How many hours are you teaching?

How many PAID teaching hours do you have?

  • Less than 10
  • 10-15
  • 16-20
  • 21-25
  • 26-30
  • 31-35
  • 36-40
  • 41+

0 voters

How many PAID teaching/planning hours do you currently have (not including unpaid time spent planning)?

Ok, 10 PAID teaching hours in what I used to have. Before I used to set my own teaching hours within a working week as well as setting the classes for the other foreign staff.

3.5 teaching hours are now included in the salary that I pay myself. For extra classes I pay myself a little more.

I think that if we are going to compare then we should take into account location and exactly how a teacher receives renumeration. Hourly / Monthy - Guaranteed hours/ No guarantees, your on your own buddy. ETC.

I had to edit the poll to get my hours in. Hope that’s OK.

What’s scary are the two (so far) that counted 41+ teaching hours per week. Throw in preparation time (you do find time to prepare, don’t you?) and that’s over 60+ hours per week. Unless you’re so experienced you can just wing it day after day and don’t need to spend more than five minutes preparing the lesson, I don’t see how you can teach over 40 class hours without burning out real fast. Even 30 class hours is starting to push it.

One of those 40’s was me (45). 9am to 12.30pm. That’s a kindy with 2 hours teaching time. The afternoon hours are also pretty cush. Beats the hell out of teaching 45 kids in an Elementary School like I did for 4 years. Plus work honesty doesn’t feel like work. I enjoy teaching.

I was one of those 40’s. 60 hours? Calm down there mate.

I guess those who work 40+ want to retire early? Is that why you work so much?

I find 27-30 to be enough mentally, physically, and financially.

I wont work mornings or weekends. I do save money and go on vacations twice a year. I wont retire in the next 10 years but I will have a nice lump sum in the account.

I’m with you, Stevie. I work max. 35 hours a week and that’s enough for me. Any more than that and the quality of teaching starts to decline due to tiredness etc.

20 hours a week doing EFL is more than enough.

It’s not a tough job per se but you can and will become a mental-case if you do 40 hours a week in EFL for any length of time.

I’ve been there done that - much happier at 15 - 20 hours a week but without the big pay checks and I don’t mind.

I used to do 42 hours a week. It was tiring sometimes, but not too tough. Now I’m doing 30 and it seems really cruisy.

A l;to depends ont he kind of work. My afternoon job is 3 hours a day, but I could do it (wioth different groups of kids) for 9 horus a day and it wouldn’t be too much - its’ good work.

Also variety is good. It would be good to set it up so you were teaching 2-3 hours kindy in the AM, 2-3 hrs elementary in the avo and 2-3hrs adults in the evening (maybe just 2 or 3 times a week)


I am just curious as to why most teachers seem to think that teaching 40 hours per week is so difficult. I taught 40 plus teaching hours a week in Japan and really found it alot easier and way less stressful than some previous full-time jobs I have had in Australia. I think it is quite amazing that people find it stressful doing more than 30 or so hours a week. It is no wonder that many Japanese and Taiwanese think westerners are very lazy. I have been told this so many times it is just not funny anymore. I think part of the blame for this possibly misguided perception is because so many of the foreigners who live in those countries don’t work very hard at all. I am not saying that all foreign teachers should do longer hours because I know a number of them are busy doing other things like studying. However, I am surprised when teachers say that after teaching about 25 hours in week they are too tired and stressed to do any more. 25 hours a week is part-time, there is no way you can classify that as full-time work. In regards to the time spent preparing for classes I would say that it could still be classified as work time but it is certainly not difficult work by any stretch of the imagination. Personally I don’t really like preparing too much for classes. I would rather go into a class with some kind of aim and a few ideas but just go with the flow and allow for a bit more spontaneity. I think too much prepartion turns you into a robot and doesn’t really test your abilities as a competent teacher. I found some my most enjoyable classes were those that were not planned at all. I actually taught at a school which did not allow for much preparation time at all. I taught for 8 hours a day with very short 5 minute breaks in between lessons so there really was no time to plan. At first I thought this was a bit daunting but I soon got used to it and actually enjoyed the challenge. If you can get the students to participate and interact with each other your job really does become quite easy. You can just sit back and watch and make the occasional correction after they have finished the activity. I am interested to hear from anyone who may agree or disagree with what I have to say. Why is it do you think that westerners are perceived as being lazy people? Is this massive generalisation justified or not?

I fear that this will turn into a kind of a ‘pissing match’ to use that vulgar but descriptive expression.

This has all been discussed before really. I think the main point is on what constitutes effective teaching. Firstly; there is a certain style of class here in Asia where adults come for a ‘conversation class’. I don’t have much direct experience of this but where I have some teaching like this to do I make sure that at least the students have some homework to take away; some new vocabulary to remember or something like that, and that each class has a ‘warm-up’ activity and some form of review of previous work before starting the new work. I don’t want to talk figures for the exact amount of preparation time but suffice to say there should be some; even just a little while reflecting on what has been and what needs to be covered is better than nothing.

This kind of ‘conversation class’ has some pedagogical value if carefully conducted, with realistic expectations of what can be achieved. Of course it has its weaknesses, chief of which are the lack of structured progression and the concentration on only two of the ‘four skills’ of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Then, you have more what western-trained teachers would recognise as teaching; that is classes with structured progression through a syllabus coming from whatever source. These classes will often include all four skills; if not on the same day, at least during a week or two’s time. In Asia, it seems that more structured courses are mainly for children’s EFL.

It goes without saying that such classes will need more preparation time. Again I don’t want to talk figures since it varies very much according to the teacher and the situation; does the teacher;
Have to design the syllabus?
Write weekly or individual lesson plans?
Mark the students’ homework him- or herself?
Design and/or produce his or her own teaching materials and homework activities?

In addition, beyond the actual production of material and plans, the teacher would benefit from a little time to reflect on the lesson he/she is about to teach; aims, possible pitfalls etc, and on the lesson he/she has just taught; what could have gone better and why, what to cover next time etc.

I have two years’ experience and the Trinity Cert. TESOL, done part-time over a year; which left ample opportunity for reflection. I try to keep improving my teaching through study, reflection and practice.

My friend has a PGCE (British professional teaching qualification which qualifies one to teach in state schools) and much more experience than me. He completely agrees with me on the above points.
He teaches adult conversation classes, by the way, and finds it neither challenging, rewarding nor pegagogically effective (partly his responsibility it must be said; he could find ways to make it more interesting and useful but chooses to take the easy way out).

By the way, the above two paragraphs are not an attempt to pee higher; just to give a little background and justification.

As I have said above I don’t believe that discussing exact figures is very useful but I would say that from my perspective, teaching classes with some kind of a structured syllabus, 35 hours in-class is around the upper limit for week-in week-out teaching, giving the students good value and the best of your attention.
[Edit: personally I prefer more like 30 hours]

Firstly, a lot of the teaching in Taiwan is very demanding. You’re focusing and working hard 100% of the time. It’s a hell of a lot more draining than working in an office.

Secondly, I don’t believe at all that Taiwanese think Westerners are lazy.


Westerners are lazy, they say.
I am lazy, I admit.

Which would YOU rather do?
Sit at home with your dogs and computer.
Go to work?

I make enough off my 26-30 hours a week and that is enough time to spend with those kids! It’s easier to go back loving them when you don’t see them as much!

Why is this just restricted to westerners?

Which would YOU rather do?
Sit at home with your dogs and computer.
or Go to work?

Given a choice like that, most PEOPLE would choose the same answer (unless they are allergic to dogs or pcs)

Anyway, why would you equate that with laziness anyway? Who’s to say that when you are sitting with your dogs and pc at home, you aren’t being productive?

Protestant work ethic! phah! Please broaden your definition of work a little, paid hours does not equal working hard. Nor does sitting at home equal relaxation (read: laziness).


Thanks guys for your replies. I expected most of you to be quite defensive about your teaching lifestyle and I can totally understand that. I am just interested as to why many Taiwanese and Japanese have the perception that “westerners” are a bit lazy. Of course not all of them believe this but it is something that I have heard a number of times. I wonder whether it is a result of the behaviour of the relatively small amount of westerners they come into contact with in their own countries or whether it may also be as a result of Hollywood films and their often unrealistic representations which it seems much of the naive Asian youth seem to accept as the norm. When I was at university I used to work part-time, about 25hours a week just so that I could survive. I know that most international Asian students at my university had much more time to devote to study because most of them did not work, including my Taiwanese girlfriend. Should we call them lazy??, I think they are just spoilt kids whose parents seem quite happy to dish out extraordinary amounts of cash just so that they can study overseas. Personally I do not think I am a workaholic by any means, nor do I have any desire to be. I just found teaching 35- 45 hrs per week in Japan quite easy. I may find it more demanding teaching children in Taiwan, I guess I will just have to wait and see. I did have experience teaching children in Japan and didn’t find it very difficult but I definitely preferred teaching teenagers and adults. I think it was joe sax that put forward his views on preparation time and I agree with most of the things you said. I taught in two different schools in Japan and one of those was definitely more conversation based and did not require as much preparation. However, as a teacher at that school I was still supposed to focus on a particular point of grammar in each lesson. I was ,however, given a bit more scope to improvise at that school which made the lessons much more interesting. I think there are some quite substantial differences between teaching in Japan and Taiwan. I think the most significant difference is that the majority of Japanese students learning english are between 15-25 years of age and they demand small converstaion based classes of about 4 students. In Taiwan english teaching seems to be dominated by larger classes of young children who of course don’t have the same capacity to learn english in a conversation based learning environment. I find it a little hard to understand why Taiwanese teenagers and young adults are not as interested in learning english as their Japanese counterparts. Any views on this??

[quote] I am just interested as to why many Taiwanese and Japanese have the perception that “westerners” are a bit lazy. [/quote]Interesting point, my wife also commented something similar when we lived in Australia, and I blew it off as a " yeah whatever ", but when I went back to Australia for a holiday last, I was caught out so many times by everything closing at 5pm :shock: . Lazy bums :wink:. Anyway, it’s not that Westerners are lazy, it’s just the Taiwan has next to no Union reps that can get the 35 - 37 hour week together like the rest of the industrial world. When that’s going and in full swing, then we’ll ALL be lazy.

I still don’t reckon that Taiwanese reckon westerners are lazy. maybe they think themselves to be hardworking, but that’s a little bit different. Personally I think Taiwanese are pretty lazy when they are working. They seem to slack off a bit, and in govt departments it’s rare for them to help youwith something outside of their responsibility.


[quote] They seem to slack off a bit. [/quote] :smiley:

I think, also, their social lives revolve around work. So, yeah like you said above, they aren’t actually doing anything just giving their boss face. Insead of going home to the family they hang around the office eating, sleeping or KTV’ing.