2.27.2005 ||> And I lift my glass to the awful truth
There is an interesting blog about teachers and work at the blackboard jungle. I know it's bandied about a lot whether or not teachers have the hardest job on earth or not. To be honest, I'm not sure. The BBC says that teachers work about 11 unpaid hours a week, which would make them the most overworked employees. While I agree that many veteran teachers don't work that much overtime, I think if you take the new teachers into account and average it out the statistic seems about right.
In my case, I worked about 60 hours a week as a new teacher, only counting 20 as actual classroom time. The second year I probably worked 30 or 40 because I didn't have to do as much lesson planning and administrative stuff. I do agree that the 12 weeks vacation a year are a nice perk that other jobs don't get, but most jobs don't include the kinds of stressors that the profession has. For example, you don't see marketing execs forced to handle occasionally violent adolescents. Bookkeepers don't have to run and jump at every decision that politicians create to "improve" bookkeeping. People on the street don't advise secretaries on how to do the job they were trained for. They trust that secretaries know how to do their job.
I'm just saying that teachers don't have the most difficult job, but not the easiest either. And their perks are well-deserved.