Teachers in the United States, like their counterparts around the world, are satisfied with their jobs even while largely agreeing that society does not value their profession,.
But U.S. teachers report working more hours, and they place more of an emphasis on the importance of raising salaries, than other teachers across the globe.
The Teaching and Learning International Survey, coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, asked teachers and principals in 49 education systems about their working conditions and professional practices.
More than 150,000 teachers in lower secondary grades and more than 9,000 principals participated in the survey. In the United States alone, 2,560 teachers in grades 7-9 responded to the survey, as did 165 principals for those grade levels.
U.S. teachers reported working an average of 46.2 hours a week, more than the global survey average of 38.3 hours. Of the hours U.S. teachers reported working, the bulk of that time—28 hours—is spent teaching, as opposed to administrative work or professional development. That’s more than teachers in any other education system. The survey average was 20 hours spent teaching.
Another notable finding: Compared to their international counterparts, few U.S. teachers indicated a high level of need for any area of professional development.
While 24 percent of teachers across the world said they had a high need for training on teaching students with special needs, for example, only 9 percent of teachers in the United States said the same. And only 6 percent of U.S. teachers said they needed training on teaching in a multicultural or multilingual training, compared to 16 percent of teachers worldwide.
Officials from the National Center for Education Statistics said they didn’t know why fewer U.S. teachers felt a strong need for professional development than their peers in every area surveyed.
“It may be that American teachers feel they are sufficiently prepared to do their jobs, or it could be that they think the professional development opportunities they are offered are not particularly useful,” said James Lynn Woodworth, the commissioner of NCES, in a statement.
A version of this article appeared in the July 17, 2019 edition of Education Week as Teachers Globally Don’t Feel Valued