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Are teachers chalking up more overtime than other professionals?

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Teachers overtime

The answer is yes – at least according to a number of studies conducted in both the United Kingdom and Australia. This result will come as no surprise to many teachers who typically put in extra hours out of their commitment to see every child get the best start in life. Indeed unpaid overtime is so common in the teaching field that it is regarded as part of the job.

In the UK, a study conducted by the Trades Union Congress found that 61.4% of primary school teachers worked unpaid overtime, equating to 12.9 additional hours a week. High rates of teacher overtime were also cited in research conducted by recruitment agency Reed, which found teachers and engineers as being the professions putting in the most additional hours.

Closer to home, the Australian Education Union’s State of our Schools Survey for 2015 showed a rise in teacher workloads - with 42% of teachers saying they worked more than 50 hours per week and 23% working over 55 hours per week. The survey involved over 2000 teachers, with 73% saying their workload had increased in the past year.

In fact, international comparisons also show that Australian teachers are working longer hours than the OECD average. The OECD’s annual “Education at a Glance” 2016 report found that - Australian primary school teachers taught 872 hours per year versus the OECD average of 776, lower secondary at 812 hours versus 694, upper secondary 804 versus 644 hours.

However despite the workload, the good news is that teachers generally reported a high-level of satisfaction with their job and they saw teaching as a long-term career.


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