Let’s do the math – do teachers really get too much vacation?

Teaching was not my first job. I have held several other positions “in the real world”.

I don’t claim to speak for every other job out there – some are clearly better than others – completely understood. Nor do I claim to speak for the exact hours every teacher works. This is not an “us vs them” comparison.

But I can compare my own experiences to each other – “me as a teacher vs me in a non-teaching job”.

I wanted to take a moment to compare how much I worked and how much vacation I got in my previous jobs with how much I work as a teacher.

TeachingPrivate industry
194 working days
per year
5 days/wk * 52 wks/yr = 260 days
Minus 9 stat holidays = 251 days
Minus 3 paid wks vacation = 236 days
Minus Christmas shutdown = 231 days

So, at first glance,
37 more days worked/yr
Official working hours:
8:50 – 3:25
Official working hours:
8:30 – 4:30
Actual working hours:
8:20 – 4:20; 6:30-8:00
9.5 hrs/day
Actual working hours:
8:30 – 6:00
9.5 hrs/day
For the sake of comparison, let’s say I
worked the 1.5 hours overtime on
194 days/year
Lieu time collected/yr
for overtime = 0 – we are
not permitted to collect
lieu time
Lieu time collected/yr for overtime
= 1.5 hrs * 194 days of overtime
= 291 lieu time hours/yr
= 36.375 days lieu time owed
Net working days/yr:
Net working days/yr:
231 – 36.375 lieu days owed
= 194.625 days

So, to summarize –

If I worked the exact same amount of time daily in both my teaching and non-teaching jobs (and that was my reality), I would get pretty much exactly the same amount of vacation in the end. In teaching, while I am not allowed to collect lieu time, it is already ‘baked in’ to the official school year.

Do I get lots of vacation? Sure do.

Do I earn it? Absolutely.

Categories: General


Donna · March 10, 2020 at 8:46 pm

I called my summer vacation, “recovery time “.

    Erica Armstrong · March 10, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    That’s a great way to describe it. I know I slowly go from exhaustion, to feeling “normal” again, to feeling inspired and ready for a new year. Without that time to reinspire myself, I know I would not be as effective as an educator.

Colleen Hartman · March 11, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Great job comparing, teaching is also a second career for me so I can relate. Three weeks vacation is typically where you start out with a company over time you are rewarded w additional vacation and can earn upwards of six weeks.

Love the point about recovery, it’s true first few weeks you feel exhausted (especially last summer I moved homes), you catch up on things you typically put off during the school year so you don’t disrupt student routines and then finally you relax and start to prepare for the new year.

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