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Average working hours of teachers in Japan longest in OECD survey

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That's a shocking bunch of numbers. And it says a lot about "education" in Japan.

Having to put a cap on overtime at 45 hours a month? How about 4.5 hours a month.

come on Japan catch up, at least try to.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

In Belgium it's 22-24 hours a week for secondary teachers

The problem in Japan is that teacher are considered salarymen, have to be early at school same thing to go late from school and they are responsible of their student, even after school hours!

And the PTA who rule the school, Low salary, students that don't care about the lessons at school they go anyway at juku to enter there choosen high school or uni..

Anyway good luck to those teachers and the education ministry decision will change nothing, we see it with the labour law about overwork in other companies.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Oh, teachers schmeachers! How about the students? They are at school 12+ hours a day and weekends.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I've done some appearances at public schools and there is no way in hell I'd work at any here.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

@Asakk

Agree with most of what you said, except for the salary.

Junior high school teachers get a pretty good salary and in addition quite some bonus twice a year.

Talking to some of our teachers, especially the ones with family would prefer less bonus in exchange for less time "spent" at school. Quit the club activities and transfer it to public or private sports clubs. Just by doing so an average of at least 10 to 15 hours a week can be cut.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

 but the percentage of secondary school teachers who frequently or always gave "tasks that require students to think critically" was 12.6 percent, the lowest figure and a far cry from the 61 percent average among all the countries surveyed.

> Further, only 16.1 percent of teachers in Japan presented "tasks for which there is no obvious solution" compared with the 37.5 percent average among all the countries surveyed.

This is the core reason why Japanese often act like robots and can't do anything without being instructed to do so. I am amazed to see so many so called educated people in my current company (and before at the university) who have such low level critical thinking and problem solving skills. This is also what allows the LDP to reign for 74 years on this country. With little culture for critical thinking, the government has controlled the population political views by basically guiding it.

Japan's new curriculum guidelines promote deeper learning through independent and interactive means

I am sorry but this all BS. The Japanese government is not interested to have a population with critical thinking in the way it is taught in "real" democracies. The government wants a docile and easily controllable population which is precisely antagonist to the principle of thinking critically. And by the way. this is the same new curriculum that introduced shameful historical revisionism which by itself restricts even more critical thinking.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

In 25 years plus in public and private schools in Japan, a couple of observations are worth pointing out.

The dedication and sacrifice shown by the vast majority of teachers.

The complete lack of time/ benefit awareness. They spend hours preparing for a pointless 10 minute activity. Then the following year do exactly the same thing from scratch.

Lets make it 3...

Holding “club activity” everyday in the holidays... Why? The student don’t want it! You don’t want it..... Just to look hard working? Seriously, its sad the number of times I ask kids. “How was your summer?” To here...”Boring, just badminton club everyday”
14 ( +14 / -0 )

Holding “club activity” everyday in the holidays... Why? The student don’t want it! You don’t want it..... Just to look hard working? Seriously, its sad the number of times I ask kids. “How was your summer?” To here...”Boring, just badminton club everyday

Teachers don't want it, kids don't want it and the parents don't either. Yet the Japanese can't stop themselves. And if anything, they are getting worse, not better.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@Elmer Fudd - Yep! I've been observing the same thing for nearly two decades. The students spend more time at school than any other country I know of. They should all be raving geniuses. The teachers are very committed to gaining test scores and looking good in the eyes of their piers and the monster parents, but that's about all. Somewhere along the line, they have confused 'education' with 'incarceration'. Students are prisoners of their curriculums. The labor ministry recently set an overtime limit of 100 hours per month for workers. However, high school students are doing 120-150 hours per month when you include club and juku (cram school). What's wrong with an education system that you spend 8-9 hours a day, 5-6 days a week under instruction and then have to go to a cram school 5 or 6 nights a week so you can graduate?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Before the new laws. Teachers worked about 56 hours per week or 64 hours of overtime per month.

With the new law, monthly overtime is capped at 45 hours per month or 50 hours per week.

I understand they reduced their burden by about 6 hours but it is still a lot of hours. Also, the overtime they are talking about are simply the hours logged. There are still a lot of overtime that doesn’t get logged.

As for overtime, the school system here awards bigger budgets to schools that log longer hours. So teachers are encouraged to work overtime in order for schools to get more funding from the board of education.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

With the new law, monthly overtime is capped at 45 hours per month or 50 hours per week.

You might want to check your math here! Lol!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Lower secondary teachers in Japan worked 56 hours per week on average, 

Meaning 16 hours overtime per week, or a total of 64 per month? BULL! Where in the hell did they get this from? JHS teachers work a hell of a lot more hours than this, this is just "reported" time, and doesnt count the hours upon hours NOT reported.

They NEED to work smarter, not longer, too many hours are wasted, literally wasted in "read along with me" meetings, useless seminars, and filing endless numbers of "required" reports.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

When a teacher works 1 hour, it is equivalent to working 2 hours in other professions. Therefore, a teacher shouldn't be made to work more than 25 hours per week (equal to 50 hours per week in other professions).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The PTA doesn't rule my kids' schools. It's just a long list of chores and a chance for parents to bully each other. I don't see it as having any say in what the school does. I was actually talking to the PTA chief at my kids' elementary yesterday and she (first time its been a woman in years) said she couldn't change anything.

Some parents like their kids at club all of the time. The belief that trying harder automatically results in improvement, not injury, plateauing, or disenchantment/burnout is also widespread.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

JJ Jetplane: "With the new law, monthly overtime is capped at 45 hours per month or 50 hours per week. "

Hahaha! Read what you just wrote, man! I can just see you working for the Abe cabinet:

"We recognize the need for families to spend time with each other and reduce the burden of overtime, so we will cap it at a MAXIMUM 10 hours a Week, or 100 hours a month, leaving it up to the companies to decide, and with no penalty for infringements. Oh! And if you head to the cafeteria now there is a special deal on donuts: 1 for 100 yen or 3 for 500.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Problem is partly generational - ie. teachers and support garnering own school experience as deeper guide than Education study, prac, policy guidance and PD would have.

The bloody club-かつどう Regime doesn’t help though

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Those who can't DO, teach. And those who can't TEACH become educational administrators.

That's largely why the education system in Japan is so screwed.

FAR too much paperwork and FAR TOO LITTLE live communication!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Those who can't DO, teach.

A lie of a chestnut that keeps being repeated.

When I was in college, I took a criminology course. You know who taught it? The retired chief of the San Francisco Police Department.

There are plenty of academics who can 'do,' or have 'done,' more than 99% of those who trot out that tired old line.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@klausdorth sorry you are right! I got things messed , yes if you are a contracted teacher then you earn a lot. But the others not really compared to the job that they deliver!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@SmithinJapan

@Yubaru

40hours + 10 hours overtime is 50 hours per week.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

David Varnes, I was talking particularly about the Japanese "education" system. There are many Japanese teachers of English in High Schools and Junior High Schools who are incapable of holding a simple conversation in English, let alone a discussion.

I'm sure that the "old saw" doesn't apply to the criminology course you took in the States. I'd say that it applies in Japan very well and I've been involved in education in Japan since 1976.

Administration over here is full of people who are highly qualified, but yet cannot APPLY their subject and who are a total failure in a classroom. These people give teachers totally unreal targets. Teachers spend HOURS writing lesson plans and reports on lessons done that they submit and that get thrust in files where they slowly fade away. That's why they work long hours.

It seems to me that the time wasted on admin would be far better used by communicating (two way) with the children they teach and with their parents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

50 hours a week that's 10 too much.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In Texas, teachers are expected to be 30 min prior to opening at least and hour after for prep. Most do at least 2 hours outside the 7:30-4 schedule. Only 30 min for lunch. 50 hour week is normal, but tiring. Likely same for all of US.

Asakk:

Need a teacher in belgium?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As others have said, the working hours reported by Japanese teachers are definitely not what is reality. They also probably don't take into account weekend sports events, having to go to school every day during summer vacation,etc.

The big problem I saw was the parents. Schools are absolutely petrified of the parents and will do anything to avoid friction or complaints. Teachers wouldn't discipline students because they know that the school admin won't back them up if parents complain. Teachers are scared to take holidays because they worry that parents might see them out and about during "working hours" and complain to the school. Club activities are extended beyond all reason because parents don't want the burden of raising their own children. It's a sad irony to see teachers being forced to supervise OTHER peoples' kids when they would rather be at home supervising their own children.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

These teacher are the unsung hero’s of the nation. Some actually manage to thrive too. Quite remarkable. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@alwaysspeakingwisdom Today 10:27 pm JST

Boys perform better than girls with a statistically significant difference of 14 points (OECD average: 3.5 points higher for boys).

Boys perform better than girls with a statistically significant difference of 14 points (OECD average: 8 points higher for boys).

Girls perform better than boys with a statistically significant difference of 13 points (OECD average: 27 points higher for girls).

Interesting. The first conclusion we make is that we need to relook Japan's curriculum - it might be too male oriented and not bringing out the best in the girls.

@alwaysspeakingwisdomToday 10:46 pm JST

Japan 528.7

Belgium 502.7

Here's another simplistic way to look at these scores. Belgium is doing over 90% as well as Japan while spending only half the effort. Japan clearly has an efficiency or diminishing return problem. And you better hope that Belgians did nothing even indirectly productive in those 22-24 hours they did not use in the same manner as Japan, or else Japan will lose.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I've done some appearances at public schools and there is no way in hell I'd work at any here.

Same here.

Went to one place and they put 170 students in the gym for an English lesson! I never went back!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The best teachers + the best students= The best country= Japan

More flawed "math." Definitely flawed logic. A non-sequitur. It does not follow that....

Love of one's country is admirable; however, (as in all countries including mine) there's a significant number of things that might well be subtracted in the "equation" above. This is not a complete list, but provides a general idea: Very high suicide rates. Unlike Europeans, the inability to carry on basic conversations in English in spite of years of schooling in the subject. The penchant to conform no matter what. Low national rankings globally in numerous areas.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@daito_hak absolutely spot on comment, wish i could upvote it 10 times.. ive been saying this for years..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese kids incarcerated all day and into the night at school have no free time to develop character, personality and, crucially, an identity that can bolster their self-confidence and belief in themselves and stop the constant erosion of their ability to use logic, reason and their natural power of imagination, in short, qualities that enable human beings to communicate with each other regardless of situation. Just by the simple, no-brainer solution of abolishing the 8-days-a-week sport club activities (sheer, mindless drudgery) the teachers and pupils could spend more time with their families and pursue their own hobbies and interests. "All work and no play makes the Japanese a dull lot" is how so many of them appear to foreigners frustrated by the clumsiness of their communication skills. Beneath the clean, shiny surface of an affluent, efficiently organized society there lies a silent, hidden sadness of lives lived in quiet desperation, devoid of passion and driven to exhaustion just to survive in the existential treadmill of modern Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Tteachers = heroes

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With or without overtime pay, teachers have a lot of extra work to do. Supervising, paperwork, and lesson planning require time and are just part of the job.

As a teacher, sometimes I need to stay later to prepare an activity. I usually don't get paid for overtime but I still do it because I want to have good lessons.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

40hours + 10 hours overtime is 50 hours per week.

Not what you wrote the first time, and by the way your presumption about numbers of hours per month is half of what the law actually states!

"With the new law, monthly overtime is capped at 45 hours per month or 50 hours per week. "

Overtime is capped at 100 hours per month, not 45 a month, nor 50 hours overtime per week either.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

BertieWooster..

Its those who can do. Those who can’t teach, and those who can’t teach....

Teach GYM!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Its those who can do. Those who can’t teach, and those who can’t teach....

Teach GYM!

Or in many cases here; Teach ENGLISH! (Hence no kids ever graduating from a public JHS or HS being able to say anything other than "I'm fine thank you! And you?)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There are many Japanese teachers of English in High Schools and Junior High Schools who are incapable of holding a simple conversation in English, let alone a discussion.

That must be a reason J-Govt started inviting native speakers as English teachers for public schools long time ago. And..... any improvements?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That must be a reason J-Govt started inviting native speakers as English teachers for public schools long time ago. And..... any improvements?

I don't think either group of teachers should be blamed. Not the Japanese who are no doubt trying hard. Their teacher training and employers both have obviously not given them adequate training. And it certainly isn't the fault of poor, underpaid human CD players (i.e. native speakers dispatched on horrid contracts). If Japan wants to get serious about English education, they should either hire qualified/certified native teachers as head teachers or send Japanese teachers of English abroad to study. Say two years of their undergraduate studies. And then they can only be let loose in the classroom after passing a board certified exam measuring all components of the language.

I studied Chinese, Russian and Spanish in the US, in high school and university. All of my teachers were natives of those 3 countries. We didn't require an American in the classroom to interpret anything--the native teachers didn't use English and weren't reduced to be a trained seal. From day 1 we started speaking the target language. From day 1 in Mandarin class, god help me, I was writing characters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The survey also said that hours spent by Japanese teachers actually teaching classes were lower than average.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I work at a Junior High School in Akita and my heart aches every time I leave right on the dot, clocking-out time, and I just KNOW the teachers are going to be there until sundown. Impossible expectations. It's no surprise fatigue and depression are on the rise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Ah_so

Teachers don't want it, kids don't want it and the parents don't either.

I dunno man, some of the Moms at my kid's school cannot stand when their children are home at all. Maybe because of the school my daughter is in but regularly some Moms complain that their kids are home on Saturdays because now they have to fill Saturday with extra curricular activities and it's really expensive. It doesn't seem to occur to them that a little boredom might do their kids some good. I'll never understand wanting to plan every second of your life out, at least take one day a week to just chill out and reset your brain ya know?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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