According to the preliminary reports from the newest Schools and Staffing Survey (2011-2012), regular full-time teachers average 52 hours “on all teaching and other school-related activities during a typical full week.” Of that 52 hours, 31 hours is devoted to delivering “deliver instruction to a class of students.”
If we figure teachers work 183 days a year, then they work 36.6 5-day weeks. 52 hours times 36.6 is 1,903 hours. That’s more hours than the typical American works, not even counting prep time in the summer.
But I’m not sure I believe the numbers. Other sources, such as the Current Population Survey and the American Time Use Survey find weekly, term-time hours for teachers to be in the 40’s per week rather than in the 50’s. (But the ATUS also finds teachers spend a lot of time on their teaching job when they’re “off” during the summer.)
Teachers work hard. Whether you believe they work as many hours per year as other workers do seems to depend on what set of data you look at.