Shine a Light On: Preparation Time

May 29, 2014

Shine a Light On: Preparation Time

Please be advised that this Shine a Light is accurate as of May 29, 2014.

Teachers use their preparation time to complete many professional activities.

Teachers value and understand better than anyone the importance of a daily block of self-directed preparation time within the students’ instructional day.

Protect your contractual rights. Learn the best practices as outlined in our Collective Agreement.

Language of the Collective Agreement – L – D.15.0. Preparation Time

L – D.15.1. Effective August 31, 2012 every classroom Teacher shall be entitled to 480 minutes of preparation time per 10 day cycle free from classroom instruction and supervisory duties (exclusive of student recesses and a scheduled daily lunch period).

Preparation time shall be used for professional activities as determined by the Teacher and shall be assigned only during the normal daily instructional program…

L – D.15.3. Where a classroom Teacher does not have full-time instructional duties preparation time shall be pro-rated accordingly.

L – D.15.4. Preparation time will be scheduled with the objective of scheduling blocks of 30 consecutive minutes or more.

Preparation time shall be scheduled in blocks of not less than 20 consecutive minutes.

L – D.15.5. Preparation time may be rescheduled in the case of an emergency or when a Teacher is required to fill in for another Teacher whose absence was not foreseen by the principal. In such cases, the Teacher shall be entitled to have such time made up within 15 school days.

Missed preparation time shall only be rescheduled where a Teacher is required by the principal to provide instruction during his or her scheduled preparation time for a Teacher absent from work. Such rescheduling of missed preparation time shall occur as soon as administratively feasible, but no later than 15 days after the loss of the preparation time and in any event within the same school year.

Interpreting the Collective Agreement

  • Preparation time must be scheduled within the instructional day.
  • Preparation time must be distributed equitably amongst staff members through the Staffing Committee.
  • Aim to schedule at least 30 minute blocks or more of preparation time; a minimum block of 20 minutes is required as per our Collective Agreement.
  • We decide which professional activities we will perform during our preparation time.
  • If a teacher does not receive 240 minutes in a 5 day cycle or 480 minutes in a ten day cycle that time must be paid back within 15 days.

Teachers decide how to best use their preparation time.

Best Practices at Your School/Worksite

  • Administration respects teacher autonomy.
  • Teachers get paid back within 15 school days for lost prep time.
  • All teachers get at least 480 minutes of preparation time over ten days.
  • All preparation time schedules shall be made available.
  • Teachers are not required to use preparation time for meetings (e.g. meetings for: common planning, TPA and evaluation, parents, administration, etc.)
  • If preparation time falls during a meeting or PD session, the teacher is entitled to leave that meeting to access their preparation time.
  • Teachers are not obligated to coordinate and use common time together.
  • If the normal timetable is disrupted, then a plan to accommodate the lost preparation time shall be developed.

Improving Prep Time Through Bargaining

  • In the mid-1970s, there were no preparation time clauses in any public elementary collective agreements. Preparation time was allocated arbitrarily.
  • In 1987, 9,600 teachers in Toronto went on strike under the slogan “It’s About Time.” Province-wide, it was the Toronto strike that forced the government to take the issue seriously.
  • By 1991-1992, preparation time was a standard feature in most elementary collective agreements (150 minutes of preparation time, per 5 days).
  • In 2005, a four year provincial framework included 200 minutes of preparation time, per 5 days.
  • In 2009, a four year provincial framework led to 240 minutes of preparation time, per 5 days.


Shine a Light - Preparation Time (PDF)