCTF’s annual New Teachers’
Conference; it’s a great opportunity to learn about issues relevant to early career teachers and meet some of your newest
At the BCTF, we are also very proud to be an active part of the broader labour movement in BC and across Canada. Through your
membership in our union, you are also a member of the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress, with whom we
work to improve working conditions for all workers—and for a more fair and just Canada for everyone!
One of the most important things for you to read is your collective agreement. It sets out the salaries, benefits, and working
conditions for employees and is agreed to by the union and the employer. This means that both the union and the employer have
the responsibility to ensure the language in the agreement is followed. The BCTF has worked hard in successive rounds of collective
bargaining to improve the working conditions of new and young teachers, including TTOCs. If you ever have a concern about your
working conditions, get a hold of your local association.
I wish you a fulfilling and rewarding career and invite you to become involved in your union and the future of your profession.
Together, we can continue as a strong, united voice for all BC teachers, our students, and for public education.