## Monday, June 4, 2012

### How Many Hours Does a Teacher Teach

As an experiment, I decided right before school started this year to start keeping track of the hours I spend on school.  I wrote about this earlier this year to celebrate the half-way point, and I'm writing now to celebrate the end of school.

I will say that results didn't surprise me, and I'll give a basic rundown after I post the chart below.  I am happy to note that I improved as the year progressed--in that I spent less time working on a weekly basis and I made a concentrated effort not to work during breaks so I could be a decent member of my family.

 Month Hours Worked Normal Salary Hours Difference August 290.18 184 106.18 September 258.15 168 90.15 October 230.78 168 62.78 November 188.69 160 28.69 December 127.32 160 -32.68 January 222.61 160 62.61 February 211.69 168 43.69 March 261.12 176 85.12 April 195.36 168 27.36 May 192.23 184 8.23 Total 2178.13 1696 482.13

Overall, I worked around 12 weeks more than I should have worked over these past ten months (that's right, teachers work ten, not nine, months), and of course didn't include anything I got paid separately to do (SATs, one of my professional development opportunities) or random side projects that are education-related but not exactly class or class recruitment-related (i.e. this blog).

The "Normal Salary Hours" represent all the hours someone might be expected to work as a salaried worker during those ten months.  These include spring break, fall break, and winter break hours, all of which have been counted into those totals.  The problem with that comparison, though, is that those are actually not the hours I have been paid to work.  I have been paid to work 188 days, or 1504 hours.  This is clearly stated in my contract, which also lists my daily pay rate and my yearly total pay (which equals my daily pay times 188 days).  Therefore, I have actually worked 674.13 hours more than I was paid to work.

So, what does all of this mean?

From August 1, 2011 to May 31, 2012, I worked 2178.13 hours.

This is 482.13 hours (or 12.05 weeks) more than a normal, salaried, 40 hour week would entail.

It is, moreover, 674.13 hours (or 16.85 weeks) more than I have actually been paid to work.

And, though the hours should only slowly accumulate now that school is out, I'm not done.  There's still June and July.

Amazing.  Again.

1. I still find it amazing and apalling when people accuse teachers of getting paid for 12 months of work when they only do 9/10 months of work. They don't realise that we only get paid for those 10 months and only for an average work week. We don't get paid for the extra hours put in whether it is with clubs, meetings, professional development, tutoring, parent phone calls, or what have you. This was such a clear way to look at things!

2. Phoenix was looking over my shoulder while I was writing this and asked me how much I would have been paid if I'd been paid for all those hours. I'm thinking that it would be fun to figure that out for my final total.

3. I'm still working on finals, and I'm at 460...you and I need to do something more with this...contact our legislators, the papers...No wonder teachers are so tired all the time...we've worked around the calendar...actually lapped ourselves. I point out to critics all those 'vacation days' we get are NOT for our convenience, but for the convenience of our clients...as is the long 'summer vacation.'

So, let's talk strategy!

4. Definitely, an interesting (although misleading) way to calculate is using the must current baby-sitting rates: \$9 hour...

\$9 an hour per kid (since the kids, for the most part, aren't related): \$9 x 130 kids = 1170 per day (since we only see high school kids for one hour a day). 1170 x 180 school day = \$210,600 per year
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More importantly, I agree with Claudia that we should take this to the next level! I've been thinking about helping to organise a "grade in" of sorts for our furlough days. Thoughts?

5. Dear Professional Educators, this information is more typical than atypical, and legislators should be made aware of it. Please forward the link and/or the chart to House and Senate leaders as well as members of the Education committees. Encourage all teachers who kept track of their time to do the same. It's easy to ignore one, less easy to ignore many. Give legislators "ammunition" to use against platitudes and hasty generalizations.

6. My Writing and Editing Coach is right that we need to contact legislators. A word of caution, many legislators and representatives have been instructed/advised or have made it their practice to ignore any and all emails and letters from schools or people representing schools. When you contact them, do so from a home email address!

7. I really was thinking mostly about the lack of respect that teachers have been facing lately (like the belief we have easy jobs that end at 3pm and have three months off) when I started this. That said, I am facing my third year without raises or advancement and furlough days, and it's actually the fifth year of such in the area. If teachers can find better treatment because I kept tally, I would be glad for it.

8. I hear you all loud and clear. This represents a pretty large sample of teachers and it makes me even MORE angry when people don't respect teachers. But now, I fight back with this data. It pisses me off that many of us are on pay freezes and many teachers work two jobs or need to take a summer job to be able to make ends meet. When you think about it, we're doing one of the most important jobs out there--educating the future of our country. People need to start respecting us, and I think the first step to making this happen is demanding that respect. Let's take this to the next level!