Date: Oct 13, 2012 11:58 AM
Author: Paul A. Tanner III
Subject: Re: US teachers are overworked and underpaid

On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM, Louis Talman <> wrote:
> On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 7:06 PM, Robert Hansen <> wrote:

>> I think in this discussion, "Overworked" means "Underpaid" and the vast
>> majority of "teacher" discussions and arguments are in regard to pay, or
>> benefits.

> Whatever the term "overworked" may mean to those in the discussion, it is
> probably misdirected. The underlying problem is that, in the public
> perception, teachers who aren't in direct contact with students aren't
> "working". This point is amply supported by the way this discussion has
> revolved around "teaching hours". It's bad enough that the term "teaching
> hours" doesn't apply to all of the out-of-class support work that teachers
> must do, but that's only the surface of the issue.
> Read Liping Ma's book. Note that the Chinese teachers attribute much of what
> they learn about not only teaching, but subject matter alone to their
> interactions with more senior teachers. American public schools, focused
> almost exclusively on teachers making direct contact with students, make no
> provision whatsoever for teachers to talk to each other.
> What is particularly disappointing about this fact is that the teachers
> themselves don't recognize and haven't identified this problem. They
> complain about being overworked---not about having their work misdirected.
> --Louis A. Talman
> Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
> Metropolitan State College of Denver
> <>

Even though I said it more than once in this thread, I should have been more clear from the beginning that "overworked" meant in terms of actual time in front of a class, not in terms of total contracted working hours, which is simply the number of hours each week school is in session that teachers have to be on campus.

However, even if that is not taken into consideration, there is still an element of truth that those who have to deal with more kids are in fact worked more than those who have to deal with less kids. If you have to deal with 120 students and I have to deal with 60, then in terms of such things that we both have to do off-campus that is related to students like grading papers and calling their parents, you do have twice as much work as I do, and will therefore have less free time outside of contracted work hours than me.