How many hours do TEFL teachers teach?

It is essential to understand that your scheduled teaching hours (referred to as contact hours) won't equate to the total time you are expected to spend at school (known as contract hours). Besides teaching, many jobs involve administrative duties.

Moreover, the nature of the English teaching job you opt for will determine your classroom hours. Let's consider three typical job types.

Government and Private Schools

In most instances, overseas schools operate regular office hours. You will likely be expected at the school from Monday to Friday, around 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - approximately 40 hours per week. However, your actual teaching might be limited to 20-25 hours weekly, with the remaining time dedicated to lesson planning, grading homework, or performing other administrative tasks. Although weekends are usually off, some teachers give private lessons to supplement their income. If you are working for a government school, your salary will likely be above the average monthly wage of the location.

Also read: What types of schools hire English teachers abroad?

Corporate Teaching

In some countries English teachers provide lessons for private corporations or businesses. These classes might occur during the employees' working hours or outside of them. For sessions held outside work hours, your teaching schedule might fall into early mornings before the regular workday begins, lunch breaks, or evenings after the workday ends. If you are engaged with multiple companies with varied class hours, your workday could be quite extended.

Private Language Schools

These schools provide supplementary lessons to school children or adults outside their regular school or work time. Consequently, most classes will be conducted during evenings or weekends. Your workweek may involve around 25 hours of teaching, with an additional 10 or more hours reserved for lesson planning and other tasks.

Some Cultural Aspects

Lastly, remember that cultural aspects can shape the concept of a 'normal' working week. For instance, in Muslim countries weekends might fall on Thursday and Friday, Friday and Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday. In regions like Europe or Latin America, and occasionally in China, a midday break or siesta, more common in rural areas, could pause school operations for up to 2 hours daily.

Also read: Who will my students be when teaching English abroad?