The teaching time and working time

Xavier Bordoy


"normativa" "burocràcia" "bitàcola"


What are my working time and teaching time

In Spain public schools, secondary teachers have a legal stablished working time per week:

  • 37.5 hours per week of working time.
  • 9.5 hours for making work at home1
  • 28 hours for making activities in school (mandatory permanence)
    • 20 hours of teaching in class
    • 8 hours for library dedication, burocracy tasks, meetings2, etc.

time distribution per week

In some cases, these 20 hours could be reduced when you are the department chief (you are the boss of all teachers teaching the same subject) (3 hours), tutorials, etc. In my case, this season I teach only 14 hours in classrooms (37% of my working time). I do not complain about the number of hours of teaching3 but I complain about the efficiency of non-teaching hours. In the majority of our non-teaching hours, we spend (read waste) time discussing about irrelevant things for students. It’s sporadic to mention how to improve teaching or what specific mesures we could adopt for engage students in our meetings. We spend time discussing things like:

  • Reading previous meeting acts in public
  • Reminding the holidays and calendar of the season
  • Our struggles with politicians for having more or less teachers
  • Reminding what to say to students on the first day
  • When and how to fill forms reviewing the real time spending in the class (memoirs)
  • Where to go outside school
  • What is the knowledge state of our students and if they would success
  • Proposing teaching training activities
  • Aproving fire prevention plan
  • Suggesting new materials for teaching
  • Aproving the school budget
  • Making lectures about statistics or the studies offered by our school
  • Talking about computers issues

Things which are, mostly, not really important. We spend almost 30% of our (permanence) time on improductive meetings or burocracy. And the most disappointing thing is that it is marked by law or by tradition. But I think we could (and should) spend (invest) this 30% of our time doing valuable things, things for students, things for improving our school, things for free us of filling forms, etc.

What are your situation? How much time do you spend to unproductive tasks?

  1. In my opinion, it’s an euphemism for “doing nothing” for bad teachers because these hours are not controled. Good professionals spend more than 10 hours per week at home for preparing classes.↩︎

  2. teaching staff meetings, inter subject department (Comissió de Coordinació Pedagògica in catalan), school board, etc.↩︎

  3. Politicians use it for abusing and deteriorate working conditions many times.↩︎