Sunday, July 29, 2007

Where We Discuss How Hard We Work

I teach Biology at a large community college and have for decades.

One year, from August 20th until about May 20th, I tracked how many days I didn't work. I counted six. That meant for about 40 weeks (280 days), I worked 274 days. Not all of those days were full days but most were. During the summer, I also worked five weeks of summer school. That leaves seven weeks. For four of those, I was on campus a minimum of two days a week.

So for the entire year of 365 days, I had off about 50 days. Most workers (non-educators) get two days off each week, so about 100 days a year, plus vacation and holidays. So who has more days off? Not teachers.

So what is our work week like? I start prepping on Sunday afternoon about 1 until 5, then again about 7-10. Mondays through Thursday start at about 7 AM and finish on campus about 4 with almost never having a lunch break or coffee break (I eat in my office while answering email). I then correct papers (or other task) from about 7-10. Friday, start at 7, go until about 1, then back to papers about 7-10. Saturday, I might work in the lab, correct papers, or prepare so about another 6-8 hours. Total for an average typical week, about 70 hours. That isn't a busy week. Many weeks I have a night or two seminar, symposium, etc. or administrative task requiring more time.

So while most workers may work about 2080 hours a year, I and my colleagues put in about 2,800 hours from August to May...add in a few hundred more over the summer months. So who works more hours? Overtime? Not for us. Also, I am not even close to being the hardest worker on our campus. Everyone in my department keeps similar hours.

I love my job, students and teaching but don't ever tell me how easy my job is. I'd love a 40 hour work week but it doesn't happen when teaching.