How Many Days Do Teachers Work (2024)

Teaching is often seen as a career with an abundance of time off, but how much do teachers really work each year? 

The answer is more complex than just counting the days of the standard academic calendar. Though teachers get periodic breaks and summer vacation, their total work hours and days extend well beyond classroom instruction time. 

This article will provide a detailed overview of the average number of days teachers are required to report to work each year based on data from the NCES and other reputable sources. 

We will analyze the average teaching contract year, time spent working outside of school, paid holidays and professional development days, and how the teaching schedule compares to other full-time professions. 

The intent is to understand better the full picture of a teacher’s working life and how many days they truly dedicate to their role over the course of each year.

Let’s quickly get into it. 

Working Days Of Teachers: At A Glance 

Here we have shared a detailed How many days do teachers work? guide here.

How Many Days Do Teachers Work - Overview
  1. Teachers have to sign a contract of 180 working days per year. However, they have to work for more than 275 days per year. 
  2.  Teachers work 2,200 hours per year. 
  3. Teachers work for 7 to 8 hours per day in a school. 
  4. 46% of teachers work more than 50 hours a week. 
  5. Teachers have to work for a minimum of 35 to 40 hours a week. 
  6. Teachers spend only 1,170 hours per year in actual teaching.
  7.  450 hours are spent by teachers planning and preparing for the class. 
  8. Teachers spend 300 hours grading outside the classroom. 
  9. 29% of teachers wish to spend more time planning and preparing for their lectures. 
  10. 31% of teachers wish to spend less time on general administrative work. 
  11. 74% of teachers reported that they are not satisfied with the salary they receive as they have to work even during non-working hours. 
  12. Middle school teachers make $56,720 per year. 
  13. On average, public institution teachers in the OECD countries have to teach over 865 hours per year.
  14. Italian school teachers teach for around 941 hours per year.

How Many Hours Do Teachers Work In A Week? 

  1. Teachers generally work more than 40 hours a week and a minimum of 35 hours. 
  2. According to EdWeek research, teachers spend 54 hours each week working. Of that, only 25% of the time is spent on teaching
  3. In a survey, 46% of teachers reported working more than 50 hours a week, while 12% said they work every moment they are awake. 

The following table displays the number of hours teachers work in a week. 

The Number Of Hours. Percentage Of Teachers.
35 hours12% 
40 to 45 hours38%
More than 50 hours46%
Work every moment they are awake. 4%

How Many Days Do Teachers Work In A Year?

  1. Teachers usually sign a contract of 180 working days a year, but they have to work for 275 days per year.  

This contract states teachers must work 180 days or 39 weeks a year. Hence, people believe that teachers get to enjoy their winter and summer holidays. 

Work In A Year

But that’s far beyond reality. Teachers must work at least 42 hours or 2,200 hours per year. They work during non-working hours and even on holidays to fulfil their responsibility. 

Following is the detailed on teachers spending hours per year on different workloads.

WorkloadHours per year
Instruction 1,170 hours
Preparation450 hours
Email & Communication40 hours
Summer PD100 hours
Planning140 hours
Grading300 hours 
Total2,200 hours

How Many Hours Do Teachers Work In A Day?

  1. Teachers work for approximately 7 to 8 hours a day. 
  2. 6 hours are spent in actual teaching, while more than 2 hours are spent in planning, grading and other school activities. 

How Many Hours Do Teachers Actually Work? 

Teaching involves more work than that recognized by the general public. Teachers have to work at home as well as for extra hours in school. 

The following table includes the breakdown of the time spent by teachers on different school work and preparation.

Teaching ProcessHours In A Year 
Hours of instruction in a classroom 1,170 hours
Hours devoted to classroom prep, planning, etc.450 hours
Grading outside the classroom. 300 hours
Hours of planning outside the classroom 140 hours
Hours spent on summer PD100 hours
Hours spent on email and other communication40 hours
Total hours2,200 hours per year

Hours Of Instruction In The Classroom 

  1. Teachers are in the classroom for 6 hours a day. 

This number varies in different schools and institutes. Besides, teachers have a 25-minute lunch break, during which they usually spend time with students as students either make up for their pending work or use the teachers’ classrooms as a quiet space. 

Hours On Classroom Prep, Planning, etc. 

  1. 450 hours are spent by teachers in planning and preparing for the classroom. 

Most schools ask teachers to be in class 5 minutes before the students. However, teachers have to reach one hour earlier in school to prepare for the day ahead. 

Also, you will notice that the parking lot is full after school for at least 2-3 hours. Teachers are busy with meetings, clubs, after-school help, sports, etc. All extra work adds up to 300 to 600 hours in teachers’ working hours. 

Hours Of Grading Outside The Classroom. 

  1. Teachers spend 300 hours grading outside the classroom. 

Teachers love teaching, but they do not like grading that much. Teachers have to spend approximately five to ten hours a week grading the assignments and tests. 

Hours Of Planning Outside Of The Classroom. 

  1. Teachers spend 140 hours outside the classroom planning their lessons. 

Most teachers reported that they like planning their lessons in advance as it helps to cover all the required topics and induces a flow in their class.

Teachers spend three hours a week planning their lectures, which adds to 120 hours a year. Additional 20 hours a year are spent creating lecture plans during winter and spring breaks. 

Hours Spent On Summer PD.

  1. Teachers spend 100 hours in Summer PD. 

Do teachers enjoy their summer vacation just relaxing? By now, you would have already guessed it. Teachers have to work even during summer vacation. They are packed with PD and training.

Hours Spent On Communication Via Email And Other Resources. 

  1. Teachers spend 40 hours communicating through email and other means. 

Teachers receive emails from students and their parents even during weekends and summer breaks. They spend a lot of time clearing the doubts received through email or other communication means. 

Total Time Spent On Work By Teachers

  1. Teachers, in total, spend 2,200 hours working in a year

Adding all the work teachers have to complete at school as well as in non-working hours sums up to more than 42 weeks in a year with a contract of only 30 weeks or 180 days. 

On Which Tasks Do Teachers Wish To Spend More Time?

  1. According to a survey conducted by education week, 29% of teachers would like to spend more time planning and preparing for their lectures, while 28% wanted to spend more time in actual teaching. 
  2. On the other hand, less than 1% of teachers want to spend their time on school committee work, and only 1% want extra time on general administrative work.
Spend More Time

The following table shows the tasks teachers want to spend their time on. 

Task Percentage Of Teachers That Wish To Spend More Time 
Planning and preparation 29%
Actual teaching time 28%
Teamwork and planning with colleagues 17%
Grading and feedback of student work7%
Professional development activities5%
Non-teaching student interaction. 5%
Communication with parents or guardians3%
Other work tasks3%
Non-curricular activities2%
General administrative work1%
School committee workLess than 1%

On Which Tasks Do Teachers Want To Spend Less Time? 

  1. According to Edweek’s research, 31% of teachers want to spend less time on general administrative work in school, and 22% want to spend less time on non-teaching student interaction. 
  2. On the contrary, only 2% of teachers wanted to spend less time communicating with parents or guardians, and the other 2% wanted less time on teamwork and planning with colleagues. 

The following table displays the tasks teachers wish to spend less time on. 

WorkPercentage Of Teachers That Want To Spend Less Time. 
General administrative work31%
Non-teaching students interaction22%
Professional development activities. 12%
Other work tasks8%
Grading and feedback of student work8%
Planning or preparation 6%
School committee work 5%
Actual teaching time 3%
Non-curricular activities3%
Teamwork and planning2%
Communication with parents or guardians. 2%

How Many Days A Year Do Teachers Get Off?

  1. Teachers get 5 to 10 days of personal or sick leave during the school year. Also, teachers have other holidays like winter break, spring break, and summer vacation. 

This may sound like a lot of holidays, but teachers have to do a lot of work and prepare for lessons even during non-working hours. 

How many hours do teachers work: By Gender

Male instructors put in (slightly) less effort than male nonteachers. In contrast to that, it is seen that female teachers put in (slightly) more work than female nonteachers. 

The splits are shown in this table. It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of teachers are female, although the workforce as a whole is male. As a result, although the overall data suggests that instructors work fewer hours, this effect is eliminated once gender is taken into account.

Here is a table that suggests average weekly hours during the school year. (excluding holidays)


Number of Instructional Days: By State

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of instructional days in the school year varies by state in the United States. Here are some key findings:

  1. The state with the most required school days is Kansas for grades 1-11, followed by Illinois and North Carolina.
  2. The states with the fewest required school days are Colorado and Kentucky.
  3. The majority of states, 29 in total, require 180 school days.
  4. Some states allow school districts to choose between meeting the minimum hours per school year or the 180-day requirement.
  5. Several states have introduced four-day school weeks, which typically have around 148 school days per year.

The following table suggests a detailed overview of the minimum number of instructional days and hours in the school year 2020 by state.

State Minimum amount of instructional times per school year (In Days)Minimum amount of instructional times per school year (In Hours)Minimum number of hours per school day
Alabama1801,0806.0 hours(excludes lunch and recess)
Alaska180Kindergarten-grade 3=740Grades 4-12=900Grades 1-3=4.0 hoursGrades 4-12=5.0 hours
Arizona180Grades 1-3=712Grades 4-8=890Grades 9-12=720(includes lunch)
ArkansasSet by the Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas6.0 hours/day, 30.0 hours/week(At least 40 minutes of recess must be included for elementary schools)
California180Kindergarten=600Grades 1-3=840Grades 4-8=900Grades 9-12=1,080Kindergarten=3.0 hoursGrades 1-3=3.8 hoursGrades 4-12=4.0 hours(excludes noon intermissions for kindergarten-grade 8; excludes recess except for in kindergarten)
Colorado160Half-day kindergarten=450Full-day kindergarten=900Grades 1-5=990Grades 6-12=1,080
Connecticut180Half-day kindergarten=450Full-day kindergarten=900Grades 1-12=900
Delaware180Kindergarten-grade 11=1,060Grade 12=1,0323.5 hours(excludes lunch)
District of Columbia1805.0 hours
Florida180Kindergarten-grade 3=720Grades 4-12=900
Georgia180Kindergarten-grade 3=4.5 hoursGrades 4-5=5.0 hoursGrades 6-12=5.5 hours
IdahoSet by the board of trustees of each school districtKindergarten=450Grades 1-3=810Grades 4-8=900Grades 9-12=990(excludes recess, lunch, and passing periods)Set by the board of trustees of each school district
Illinois185Half-day kindergarten=2.0 hoursFull-day kindergarten-grade 1=4.0 hoursGrades 2-12=5.0 hours
Indiana180Grades 1-6=5.0 hoursGrades 7-12=6.0 hours(excludes recess and lunch)
Iowa1801,080Grades 1-12=6.0 hours/day or 30.0 hours/week(excludes lunch, includes passing periods)  
KansasGrades 1-11=186Grade 12=181Kindergarten=465Grades 1-11=1,116Grade 12=1,05.0 hours
Kentucky1701,0626.0 hours
Louisiana1771,062Grades 1-12=6.0 hours(excludes recess)
Maine180Kindergarten=2.5 hoursGrades 1-12=5.0 hours
Maryland1801,0801,170 for public high schools3.0 hours
Massachusetts180Kindergarten=425Grades 1-5=900Grades 6-12=990
MinnesotaGrades 1-11=165Kindergarten=425Full-day kindergarten=850Grades 1-6=935Grades 7-12=1,020
Mississippi1805.5 hours
MissouriKindergarten=522Grades 1-12=1,0443.0 hours
MontanaSet by the trustees of a school districtHalf-day kindergarten=360Full-day kindergarten=720Grades 1-3=720Grades 4-12=1,080Set by the trustees of a school district
NebraskaKindergarten=400Grades 1-8=1,032Grades 9-12=1,080Set by the State Board of Education
Nevada180Kindergarten=2.0 hoursGrades 1-2=4.0 hoursGrades 3-6=5.0 hoursGrades 7-12=5.5 hours(includes recess and time between lessons, excludes lunch)
New Hampshire180Kindergarten=450Elementary schools=945Middle and high schools=990
New Jersey180Full-day kindergarten=2.5 hoursGrades 1-12=4.0 hours
New MexicoHalf-day kindergarten=450Full-day kindergarten=990Grades 1-6=990Grades 7-12=1,080(excludes lunch)Half-day kindergarten=2.5 hoursFull-day kindergarten=5.5 hoursGrades 1-6=5.5 hoursGrades 7-12=6.0 hours(excludes lunch)
New York180Half-day kindergarten=450Full-day kindergarten=900Grades 1-6=900Grades 7-12=990Half-day kindergarten=2.5 hoursFull-day kindergarten=5.0 hoursGrades 1-6=5.0 hoursGrades 7-12=5.5 hours(excludes lunch for grades 7-12)
North Carolina1851,025Set by the local school board
North DakotaHalf-day kindergarten=481Full-day kindergarten=962Grades 1-5=962Grades 6-12=1,050(excludes lunch and breaks)Half-day kindergarten=2.8 hoursFull-day kindergarten=5.5 hoursElementary schools=5.5 hoursHigh schools=6.0 hours
OhioSet by the board of education of each cityHalf-day kindergarten=450Full-day kindergarten=910Grades 1-6=910Grades 7-12=1,001(excludes lunch, includes recess for kindergarten-grade 6)
Oklahoma1801,0806.0 hours
OregonHalf-day kindergarten=450Full-day kindergarten=900Grades 1-8=900Grades 9-11=990Grade 12=966(includes recess for kindergarten-grade 3)
Pennsylvania180Kindergarten=450Grades 1-6=900Grades 7-12=990Kindergarten=2.5 hoursGrades 1-8=5.0 hoursGrades 9-12=5.5 hours
Rhode Island1801,080Kindergarten=5.5 hoursGrades 1-12=6.0 hours
South Carolina1806.0 hours(includes lunch for elementary school)
South DakotaSet by the local school boardKindergarten=438Grades 1-5=875Grades 6-12=963(excludes intermissions)Set by the local school board
Tennessee180Kindergarten=4.0 hoursGrades 1-12=6.5 hours
Texas1,260 hours(includes intermission and recess)7.0 hours
Utah180990(excludes lunch and passing periods)Kindergarten=2.0 hoursGrades 1-12=4.0 hours
Vermont175Set by the State Board of Education
Virginia180Kindergarten=540Grades 1-12=990Kindergarten=3.0 hoursGrades 1-12=5.5 hours(excludes lunch, includes passing periods, and includes recess for elementary schools)
Washington180Kindergarten=450Grades 1-8=1,000Grades 9-12=1,080
West Virginia180Kindergarten-grade 5=5.3 hoursGrades 6-8=5.5 hoursGrades 9-12=5.8 hours
WisconsinKindergarten=437Grades 1-6=1,050Grades 7-12=1,137(includes recess and passing periods, excludes lunch)
Wyoming175Kindergarten=450Grades 1-5=900Grades 6-8=1,050Grades 9-12=1,100Set by the trustees of each school district

Are Teachers Satisfied With The Salary They Receive? 

  1. 74% of the teachers reported that they are not at all satisfied with the salary they get for the work assigned. 

The following table displays the satisfaction of teachers with their jobs. 

Teachers SatisfactionPercentage Of Teachers. 
Are satisfied with their salaries. 82%
Are not satisfied with their salaries74%
Like the way, things run in their school.80%
Are satisfied with how much they make at school 67%
  1. 63% of the teachers reported getting anxious at the thought that they did not have control over their schedules and plans. 

Do Teachers Get Paid In The Summer?

  1. Teachers do not get paid in summer as they are not actively teaching. 

Many people have a myth that teachers get paid even for the two months’ holiday. But that’s not the case. Teachers are expected to do a lot of unpaid work during the summer and other breaks. 

However, most teachers spread their pay off ten months to the entire 12 months of time.  

Do Teachers Get Paid In Winter Breaks?

  1. Teachers are not paid for work during winter break. Teachers are usually just paid for 180 to 190 days in a year. 

Teachers must work and prepare for classes after the winter break. Even though teachers can spread their salary for 12 months, they receive their salary only for the contracted days. 

How Much Do Teachers Make In A Year?

  1. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, teachers’ median salary is as follows:
  • Kindergarten and elementary teachers receive a salary of approximately $55,490. 
  • Middle school teachers reported receiving an average salary of $56,720. 
  • High school teachers receive a median salary of $58,030. 

 The salary of teachers varies according to your location. States provide teachers’ salaries according to their budgets and the school’s rank. 

  1. Teachers must complete at least a bachelor’s degree to get the job. Teachers with master’s and doctorate degrees get paid more than teachers with bachelor’s degrees. 

Related Read:

 That’s all about the working days of teachers. 

Summing up, teachers usually work for 275 days or 2.,200 hours per year. Compared to the contract time, the teachers have to work for 95 extra days. These days are spent preparing for the class, grading assignments, and working on other non-teaching stuff. 

If you aspire to make your career in the teaching field, these stats will provide insights into teachers’ working hours. We keep updating these stats from time to time according to the latest information received. 

If you enjoyed reading the above article, you could check our website for other updated articles.


Do teachers get paid for the full year even though they don’t work 365 days?

Yes, teachers are paid on a salary basis, so their annual salary is for the full contracted work year, not just the days they are in the classroom. Teachers typically divide their salary over 12 months even though they only work around 9-10 months out of the year.

What do teachers do on days when school is not in session?

Teachers often use non-instruction days for lesson planning, grading, required professional development, collaborating with colleagues, parent conferences, and other school-related tasks. 

How many vacation days do teachers receive?

This varies by district, but most full-time teachers receive 10-15 paid vacation days per school year for holidays and personal time off. They also have a summer break that spans 8-12 weeks.

Do teachers get overtime pay if they work more than 8 hours a day?

No, teachers are exempt from overtime pay provisions despite often working well beyond an 8-hour workday on teaching, prep work, grading, etc. Their salary covers a preset number of work days in their contract.

Ryan Harris

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