Teaching Profession From Our Research Center

How Teachers Spend Their Time: A Breakdown

By Hayley Hardison — April 19, 2022 1 min read
Patrick Jiner, a seventh grade math teacher at Lake Middle School in Denver, writes on a smart board as he talks to his class on April 13, 2022.
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A new, nationally representative survey of teachers found that a typical teacher works a median of 54 hours per week. But just 46 percent of their time in the school building is spent teaching. The survey, which was administered by the EdWeek Research Center and commissioned by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College, offers a closer look at how all those hours are spent.

“The general public needs to consider that teachers’ work doesn’t end with the day’s final school bell. And it’s not just about lecturing at the front of the classroom,” wrote Education Week reporter Ileana Najarro in recent coverage.

Hundreds of teachers on social media have shared how many hours they clock in per week. With teacher job satisfaction hitting an all-time low, it’s crucial to examine how teachers’ schedules have intensified over the years—especially since the start of the pandemic. On top of their core job, more than half of teachers work second jobs to supplement their teaching salaries.

Here’s a breakdown of how much time (the median number of hours) teachers report spending on specific tasks throughout their workweeks, according to the survey:

5 hours     grading and providing feedback of student work

5 hours     planning or preparing

3 hours     doing general administrative work

3 hours     on non-teaching student interaction

2 hours     collaborating/planning with colleagues

2 hours     communicating with parents or guardians

2 hours     doing other work activities

1 hour     doing school committee work

1 hour     doing professional-development activities

1 hour     on non-curricular activities (such as sports, clubs, after-school events)

Check out a visual representation of this information from Education Week on Instagram (and be sure to follow us for more information and inspiration):

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Data analysis for this article was provided by the EdWeek Research Center. Learn more about the center’s work.

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