Sunday, November 14, 2010


Dan Meyer has his important ratio no. 1 which deals with the worth of instructional decisions as a ratio of instructional value and time expended in class (or out-of-class homework).  It's student focused: the time expended is student time, and rightly Dan wants to maximize value per minute.

I think I need to develop my own important ratio, and it needs to deal with my time planning and evaluating lessons and student performance.  It could go something like this:

BTW, if I told you how I finally got an equation into blogger it would go something like this.

So, thing is, every single one of my classes is unique. I never have the luxury that some other teachers seem to take for granted, that a lesson plan can be reused for several lessons the same day or week. On average I teach 15 hours per week, which would have been 18 if I had been working full time instead of just 80%.  I have about 1 hour available for each hour of class time - this hour needs to include planning, preparing, printing, evaluating, feedbacking, marking, and getting to and from class. In reality, I work about 130% of what I get paid for.

This is pretty common for teachers in Sweden, although in larger schools sometimes teachers will have several groups who take the same course. Some schools, mostly charter schools, will make teachers teach 22 hours or more each week, and give extremely little time for planning. In those kinds of situations, trying to design WCYDWT and similarly ambitious lessons is just absurd. Which is why it's great that there is a growign library of these lessons online.

What's it like in the US and elsewhere? 
How many hours do YOU teach, how many are unique, and 
How much time do you have to prepare and evaluate each lesson?

Edit: I just googled "how many hours per week does a teacher teach?" and the answers from the US are saying about 25 to 34 hours per week. Is this true?!


  1. I teach in a rural public school in the US and I have what I think is a fairly normal teaching position. I teach six periods a day (3 different courses) with one prep period. Each class period is about 50 minutes. Doing the quick math, that is 25 hours of teaching and just over 4 hours of prep time a week.

  2. Andrew, so OK - wow. So you have 15 unique periods each week, with only 4 hours to plan them. How do you manage?
    I assume that you are supposed to be working 9 hours per day? (I am, to compensate for the winter and summer breaks)
    That means you have another 2 hours per day to do whatever. What is that? Conferences? Homeroom? Marking?

  3. What usually happens is that I'm either terribly dissatisfied with my lesson plans or I'm terribly dissatisfied with the way my lack of family/free time.

    As far as working hours, I'm contracted for about 7.5 hours (which includes about 15 minutes before and after school). Most of the teachers I work with put massively more time than we are paid for in order to do our jobs well.