Last spring I did some teaching at a university. It was my first time. It was a temporary position. I was there 1 semester only. I was paid by the hour.

A couple of things caught my eye about the arrangement:

  1. They only paid for the time I spent teaching in a scheduled group setting.

  2. They did not pay for prep time.

By prep time, I mean the time I spent getting ready for a particular class. I saw this term being used elsewhere on SE Academia, not sure how common it is...

In what countries / universities / contexts is it common to not pay teachers for the time they spend preparing a lecture?

FWIW I was teaching an undergraduate media studies course at a private creative industries-type university in South America.

  • Were you actually paid as an hourly employee, or do you mean you were paid per course hour (aka credit) taught? – Bryan Krause Nov 1 '18 at 21:39
  • Was it a stated hourly rate and your pay check only included the taught hours? Most adjunct positions in the US pay by the class/credit and therefore everyone gets paid the same regardless of how long it takes to prep. – StrongBad Nov 1 '18 at 21:40
  • @BryanKrause If I'm understanding you correctly, I'd say I was paid as an hourly employee. Thanks! – user3745384 Nov 1 '18 at 21:46
  • @StrongBad There was an hourly rate, and the paycheck only reflected the taught hours. Thanks! – user3745384 Nov 1 '18 at 21:47
  • If your university started "paying" for prep time, you would find out that the hourly wage would go down proportionately and that your pay at the end would be identical. – user9646 Nov 2 '18 at 11:33

It is quite common in the UK for hourly payed lecturers to bill University for contact teaching hours only. The rate is usually significantly higher than the hour worth of a full-time lecturer, to account for (unbilled) preparation time.

  • This describes so-called "contractual academic staff" in Australia. The higher rate incorporates preparation time, but also includes compensation for such things as superannuation and other benefits that they wouldn't receive. – St. Inkbug Nov 2 '18 at 0:12

My experience is in the US, and here I think paying by the hour is very rare other than in a consulting situation where it is expected that the person already has the needed expertise and needs no prep time.

Here, one is paid by the course and in a situation like yours the pay would be (likely) very low, but not by the hour, specifically.

Since this is a private institution, it may be that they thought of it as more of a consultancy than a lectureship.

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