Teacher Time Use in an Elementary General Music Classroom
Martin, Tenessa G.
University of Kansas
Music Education & Music Therapy
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The workload of a teacher is often demanding, and according to a variety of studies, often causes teachers high levels of stress and early burnout. To better understand the composition of that workload, a descriptive case study was undertaken to investigate specific time use. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to learn how an elementary music teacher spent her time during the workday in teaching and non-teaching activities. The participant, purposefully selected on her schedule variety and willingness to participate, taught music in an elementary school in a Midwest suburban school district. Her teaching load included kindergarten through sixth grade (roughly ages 5-12) and seven blocks of class times per day with each grade being represented for forty-five minutes each, demonstrating a typical teaching assignment. The study was conducted using a three-pronged approach and focused on one music teacher in one elementary school. The data were collected from a self-reported time diary, direct observations, and an interview. Data were analyzed for the participant’s time diary and the observer’s diary for: (a) instructional time and non-instructional time and (b) particular activities related to each category; and for the interview, for narrative explanations of time usage. Results indicated that the participant was required to be present at work for seven hours and fifteen minutes each day. Of that time, the participant was required to teach class for five hours and fifteen minutes. Over the four-day investigation period, which included a self-reported time diary and direct observations from the researcher, the participant exceeded her requirement by a total of seven hours and thirty minutes, essentially working the equivalent of an additional day. Over the four-day investigation period, the results indicate the participant spent 1,270 minutes or 57.99% on instructional activities which centered on singing and playing instruments; and 905 minutes or 41.32% on non-instructional activities, particularly on set-up/cleanup time and personal business. The results also showed the participant was consistent in her time usage. From the interview, data demonstrated that time was a challenge and inadequate to complete necessary tasks. The findings in this study suggest that adequate preparation time is important to actual classroom teaching.
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