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School teachers in Japan work more than 11 hours per day: survey

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"If Japanese workers were more efficient, they wouldn't be at work so long."

Nah, they'd still work long hours.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

extanker

I wasn't attacking you. I think we are actually on the same page. Sorry if I came off that way.

I see time with students (both in and out of the classroom), seeing them learn, grow and hopefully succeed, as the reason people become teachers. It's why I did. All the other stuff; POSITIVE parent interaction excluded, is something that has to be endured.

The 'bickering with coworkers' comment was in response to the 40.2% of responses citing personal relationships with coworkers as a source of stress. And yes, they should definitely grow up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Forgot to leave this important bit near the beginning.

If I misunderstood your comment, I apologize.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

riskymosaic

Because from your comment, it sounds like you think teachers jobs should end when the students go home. They don't and they haven't in a very long time. All those things like dealing with parents and going to meetings have always been part of the job and part of the hours.

As far as the bickering, I stand by what I said. Be an adult and don't do it. My sister has quite a few coworkers that don't like her because she has a law degree, putting her at the top of the district pay scale. She laughs at them all the way to the bank. If teachers are wasting time at work bickering with each other, That's on them and I have no sympathy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

extanker

How is any of that different to what I said?

And bickering with your coworkers? Really? For that one, I would suggest acting like an adult and not bickering, if that's really taking up so much time.

Read the article.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@riskymosaic

You TEACH because you want to. You do paperwork, and attend meetings, and deal with demanding, unreasonable parents, and bicker with your coworkers because you have to.

Time spent in class doesn't change. It's all the other stuff that keeps teachers at their desks for 11 hours a day.

All those things are part of the job and have been in most districts for decades. How would you suggest a teacher not deal with parents of the children you are teaching? And bickering with your coworkers? Really? For that one, I would suggest acting like an adult and not bickering, if that's really taking up so much time.

My mom did the same thing for 30 odd years in Los Angeles. She hated being part of the union because she felt teaching children was more important, regardless of the hours or pay. They knew what they were getting into and did it happily. If you can't, you are in the wrong job.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Goodlucktoyou:

My neighbor is a junior high school teacher. Not counting driving time, he starts at 8am and comes home around 10pm. His two kids are asleep as well as his wife. He microwaves his diner and eats by himself with a couple of beers. On Saturday and Sunday, he has school sports and other school duties.

If he has a school sports day, he can get a day off. Family day.

Try the local snack or izakaya. After 2 kids there is no six life. I worked briefly as a bartender in a snack and many customers were teachers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fully agree with "Chip Star" .... since I see it every day.

Ok, they have to teach club activities, and other stuff but lots of time is being wasted.

Talking about teacher's conferences (lots of "blabla" without any real results), all kind of paperwork that's not necessary, and so on. Efficiency is a word unknown quite often.

I've seen it too when I was a junior/senior high teacher. They forgot to mention the really long and boring teachers' meetings that can drag on for sometimes at least 2 hours. My co-worker (from Australia) and I agreed that meeting could have been cut down to an hour if the teachers didn't spend so much time on a few topics. When I told my wife (Japanese) this, she said that she agreed. She went on further to say that teachers feel they have to account for their time at school, even though they might not appear to be working. She concluded by saying that those who stay at work (or school in this case) for a long time are respected by their colleagues.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

12.5 hours a day is a bit to much, then you have commuting time to and from work half hour each way time asleep, it leave you little or no time to socialise, no wonder relations ships break down etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Smith,like nearly always has hit the nail firmly on the head.

Couldn't agree more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I worked at a Japanese high school and now at a Japanese company. 11 hour days are normal in either place; however, I would advise my son to become a teacher in Japan rather than a salaryman provided he lived outside of Tokyo where housing is cheaper. The reasons are that in the school I worked the teachers seemed happy and had many laughs during the day. There was also a sense of accomplishment when a student got into a good university or some other success. Finally, teachers have a lot of autonomy and respect where I taught. In a company the quantity of brain dead person, with no motivation, sense of achievement or will to live is truly astonishing. The Japanese model of corporate orthodoxy has served its purpose and should be taken out back and shot to death.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Slackers.  Only 11 hours "at work"?

although agree that being present doesn't equate to working.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some JTE's that I know work almost every weekend doing club activities.

They get no time off. How is that fair or healthy.

certainly not the case back in the UK...there'd be no teachers if it were.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Try the European or even the American system of education. Modern, up to date, competitively adopted textbooks, and limited school hours. Why do teachers present a lesson, say an English lesson, then ask the parents to pay for a cramming school to present the same lesson for review. Also, why are teachers expected to provide "day care" to jr high and high school student 7 days a week? It has been proven in all other cultures that the time children spend in a family setting, the more likely the children are going to become more self-reliant and productive citizens. If teachers are raising other people's children, then who is raising the teachers' children? TEACHERS.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan seriously needs to address this issue. Not just the obvious overtime and abuse of the system, with no punishment and the government pushing for even more overtime and sacrifice, but another problem that comes with it: lack of productivity.

For example, the article states that teachers "work" more than 11 hours a day, and while some of them -- especially newbies -- DO Indeed slave away for that long, I think it would be more accurate to state Simply that, "Japanese teachers are present at school for more than 11 hours a day (and holidays, during typhoons, etc.)". For many, while there, work less productively than if they had a regular 9 - 5 day. It's a fact. Same with big businesses. You force people to spend 12 hours at the company, five or six days a Week, they are NOT going to be as productive as people who have a good quality of life balance. What's their motivation? Abe's request for sacrifice? The meagre pay they get? I have never met a single teacher who at the end of their day says they are happy. They are all as tired, if not moreso, than your average Joe Tanaka coming home from a Panasonic cubicle. Maybe a bit more job satisfaction working with kids, but not for those hours, and not for that pay. So, a lot of time at school seems to be spent working less productively than they could otherwise.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Get rid of teachers being in charge of bukatsu and start hiring actual basketball, tennis and badminton coaches. 

This would definitely help make the workload more fair.

School events are also a major time consumer for the PTA. PTA commitments are often during office hours and therefore are a structural barrier for female employment. 

I've heard working Japanese mom friends complain about this. One mom said she was super busy going to practices for a PTA choir. A choir! Are the kids in it too? Do they come watch your performance? No, no the kids don't join or watch us. It's made up of the teachers and parents only, I guess to help us understand each other better...said with a smirk. If it's a burden on parents, I can't imagine the teachers, who have to set up and prepare for it all as well as participate.

Among other reasons behind stress, 40.2 percent cited personal relationships at work and 38.3 percent dealing with parents.

Well that might be true of any job. Co-workers and bosses really make or break a job.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everybody in Japan works more than 11 hours a day. But why?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Just to pick up on a few things.

Among other reasons behind stress, 40.2 percent cited personal relationships at work and 38.3 percent dealing with parents.

So other teachers cause more stress than the infamous "monster parents". This points to power harassment type bullying in schools. That's disappointing.

Asked about necessary measures to prevent overtime work, 78.5 percent of the teachers and school officials polled called for an increase in staff followed by 54.4 percent seeking a review of school events,

School events are also a major time consumer for the PTA. PTA commitments are often during office hours and therefore are a structural barrier for female employment. Japanese schools operate basically as a nonstop structured group activity. Why have events, i.e., more structured group activities, on the top? Any parents who are bored and need a school music festival to cheer them up should be told to find their own hobbies. Parents whose sole hobby is running around watching their kids do stuff set a bad example.

If elementary teachers, who don't have club activities, are working 11 hour days, that's poor but I can understand it. My kids bring home a letter every day from school, but it is largely trivia about the classes and only encourages parents to take an unhealthy, helicopter-level interest in their kids. Japan is fiercely proud of kids being independent to walk or take the train to school. It should let kids sit lessons without constant letters and a sankanbi parents' day every month to check up on them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

he starts at 8am and comes home around 10pm.

He should work a bit harder and come home at 5.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

My neighbor is a junior high school teacher. Not counting driving time, he starts at 8am and comes home around 10pm. His two kids are asleep as well as his wife. He microwaves his diner and eats by himself with a couple of beers. On Saturday and Sunday, he has school sports and other school duties.

If he has a school sports day, he can get a day off. Family day.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It's true, they squander countless precious minutes on inefficiencies like eating lunch, going to the toilet and cleaning things.

Perhaps there could be a time and motion study. Maybe two out of the three could be combined.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Part of the problem is that too much is taught. Cut half of the curriculum and allow kids to process information and think about it rather than just retain it. If I fill up the hard disk on my computer, the processor doesn't work. That's what happens to Japanese kids.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

They may be at school more than 11 hours a day, but they aren't working more than 11 hours a day.

Either way, there is a huge work/life imbalance going on there. When are the Japanese going to learn (are they capable?) that a happy, mentally and physically healthy employee is worth more to the company/institution than a burnt out, robot with no passion for the job?

Overtime like this is not only confined to teaching. Then they have the nerve to complain about the birthrate. The Japanese are not happy people, but the causes of that unhappiness is ALWAYS neatly ignored.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Get rid of teachers being in charge of bukatsu and start hiring actual basketball, tennis and badminton coaches. Also, set a time limit for meetings. They take way too much time to decide what they've already done the previous year. And no, classes on Saturdays too will not help the students go to a better university. It will in fact have the opposite results. That happened at the city my partner used to work at as a high school teacher before quitting her career, coz it was way too much. She even started losing her hair at early thirties.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

They may be at school more than 11 hours a day, but they aren't working more than 11 hours a day.

It's true, they squander countless precious minutes on inefficiencies like eating lunch, going to the toilet and cleaning things.

My girlfriend is a schoolteacher and I can assure you that she works long hours because she has a stack of work to do, and not because of some cultural work ethic.

Either that or she doesn't like my cooking.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

The teachers at the school I work at are hideously overworked. Plus, they have to work on a Saturday, 1st to 4th period. It's certainly not a case of inefficiency. They are overloaded with class hours; they have no choice but to work through their lunch; they have to attend club activities on Sundays; they've got piles of paperwork to get through; meetings with parents/PTA... It's utterly ridiculous.

They have complained, via the teachers union, but nothing changes. The work they are expected to do is above and beyond what should be expected of a teacher.

Unless the government pencils in a change in the law, it's going to continue happening.

"The government is aiming to slash the proportion of employees working more than 60 hours per week to maximum 5 percent by 2020".

100% doubt... I'll believe it when I see it.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

extanker

You TEACH because you want to. You do paperwork, and attend meetings, and deal with demanding, unreasonable parents, and bicker with your coworkers because you have to.

Time spent in class doesn't change. It's all the other stuff that keeps teachers at their desks for 11 hours a day.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

So, teachers are working 12.5 hours every day. The article only acknowledges the facts and does not mention anything about why they are working such ridiculous hours. I’m sure a lot of it is for club activities, but a large percentage of it is the old ‘can’t leave before the boss’ syndrome. And then, you have the schools that do classes and clubs all weekend. They state they are concerned about ‘karoshi’, which should be a real concern because many of the middle-aged teachers I’ve worked with are emotional wrecks. However, nothing is going to change and teachers will continue to do stupid amounts of overtime regardless of acknowledging the problem.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

And the problem is...? Teacher's have always worked long hours. My sister does about that every day teaching in the US. It just comes with the job. You teach because you want to, not because its easy.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Fully agree with "Chip Star" .... since I see it every day.

Ok, they have to teach club activities, and other stuff but lots of time is being wasted.

Talking about teacher's conferences (lots of "blabla" without any real results), all kind of paperwork that's not necessary, and so on. Efficiency is a word unknown quite often.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

. The document was released based on a law to promote steps against death from overwork, which came into force in 2014.

Only after 2014, after countless karoshi deaths, now they care how much time people spent time in their line of work.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

They may be at school more than 11 hours a day, but they aren't working more than 11 hours a day.

If Japanese workers were more efficient, they wouldn't be at work so long.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

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