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The Danger Of Inequities In Faculty Workloads

At some point, most teachers will raise the question of equity of workload both across divisions from lower to upper school and even within the same division.

This Consultant sees patterns worldwide where workload in terms of minutes per day of direct teaching time is highest for preschool teachers and lowest for high school teachers. The range is from 1200 to 2400 minutes per week for preschool and primary teachers; 900 to 1400 for middle school teachers; and 600 to 1200 for high school teachers. (Note: direct teaching time does not take into account other responsibilities to include professional development and prep time.)

In this Consultant’s experience, what seems to rankle teachers is discrepancies of workload among core home-room teachers and among those who work collaboratively with one another on a daily basis within the same division. Teachers resent these inequities even more than those between primary teachers and secondary teachers where these teachers often view the others’ loads as relatively light.

In some cases, the tensions between teacher groups can occur between local hires and overseas hires (in the international context), between various nationalities (such as French versus American teachers in French-American school settings) and between teachers of humanities versus and math/science teachers. The latter is a growing stress point as humanities teachers maintain that grading essays and papers is more time-consuming.

Many patterns of unfairness or perceived inequity occur simply due to changes that individual leaders, heads and division heads have implemented over time or to exceptions granted to certain teachers. Such exceptions take the form of reduced workloads, fewer “preps”, etc.

Few things undermine staff morale more than the perception of inequities both between non-teaching and support staff and among the teaching ranks. Littleford & Associates develops and conducts many customized surveys worldwide every year. These surveys compare and assess workload patterns in a state/country/region as well as analyze the unique demands of individual positions within a school.

We also work on site with leaders and staff to help ameliorate the most obvious workload issues and attempt to help schools make their choices more mission-based and rational.

John Littleford
Senior Partner