New Data Shows Educators Work 11 Hours Overtime per Week


This Teacher Appreciation Day, the proof is in the timesheets


According to the Pew Research Center, US primary school children spend an average of 943 hours in the classroom each year, while secondary school children receive another 1,016 hours of instructional time. All told, by the time they graduate high school, a child will have spent around 11,700 hours of their life — over 12,000 if they attended kindergarten — learning from various teachers.

Those 12,000 hours are sizeable — remember when a school year used to feel like an eternity? But consider this as well: Around 50.7 million kids attended public elementary and secondary schools in fall 2017, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. An additional 5.2 million kids attended private school. The average number of kids per classroom is just over 26, and many teachers will attest their classrooms all full to the brim, with aids or other help in short supply.

It’s tough to quantify those numbers. You could say that in a year, the average classroom supports over 25,000 hours of learning. But you could also go a more philosophical route. As Taylor Mali says in his famous slam poem “What Teachers Make,” kids learn more from their teachers than just how to read and write. They learn how to wonder, question, criticize, and apologize. In other words, they learn how to become better humans.

So given the fact it’s a teacher’s job to not only give kids the tools they need to someday become productive members of society, but kind, collaborative, and informed ones as well, it stands to reason we should be asking ourselves, Are we giving our teachers the appreciation they deserve?

Handmade art projects and audible “thank-yous” do convey some appreciation, but compensation is a clearer way of showing someone the work they do is valued. Teacher compensation has been a hot topic this year, with many teachers in states like Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona going on strike to achieve not just higher salaries, but more funding for public schools. Budget increases would help pay for everything from updated textbooks to new desks and chairs.

So speaking of salaries, and possibly more fitting, Taylor Mali’s slam poem, what do teachers make?


Geography: Teacher salaries around the world

According to a report from The Guardian and findings from Gems Education Solutions, US teacher salaries average just over $40,000. Compared to other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the US ranks somewhere in the middle, with Switzerland paying educators an average of $68,820 per year and Greece paying an average of $25,000. You could say Switzerland’s teacher salaries simply reflect a higher cost of living, but it’s worth noting the country’s average salary is around $50,000.

The same is true for the Netherlands, where teacher salaries average $57,870 compared to an average $41,000 for the rest of the country, and in Belgium, where the average teacher makes $51,470, while the average citizen makes $48,200.

Conversely, in the US, according to a 2015 report by the US Census Bureau, the average citizen earns $56,516 — around $15,000 more than the average teacher. In the UK, teachers are also paid less than the average citizen, though by a smaller gap of around $4,000.


Algebra 1: Is your child’s teacher making below minimum wage?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), teachers are nonexempt salary employees, meaning they cannot earn overtime. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t working more than 40 hours a week. Taking all those extra hours into consideration, and dividing up a teacher’s yearly salary by the number of hours they actually work reveals something big: Many teachers (around 13 percent) are making less than the federal minimum wage.

According to a 2017 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), education and health industry workers are the third most likely group to experience a minimum wage theft violation (behind only retail and food and drink service industry workers).

The EPI’s investigation looked at the 10 most populous states and examined the 2013-2015 data from the Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group. The study found 13.4 percent of education and medical workers are paid below the minimum wage — an interesting statistic given that many such workers, unlike those in the retail or food service industries, are salaried, not hourly or tip workers.

Some states showed a much higher percentage of minimum wage violations within the education and health industry. In California, for instance, 16.4 percent of people in this category experience minimum wage theft, with an average loss of $2.09 per hour or $70 per week.


Algebra 2: TSheets data shows teachers are working long overtime hours

According to the National Education Association, “teachers spend an average of 50 hours per week on instructional duties, including an average of 12 hours each week on non-compensated school-related activities such as grading papers, bus duty, and club advising.”

The Washington Post reported on a survey by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that had similar findings. The survey found teachers work an average of 53 hours a week, and around 10 hours and 40 minutes a day.

But being a company that takes particular interest in timesheets, we wanted to see if we had the data to support those claims for ourselves. Out of our broad spectrum of TSheets clients, we currently have 645 that classify as K-12 Schools, so we looked at the data from April 30, 2015, through April 30, 2018.

In total, 1.28 million timesheets were recorded. Many of those clients had individual users on the account, and of those, 19 percent (or 34,100 users) recorded overtime hours. We found the average user recorded 11.2 overtime hours per week. If there was any doubt teachers work 50-hour weeks or more, TSheets is here to say the proof is in the timesheets.

teacher appreciation day 2018

Spelling: Let’s show some A-P-P-R-E-C-I-A-T-I-O-N

While bigger budgets and higher salaries are top priorities for teachers all over the country, might it be worth re-evaluating the FLSA’s overtime exemption for teaching professionals? Giving educators access to overtime pay might not be a perfect solution, but it would ensure teachers make well above minimum wage for an indispensable job.


Looking to show some personal appreciation for a teacher in your life? Why not treat them to a beautiful bouquet of flowers on us!

You have from now until May 15, 2018, to comment below and tell us all about that special person and how they made a difference for you or your child. The winner will be notified via the email connected to their blog comment. Employees of Intuit Inc and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising agencies, and members of their immediate family, and any persons living in the same household are not eligible to enter or win. The prize is a bouquet of flowers approximately valued at $70. Click here for rules and conditions!


  1. Katey Maddux says:

    My favorite and most influential teacher was my high school Spanish teacher, Catherina Savone. Though a Spanish teacher, she is Italian by blood and shared my love for Italian language and culture. In high school, there were a few of us who so loved Italian, she started an after-school club, where we met to study Italian language. She would also take us on Italian-inspired field trips to the Italian club of Detroit, to learn how to cook, etc. I later went on to live and study in Italy. As my teacher and sponsor of my high school Italian club, she taught me enough to test into 2nd level Italian as a college freshman and I was fluent by 20 years old. She not only taught and inspired me then, but even now puts every ounce of her being into her students, even if unpaid. She went as far as to, on her own time, start a club to foster her student’s hobbies.

  2. Ellen Allen says:

    My high school math teacher, Mr. Henry. He taught me the concept of process and following a logical order to solve a problem. I have found many, many times in life the process I learned to solve a math problem can be applied to solving life’s everyday problems. We’re Facebook friends now and I enjoy seeing all the great things life is bringing him in retirement. He has earned them!

  3. What profession could possibly be more important than Teacher?
    Any individual in any walk of life — past, present, or future — was taught and influenced by Teachers along the way. A good teacher can have a profound effect in a student’s life, and thus the future of this world.
    They are responsible for teaching our most precious children, and deserve our respect including pay reflective of their education and hard work.
    It’s about time to re-examine our priorities and reallocate our resources to where they really matter.

  4. I can think of two teachers that heavily influenced me. One was a high school English teacher – Ms. Rothenberg. She would play “devils advocate” so that you had to think and explain your reasoning. The other was in college, Ms. Knight. In part because of her I went to business school and obtained my MBA. She made business administration interesting.

  5. My favorite teacher isn’t exactly my teacher or my children’s teacher. She is a very good friend of mine and she happens to be a teacher in a Title I School. Her name is Devera Miller-Maxwell. She teaches 6th grade at Pimlico Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve had the opportunity to witness her teaching style while she was tutoring some students during an after school program and was amazed. She has an uncanny ability to understand the level of each individual and apply the correct method of teaching to reach them. She even sparked a reading flame in my daughter when she was 4 years old. My daughter is now 9 and loves books more than exercise (and she plays soccer!). I really appreciate teachers and commend them for all of the hard work they do. I believe they are the most underrated professionals in the workfield. If any industry deserves a handsome salary, it’s teaching. They share in the labor of love and I believe my favorite teacher, Ms. Devera, deserves a bouquet for her hard work.

  6. Donna says:

    My Aunt Rosemary was a real inspiration to me. For her entire career she worked with severly mentally challenged students. She loved her job

  7. I had many special teachers growing up, but my daughter Sarah had a teacher that went beyond the classroom. Mrs Depentu taught the symphony class, but more importantly, she developed a culture for the love of music and an environment of teamwork. From day one, Mrs Depentu engaged the PCEP high school* symphony in developing new ways of auditioning, voting on music and always being there for their highs and lows. My daughter ate her lunch with her other symphony friends in the symphony room. They made lifelong friends and their relationships are now celebrating each other’s marriages and children all around the country. Mrs Depentu was not just a teacher, she was family.

    *Plymouth-Canton Highschool has over 6400 students and to make everyday classroom experiences this meaningful deserves a shout out!

  8. Thomaskutty says:


  9. Ana Badillo says:

    One of my favorite teachers who has inspired me to become a teacher myself would be Wendy Dove! She has always been thier for me and has never given up on me. I would stay after school to get the extra assistance I needed and she was always welling to help with a smile on her face. She walk in to class happy and excited to start the day because she is a SUPER STAR! Wendy has taken me in as one of her own and has always supported me. Wendy is a very caring, loving, and awesome lady!

  10. […] New Data Shows Educators Work 11 Hours Overtime per Week […]

  11. […] per year, on average: 5 (source) Average number of overtime hours educators work each week: 11.2 (source) Average number of students impacted by one teacher: 3,000 (source) Average amount of money […]

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