First of all: a tip of the hat to our Chilean and Argentine brethren, who put in long hours, too.

But second: would you believe that American teachers put in some of the longest hours in the world? Call it “hardworking,” call it “overworked,” call it “American,” call it whatever you want. But numbers, like hips, don’t lie.

Workload (international)

A lot of the extra time seems to come not in the faculty lounge, but at the front of the class. Our primary-level educators spend more time actually teaching than anybody:

Workload - elementary teachers (international)

And the situation is similar for secondary teachers:

Workload - high school teachers (international)

Note that even though we’re teaching an extra 250 hours per year, Americans don’t spend much extra time on planning or grading. So we’ve got more to plan, but no extra time to plan it. Based on that alone, you’d expect our lessons to be worse-prepared.

Source: OECD (p. 484 of pdf)

Disclaimers: Data from 2010. I’m using “elementary” and “high school” where the report uses “primary” and “upper secondary.” Also, the first graph distinguishes between levels of education for the US but not for other countries, because in the data table the US was the only country with different numbers for different levels.

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