Are you one of 60 per cent of teachers who believe society does not value the teaching profession or are you with the 80 per cent who would choose the same job again? Maybe you think that surveys only produce lies, damned lies and statistics.
Whatever you think, Australian media are reporting on the Teaching and Learning International Survey conducted last year by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The survey included a representative sample of 2059 Australian secondary school teachers and 116 principals. They were among 106,000 teachers from more than 30 countries and economies.
Here are figures that The Australian and Fairfax pulled out of the survey. Ninety per cent of teachers were satisfied with their job overall. They work 42.7 hours a week, averaging 18.6 hours a week teaching, a little over seven hours planning, five hours marking and more than four hours in general administration.
Japanese teachers worked 53.9 hours a week, with 17.7 hours teaching, and teachers in the Canadian province of Alberta have a 48.2-hour working week and teach for 26.4 hours. Writing in The Australian, Justine Ferrari said teachers in Singapore, Malaysia, England and the United States all worked longer hours than Australian teachers, and generally taught for more hours.
Ben Preiss in The Age noted that 31.5 per cent of Australian teachers say they lose quite a lot of class time because of interrupting students. But the figure is only one per cent below that of Finland and just above the survey’s average class time-loss of 29.5 per cent.
The survey by a reputable international organisation might have lost something in the brief media reports but how do these figures compare with your daily experience? We will be examining the survey results to see what we can learn and look forward to your views.