Thoughts from a reflective educator.
I just conducted a very unscientific poll. I sent out a link on Twitter only and asked people who happened to be around how many hours they worked. It's not rigorous. However, in the limited sample group I have of 85 (update actually 132) educators on Twitter, here are the results as a CSV file. If you haven't responded to the survey, and want to add yourself, please feel free to do so, but please be as honest as you can.
First, I had to discard some outliers. While I do believe that there are educators who work 100+ hours in a week, there are too few of you, and you are skewing my results. One lonely soul even indicated that they work 168 hours per work, or 24/7.
First, we can see that elementary school teachers work about the same as secondary school teachers. Some people responded other, and they worked 57.1 hours per week (One of the people in the "other" category contacted me to let me know he was an administrator so maybe this is true of everyone in the other category?).
Post-secondary school teachers apparently have it easy at only 47.8 hours a week, but only 8 of them responded so obviously this a pretty tiny sample size. I don't think we can conclude much from their responses without more data.
Here's another chart where I've grouped the data.
The most important message I think we can get from these graphs is that teachers work damn hard. Look at how many educators work more than 40 hours a week! Over 90% of the educators who responded to the survey indicated that they work over 40 hours a week. I still think the 3 people at 100+ hours of work a week are a bit extreme and might be exagerating slightly...
The next time someone complains to you about how long teacher vacations are, ask them to count total hours worked in a year, not weeks. You'll come out ahead in that argument for sure.
David is a mathematics teacher and a learning specialist for technology at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, BC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, and Bangkok before moving back to Canada. He has his Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC, and is the co-author of a mathematics textbook. He has been published in ISTE's Leading and Learning, Educational Technology Solutions, The Software Developers Journal, The Bangkok Post and Edutopia. He blogs with the Cooperative Catalyst, and is the Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia. He has also helped organize the first Edcamp in Canada, and TEDxKIDS@BC.