New Research Sheds Light on How Teachers Spend Their Time

By July 7, 2022 News, Research

A new national survey sheds light on how teachers spend their time, both in and out of the classroom. The survey, directed by Michael McShane of EdChoice in partnership with Hanover Research, reflects the views and experiences of 686 traditional public, charter, and private school teachers. McShane, who is the director of national research at EdChoice, wrote about the findings in Forbes yesterday.

What are some of the survey’s topline findings?

Most teachers spend a lot of time on direct instruction as well as working individually with students–or leading small groups. A range of non-teaching tasks–from professional development to meetings to test-related work– also consumes considerable time for teachers. Student discipline problems are pervasive–and often intrude on classroom teaching. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key findings.

Inside the classroom: Direct, whole-class instruction reigns supreme

  • 81% of teachers had provided direct, whole-class instruction within the past week; 44% spent at least 5 hours doing so and 24% spent over 10 hours.
  • 78% had worked with students individually; 18% had spent at least 5 hours doing so and 6% spent over 10 hours.

Source: Michael McShane, “How Do Teachers Spend Their Time?” Ed Choice

Outside the classroom: Test prep, meetings, professional development, student discipline, and more occupy teachers’ time

What about non-teaching tasks? Dealing with student discipline, attending staff meetings, engaging in professional development, and preparing for assessments are among the tasks requiring considerable amounts of teachers’ time.

Source: “How Do Teachers Spend Their Time?”

Student discipline often intrudes on classroom teaching time

Many teachers report having to deal with student disciplinary issues. In fact, in terms of classroom interruptions, student disciplinary problems topped the list.

Source: “How Do Teachers Spend Their Time?”

McShane did not find significant differences, by school sector, in teachers’ allocations of work time outside the classroom. However, he did find meaningful differences within the overall population of teachers. Here’s what he wrote in Forbes:

When I asked a question about how much time teachers spend working outside of school hours, the answers were similar from public, private, and charter school teachers. But looking within just the public school sector we see a spread of 8% of teachers spending less than an hour per week and 7% spending more than 10. Those are serious difference in teachers’ experiences that could be happening within the same school district or even building.

Find the full study write-up here.