Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

How much do teachers work?

How much do teachers work over the course of the year? Let me tell you that no one has the slightest idea. Here’s why: First, different sources put work hours per week (during the school year) anywhere from about 40 hours a week to 50. That’s a huge difference. My guess is weekly hours during the school year aren’t too different from the hours of other college educated professionals. Second, there is no good evidence on how much time teachers spend during the summer prepping for teaching. Here my guess is that teachers put in quite a few hours unpaid hours during the summer, but the data behind the guess isn’t all that good. Bottom line: the uncertainty about hours of off-the-clock teacher work is too large to let us draw good conclusions about how many hours a year the average teacher puts in.

In contrast, we do know something about how many days a year teachers put in on-the-clock. My friends at the NCTQ put together the numbers for me. Here we compare teachers to private sector, “professional and related” workers with 10 years experience.

Days per year Teachers Private sector professional workers with 10 years experience
Work days per year 260
Paid vacation 20
Paid holidays   9
Contracted work days 185 231
Paid sick/personal leave   13.5   11
Work days if all leave taken 171.5 220

The on-the-clock work days per year numbers are probably pretty accurate, But, again, we don’t know much about off-the-clock hours.

The NCTQ has turned up one very interesting fact. They report that the average number days of sick leave for teachers isn’t that different from what private sector professionals get (13.5 versus 11 in the table above). But NCTQ found huge variation in contracted leave days. A number of districts give teachers 20+ days of leave. That seems awfully high.

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4 Responses to How much do teachers work?

  1. Peter Bayliss says:

    Absolute rubbish.

    Teachers clock on at 9am and schools out at 3pm – how in the hell do you get 40-50 hours per week. The teacher next door to us is home at 3.20pm on the dot every day !!!
    The more pertinent question is how long does the teacher actually teach classes each day. An ex teacher I know puts it at around 3-4 hours per day. Teachers, through their
    union, have become the most underworked and overpaid “workers” in Australia bar none. They are also incompetent as any cursory reading of Australia’s numeracy and literacy deterioration shows.

    • Tiffany says:

      Not all teachers clock in at 9 just saying. Most clock in at around 7 for high school. They do not leave until at least 3. That is 8 hours right there. Now if they need to work over time for a sport or to help a student, that is where they get all the hours.

  2. @globeteck says:

    @brother_polight #IRS LMAO Teachers get paid $40k to work 172 days a year https://t.co/FH3VeWeflH

  3. Pingback: The Truth Behind Teacher Unions - Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Third Parties, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, Congress, President - Page 14 - City-Data Forum

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