Spring Break Math: How Hard I Work (Or, “Just Sayin’.”)


This is really not to further the complaintfest that has become the popular media’s characterization of teachers these days. I like complaining less and less, I especially have come to dislike complaining over the blog, and the short list of people I admire and trust advocate quite vehemently against complaining. So, no thanks to that.

That being said, I find myself returning to the following math over and over again, for three reasons.

A) I try to argue as if I’m right, and listen as if I’m wrong.

B) I think about education when I should be eating and/or sleeping.

C) I consistently forget how the math goes (English teacher).

I have it scratched out on a bent index card next to my bed, several restaurant napkins, and now the back of a few composition notebooks. I’ve worked it out time after time, distilling to its dirtiest, simplest form, erring always on the side that is not mine. I archive it now in the hope that the link to this post can become a shorthand for three situations.

A) I can use it at parties;

B) I can forward it to certain family members; and

C) I can favorite it and load it up whenever I come away from one of those articles I mention above, usually read way too late at night.

You can too.


I work 60 hours a week, on average. (You’ll have to trust me on that. I’ve logged and counted it several times to be sure.)
I complete an additional state average of 35 mandated professional development hours every year.
I work at least an additional 30 hours during my paid holidays and vacations.
I work 40 weeks a year. (The length of my school year, absent all vacation and paid holidays.)

= I work 2,465 hours a year.

The average American employee, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2008 Survey on Work and Rest, works 52 hours a week. (This includes several hours per week off the clock, as do my numbers.)
The average private American employee, according to the 2010 Employee Benefits Survey of the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, works 47.4 weeks a year (52 weeks, absent the mean days for paid vacation and holidays).

= The average private American employee works 2,465 hours a year.


A) Is really, really weird. Scout’s Honor: I worked out my math before any other math, and did not massage anything to make the totals come out exactly equal.

B) Does not reflect the lowballing I’ve done on the average private American employee’s behalf.

C) Speaks for itself.

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