Saturday, August 11, 2012

How long is a teacher's day?

Yet more complaints in the press that teachers work only half a day and half a year. Yet more complaints from some teachers about how much / how hard they work.

The problem is how to define "work". Many (most?) jobs define work by time in the office, time at the bench, time on the phone. Some define work by the task, or more usefully by the outcome.

Some teachers undoubtedly do work only half a day (probably a little longer) and half a year (also probably a little longer). For the record, I do not think these people are good teachers and anywhere education is valued they would not be. But you get what you pay for (more on this later).

Many teachers have long days (7am - 5pm) and long years (200 days plus) - if you only count time in school and at the chalkface. If you also count meetings, planning, upgrading and re-training inter alia, both the days and the years suddenly get longer.

I would just like to quote the following:

"to count a teacher’s working minutes by looking at the time we are directly teaching students is like only counting the minutes that a dentist has the drill in your mouth."

And for elaboration from the same discussion:

"A recent Gates study suggests that the average teacher works 53 hours per week, while University of Illinois researchers found that Chicago teachers work approximately 58 hours per week. Several years ago, I counted my own hours and found that I was consistently working between 70-90 hours each week"

Of course, 70 hours x 40 weeks = 2800 hours which is the same as  54 hours per week for 52 weeks ... I wonder how many of those who complain about teachers would work 54 hours a week with no holidays.

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