How long do teachers really work?

Teachers, humans or robots?  Day after day, paper after paper, espresso cup after espresso cup, the everyday life of a teacher is endless. Fact of the matter is, we see them everyday, and for some kids, more than we see our own family members. However, when push comes to shove, they are there to support us. Whether it’s checking in on how to improve your grades, a place to chill, or just someone to talk to, teachers are there for us. They are there for us even when they don’t have to be. They work endlessly. It makes many wonder how long a school day is for a teacher. So, how much do you think teachers work after the school day ends?

In reality, that varies depending on the teacher as an individual, their teaching department, and additional responsibilities like coaching sports or running after school clubs. Overall, the teachers seem to keep themselves busy.

Over the span of one week, I interviewed five teachers who gave a range of working an additional 10-20 hours a week in addition to the the average school day hours. Below is graph that demonstrates the amount of hours our teachers report they work in addition to the 6 hour school day.

The six hours our teachers work at school are mostly spent on educating teenagers, creating lesson plans during their prep period, a few breaks in between and sometimes lunch. In addition to this, teachers spend endless hours—while unpaid—planning, sitting through long meetings and workshops, conducting parent-teacher conferences, individual student support, coaching sports, advising clubs, grading, grading, and even more grading. Carina Finucane, a Spanish Teacher here at Oceana, said “If kept count [of all the additional hours], it would make me feel sad.”

A student might argue, “well, teachers have a TA to do their work and students don’t.” However, Kent Yuen, a math teacher in Oceana, explained that the assistance of TAs is so limited that it still leaves most of the work to the teacher to do themselves.

To put things in perspective, let’s consider the average high school student. They have all sorts of obligations to deal with: school work, clubs, sports, personal and family matters, and maintaining sanity. Now imagine this, plus all the responsibilities listed in the previous paragraph. This is the life of a teacher.

So next time you see your teacher, recognize their hard work and say “thank you” because they’re not robots, and, they’re not just teachers. They’re humans who make sacrifices for your education.

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