If you were offered a job that paid an average annual salary of $49,000 and required you to work 12- to 16-hour days, would you take it?
Sounds like a lot of work for not much pay. But, as a new infographic shows, that’s about what the average U.S. teacher can expect when walking into a classroom.
Despite the conventional wisdom that K–12 teachers work shorter days (the average U.S. school day is 6.7 hours, according to the National Center for Education Statistics), the graphic, from BusyTeacher.org, shows that the average teacher workday is much longer than that. In addition to a full day in front of the classroom (the graphic pegs the average school day at eight hours), teachers are expected to arrive at school at least an hour before school begins, and many stay an average of three to five hours beyond the traditional school day for meetings, grading, and other administrative or volunteer activities. That doesn’t even include the amount of time they spend counseling students, serving as role models and doing work that goes above and beyond the traditional job description.
OK. But it all balances out, right? Teachers still only work nine months of the year. They still get summers off.
If you believe that then you probably don’t know many teachers. As the infographic shows, most teachers devote a good portion of their summer “break” to preparing for the upcoming school year. That includes two to four weeks for continuing education, three weeks for curriculum planning, and another four weeks for training, classroom setup and preparation. These hours further increase when you factor in the time teachers spend learning how to use and integrate technologies.
Next time someone tells you the nation’s teachers have it easy, or suggests cutting salaries to save a little cash, share some of the statistics below.