Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Flippin' overpaid teachers...

Earlier today I shared this link via twitter. Entitled "I'm Sick of Highly Paid Teachers" it takes a quick mathematical look at what American teachers are actually paid, or should be paid, according to some basic starting conditions. @Reteach10 asked the question "wonder how the maths pans out for overpaid UK teachers". Well...

Bog-standard (i.e. without extra responsibilities or pay points) full-time classroom teachers in the UK are expected to work 1265 hours per year, over 195 working days. This is the oft-quoted "Directed Time" which makes my knuckles itch every time it's quoted at me. Lets see how that pans out for a working day...

  • 1265 / 195 = 6.48717... hours per day. Lets say it's 6.5: this rounding works in favour of those who think teachers don't do enough work.
So 6.5 hours would be a working day of, say, 08:30 to 15:00, right?

Hang on, that doesn't actually allow my teaching hours to fit in! My lunch hour can't be included, so my day must actually last from 08:00 to 15:30, with an unpaid hour off in the middle for lunch.

That sounds like an awesome working day to me! An 8am start, and rolling off home at half past three! Wow! No wonder people who don't teach delight in telling me how lazy and overpaid I am! But how often does this actually happen? In reality, I tend to work through my lunch hour, so there's an extra hour I'm working for free right there. Just to stay on the side of the anti-teacher lobby, I'll assume it's only half an hour extra I'm doing every day- I may not be representative of all teachers, so I'm happy to under-estimate.
  • So we're on a 7 hour working day- still not bad. I don't begrudge giving a free half hour if it's worth it.
But finishing at 15:30? Come on... Who actually manages to do that? I certainly don't. On a good day, if I've cut a few corners, I'll get out at 4:30, but on most days it's closer to 5:30- those books won't mark themselves! So another extra hour per day at least. Hell, I'll be generous to the anti-teachers again, and say it's only half an hour.
  • 7 1/2 hour working day? Still can't complain.
I am a little concerned that I'm still working an hour more every day than those who make the rules say I am - and more importantly, are paying me for. How does this work out over the course of a year? That's easy to work out: 1 hour a day over 195 days, that's... [counts on fingers] 195 hours extra free work per year.

But wait! I almost forgot the weekly meeting! These are, according to the literature, part of directed time and not voluntary, so that's an extra hour per week (on the frankly absurd assumption that it doesn't overrun). An extra hour per working week works out at another 39 hours per year.
  • We're on 234 unpaid hours now...
Oops! There's something else: parents' evenings! I'll be ludicrously conservative again and assume that none of us teach any sixth form, and that the parents' evenings stay within their 2 hour set time, in which case that makes 5 * 2 = 10 more hours:
  • 244 hours without any extra cash to show for them.
Then there's the open evening...
  • 248 hours.
To put this into perspective, 248 hours works out as just over 7 working weeks (based on the prescribed 6.5 hours per day) of free time given by most teachers from sheer good will.

I haven't included the extra revision sessions, after school clubs, sports fixtures, extra-curricular tuition and marking and planning time spent outside of any of the above discussed hours, and I've underestimated most of the above situations, so the actual figure is a lot more for, I would guess, most teachers.

So how much is this worth?

A teacher working at M4 for on the main pay scale will earn £27,104* for the 2010-1011 academic year:
  • 27,104 / 1265 = £21.42 per hour (again, rounded down to err on the side of the anti-teachers)
Over 248 hours, this would be:
  • £21.42 * 248 = £5312.16

In conclusion...
Feel absolutely, completely free to ditch my salary and pay me for the hours I actually work: I'd be just shy of 20% better off. Conservatively speaking.

And, in the spirit of the post referenced at the beginning of this one...

Many people see teachers as glorified babysitters, so lets just pay teachers minimum wage to do this job: £5.93 per child, per hour, for five hours (children are actually in school for at least 6 hours a day, so I'm being conservative again...):
  • £5.93 * 5 = £29.65 per child, per day (this is actually very agreeable compared to daycare rates)
Most of my classes are between 20-30 students strong, so lets pretend each has only 20:
  • £29.65 * 20 = £593 per day
And lets keep it at 195 days per year:
  • £593 * 195 = £115,635 per teacher, per year.


I'll take it.

I want your comments:
  • What are your actual average working hours? When do you start in the morning? When do you go home? How many hours, on average, do you do at home in the evenings?
  • How many hours do you work per year, on average? What does your hourly wage work out as (and what job do you do)?
  • If you're commenting to let us know how cushty teaching is, please include a realistic reason as to why you're not doing it!

* This is for teachers outside of London and fringe areas.