Life in Rahm’s Chicago. For most teachers, it’s a ten hour day.

University of Illinois labor researcher Robert Bruno.

Rahm says he is willing to pull back on his plan for a seven and a half hour school day. He’s now pushing for a seven hour day.

He still has offered no clue as to compensation or a plan for instructional use.

The truth is that for most teachers it is already a ten hour day, according to a new study by  University of Illinois researchers.

The claim that Chicago public school teachers aren’t working enough hours during the school day are unwarranted at best and intellectually dishonest at worst, according to research from a University of Illinois labor expert.

The contentious debate between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis over the length of the school day has focused on Chicago public schools having the shortest official day of any major city – five hours and 45 minutes for elementary school students, and six hours and 45 minutes for high school students. But Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois, says when you account for time outside of the contractually obligated instruction, a teacher’s day is almost twice as long.

“We wanted to show just how long, and just how many actual working hours, are involved in being a K-12 teacher in the Chicago Public School system,” Bruno said. “What we found is that teachers are spending almost 10-plus hours per day at the school, and then putting in roughly another two hours at home. So their workday is absolutely not five hours and 45 minutes but almost twice that – and that’s not even including weekends.”

Bruno, along with Steven Ashby, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois, and Frank Manzo IV, a research assistant and graduate student at the University of Chicago, are co-authors of a paper that surveyed 983 Chicago Public School teachers. The study profiles a teacher’s standard school-day workload and the time they devote to the job.

The findings include:

  • Teachers work 58 hours per week on average during the school year.

  • Teachers work for 10 hours and 48 minutes on average during a standard school day, and spend almost an additional two hours working at home in the evening.

  • Teachers work another three hours and 45 minutes on school-related work over the weekend.

“It’s at minimum a 58-hour work week, which is more than 800 hours a year beyond what is contractually obligated,” Bruno said. “Teaching in a Chicago public school is well beyond a full-time job.”

2 Replies to “Life in Rahm’s Chicago. For most teachers, it’s a ten hour day.”

  1. Having worked as a teacher for 28 years (not in Chicago, but I don’t think the findings would change much regardless of the district) my immediate response to this study about the length of a teacher’s work week was “Duh, I could have told you that.” It is nice, however, to have some research to cite when I state what I think is obvious and know by experience to be true.

  2. He mentioned that on average teachers work a 58 hour week. So 58*2= 116 hours every two weeks and we get paid for 62.5 hours every two weeks.

    They forgot to mention the classes or workshops we attend over the summer or after school to retain our certification and that the fees for these meetings/classes are paid with our own money.

    The time spent at home in the summer preparing for the next year.

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