Date: Oct 2, 2012 5:20 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: US teachers are overworked and underpaid
> Teaching time is well defined in teaching contracts - it's defined as
> the time you as a teacher are in the classroom teaching, period - it's
> when the classes are in session.
OK, good distinction. There's contracted time on campus (so if the
school has no campus, like mine doesn't, then this doesn't apply), and
there's contracted time in the classroom (which I suppose translates
to "on-line" in my case).
You're saying the mix is quite different in Japan, where teachers are
responsible for authoring more of the curriculum, are not just "text
book monkeys" expected to stick to some district provided trucked in
solution from likely out-of-state factories.
When Java first came out, one of the first websites to use it for trig
was Japanese. I still haven't found many US sites with this
sophisticated a level of trig teaching:
The idea that you need to know Java to be a STEM teacher would be
unfamiliar to many in backward states (Florida etc.), but likely Asia
will be there soon, judging from trends (Singapore Math is relatively
IT-friendly, compared to US offerings, which are obsessed with
excluding "computer science" (an Anglo way of thinking, ergo possibly
slower than average (English has many broken parts)).
> Like I said, everywhere I've worked has had me working at about 30
> hours per week actually in the classroom out of about 37.5 hours per
> week under contracted time, which is the time I had to be physically
> on campus. For these countries I cited Japan, Korea, Finland, and
> France,it's roughly only half that.
Roughly half the teaching hours or time on campus? Our speech and
debate coach, also an IB English teacher, clocks hours after the
school has closed to classes, but remains open to "extra-curricular",
which includes probably the most important civics content.
US schools are unusual in that some of the most vital subjects, such
as civics, art, music, computer skills, are relegated to "extra
curricular" which gets the over-worked school districts off the hook
from needing to bother as much about such activities.
Teachers, on the other hand, may spend many hours helping students
supplement, giving them the skills the state refuses to fund as
Perhaps it's different in Finland, where they still teach about how
the government works and stuff during class. Is that true?
> Again: For Japan, divide roughly 600 hours of actually teaching in the
> year by 243 school days to get an average of about 2.5 hours per
> school day of actually teaching in front of a class, and for the US,
> divide roughly 1100 hours of actual teaching in the year by 180 school
> days to get an average of about 6.1 hours per school day of actually
> teaching in front of a class.
> I know you find this hard to believe, but it's true.
Yes. US teachers have terrible jobs. As the world sees it, the US is
flooded with poorly educated spoiled brats who waste vast amounts of
energy because they're just too dumb to know any better. They're just
gross. The new movie 'Samsara', a hit around the world, has some
footage of Americans eating fast food. I think that helps make the
point. 'Supersize Me' is another favorite, when it comes to showing
people how Americans live. Embassies probably have a hard time
stocking enough copies, as people thinking to emigrate get a preview
of the hell they're about to enter (and the job they're likely to
> Again: I read that teachers in Japan have it like teachers of
> community colleges in the US. About 15 hours per week or so of being
> in front of a classroom (vs. 30 for the US teachers), but with
> different says of the week having different teaching loads, where they
> have much, much more on-campus time in the week than US teachers for
> planning and collaborating with other teachers.
Yeah, US teachers don't collaborate. They barely know what's going on
around them. The subjects are not synchronized. STEM is a stinking
My point was students, as well as teachers, pay a huge price. They
have to supplement for hours and hours every day to make up for the
miserable curriculum that gets shoveled in their direction by the
> And on this "?" I put forth above twice: This much greater teaching
> time for teachers in the US per week and per year is *not* the same as
> greater time that US students spend in front of a teacher. You
> evidently are getting this wrong.
I was asking a question outside the scope of this study. My
hypothesis is that US students spend more time compensating for the
derelict nature of their educations than students in some of these
other countries, where school is actually relevant and intelligent
(relatively speaking -- not hard to beat the Americans, when it comes
to providing a quality education).
Message was edited by: kirby urner