The Realistic Guide to a Teacher’s Working Hours in Hong Kong
Teaching in Hong Kong is vastly different from teaching anywhere else in the world. Teaching styles and methods differ from school to school, but Hong Kong’s fast paced lifestyle and distinct working culture has created its own unique blend of culture that teachers typically adopt. This not only impacts the responsibilities of a teacher, which is determined by the particular school, but also the teacher’s working hours. It is important to not go into the teaching industry in Hong Kong with assumptions that you will have 4 hour working days, or that you will end your day when the sun is still out, but . it is even more important to be aware of the local teaching culture to get a realistic understanding of the typical working hours for teachers in Hong Kong.
Primary school and secondary school. Most teachers who work at either a primary or secondary school have a standard set of hours on a daily basis that closely mirror the normal school hours that their students have. Aside you’re your regular teaching responsibilities, factor in two or three hours of preparation time for future lessons, as well as any time needed for grading papers and examinations, and you have a good sense of your list of duties and working hours. One thing to keep in mind is that Pprimary and secondary schools in Hong Kong may often lack the resources or staff needed for to conduct any after school and curricular activities, so there will be a general expectation that teachers will “volunteer” to execute these activities or more time with students after school. This varies from school to school, but flexibility is often required. Of course, throughout the year when there are special occasions, such as parent-teacher meetings, school events, and any afterschool extracurricular activities, you can expect longer work hours as well.
International school. Teaching at a coveted international school has its perks, of course. But they also come with more responsibilities toward the school. Typically, the teacher will have to develop a term’s worth of lesson plans based on the agreed syllabus. International schools also benefit from having the additional resources, and as such there are usually no expectations of teachers to “volunteer” extra hours for such activities. However, it should be noted that international school parents have a reputation for setting high expectations for their children, which can also translate to high expectations for their children’s teachers. This may sometimes lead to longer hours and additional duties that you as a teacher need to fulfil, parent-teacher conferences, meetings and even after school tutoring sessions.
University. Professors teaching at universities throughout Hong Kong will have a more flexible work schedule, but this role also comes with a lack of consistency in working hours, due to the nature of tasks being undertaken. This doesn’t necessarily equate to fewer work hours, instead, it typically involves different scopes of work to be completed daily. A number of responsibilities can contribute to this erratic and fluctuating schedule, including the number of lectures in a given day, study group sessions, open office hours, and faculty meetings. It is important to consider these, in addition to the regular teaching duties such as lesson preparations and grading.
After school learning centres. Another sought after place for teachers to work at in Hong Kong is many after school learning centres that can be found all over the city. Because these are supplemental classes and tutoring sessions for students outside of their normal school schedule, teachers can expect a later start to their work day. Typically, after school learning and tutorial centres have their teachers start work in the afternoons to begin preparations for the day’s lessons and will be expected to stay as late as eight or nine at night working with students. The benefit of teaching at an after school centre is that once the last lesson is over, there typically isn’t much reason to stay longer other than prepping for future lessons.
Teaching in Hong Kong is a rewarding profession, but the place of employment greatly determines the work schedule and responsibilities of the teacher. Knowing the different expectations of the various educational institutions can help teachers decide which type of school would suit them best. To get a better understanding of what each specific school expects and requires from their teachers in terms of responsibilities and working hours, ask your interviewer during the interview process. To learn more about the process of getting a teaching job in Hong Kong, refer to our guide .