How Teachers Use Their Time

Since this research will be aimed at measuring “extraordinary issues,” in other words, time taken away from formal instructional time, a framework is needed to effectively show the impact on the full day of instruction.

This table below is the result of a consensus among the four teachers as to how the students spend their seven hours at school. The bottom line of 220 minutes of formal instructional time is allocated to preparing the students to be ready to take the ISTEP exams, Indiana’s version of a standardized measurement instrument. The 60 minutes of out-of-classroom instruction (eg. art, music, computers, etc.) are not included for two reasons:

1. The topics are only obliquely related to the standardized tests
2. Serious misbehavior will immediately lead to the removal of the student from the classroom and the instructional time is minimally impacted

Table 5. How Students Spend Their Seven Hours at School

This the the way the teachers choose to allocate the 7 hours that the students spend at school
  Minutes/DayPercent
Total Time Students Are at School420100%
Less:Lunch/Recess75
Class start up (morning, noon, after each recess)45
Out-of-classroom instruction50
Rest room breaks20
Extraordinary issues (discipline/ repeated instructions, etc.)? - to be determined
Leaving: Classroom formal instructional time23052%

In one of the presentations we made, we were asked to show the amount of time, in a typical year that a student spends at school and in formal instruction.

Here is that data:

Table 6. Life Away From School - How Much Time Does a Student Spend at School?

This table shows that the time available for the school system to mold a student's behavior, values, etc. is very limited.
Total student time per year
for all activities - 365 days
8760 hours100%
Total student time at school1260 hours14%
Total student formal instructional time6608%

Each figure, the 14% or the 8%, have different interpretations. Surely just being at school can have a positive impact on a student as long as there is order within the school. The 8% figure is where the regular teacher’s impact is the most important in terms of helping the student accumulate knowledge. In either case, the time at the school is only a very small proportion of a student’s year.  Time at home, etc. is certainly the most important part of their life, not for knowledge accumulation, but for learning socialization skills and values.