P.E.I.'s education minister says 150 front-line positions have been added to the Island's public school system following a survey last spring that found 78 per cent of teachers experienced burnout, but the Green Party says the issues go deeper than staffing.
Karla Bernard, the Green Party's interim leader, questioned Education Minister Natalie Jameson about the survey in the P.E.I. Legislature on Friday.
The results of the survey, compiled by the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation, showed that approximately one in four teachers said they have been victims of work-related cyberbullying, and roughly one in three teachers surveyed do not feel respected.
Bernard said teachers don't feel supported and the government continues to play "catch-up."
Karla Bernard, the Green Party interim leader, questions Education Minister Natalie Jameson in the P.E.I. Legislature on Friday. (CBC)
"One major stressor for teachers is class composition," she said.
"Classrooms are filled with diverse learners and teachers are planning and delivering multiple lessons every day just to meet the students where they are. Teachers are also struggling with greater numbers of students engaging in violent or disruptive behaviour."
Jameson said the government is addressing the growing number of students in schools and the challenges it presents.
Staff from the Department of Education are involved with the P.E.I. population strategy committee, Jameson noted, and a new eight-week pilot program to help newcomers integrate into the school system is being implemented at three Island schools — Lucy Maud Montgomery, West Royalty and Stonepark.
"We'd love to roll this out school-wide next year," Jameson said.
Jameson said she recognized the challenges teachers are facing.
"We do have an ongoing study and I'm looking forward to receiving the report in the near future around our inclusion model. I think this will help guide us as we move forward.... We are adding and we are investing and we are committed to making the education system better."