Think back to your time at elementary or middle school and you’ll probably be able to recall your favorite teachers – the ones that encouraged you and drove you to be better. Maybe they inspired your career choice or helped you get the best out of yourself. And we bet you can remember your least favorite teachers too. Whatever their influence, the impact of an effective – or ineffective – teacher can stay with people for the rest of their lives. That’s why their importance can’t be underestimated. But, as rewarding as it can be, the life of a teacher isn’t easy. It’s an extremely demanding role that comes with many challenges. For example, teachers must build relationships with hundreds of students at a time, taking into account different personalities and learning styles. They have to provide discipline while working under constant pressure from school boards and parents. And they have endless paperwork to deal with – the grading and lesson planning never stops! It's therefore no surprise that growing numbers of educators are considering whether the career is right for them. And does this mean digital teaching platforms have a key role to play in providing a teacher experience that will keep them around long-term?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were around 10.6 million educators working in public education in January 2020. At the start of 2022, this had dropped to 10 million – a net loss of approximately 600,000. The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey found that the ratio of hires to job openings in the education sector reached new lows as the 2021-22 school year started. It stood at 0.59 hires for every open position, a major decrease from 1.06 in 2016. This has largely been down because of Covid-19. Around 2.6 million educators and staff quit public education jobs in K-12 and higher education during the pandemic, with 474,000 resignations coming during the first four months of 2022. This isn’t surprising. Like many industries, Covid-19 put a huge amount of physical, financial and emotional stress on teachers, while at the same time upending what the school day looked like. As a result, 44% of public schools report having either full- or part-time teacher vacancies and 61% had a greater number of teacher and staff vacancies in January 2022 due to the pandemic. This all paints the picture of an industry that is struggling to engage and retain its most important people. And the future outlook is equally concerning. According to the National Education Association (NEA), more than half (55%) of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned. This represents a significant increase from 37% in August 2021. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they all will leave. There are plenty of factors that will always pull some teachers back to the classroom – the biggest ones being a love for their students, love for the subjects they teach, and the retirement benefits on offer. But we can’t ignore the fact that more and more educators are thinking about hanging up their marker pens for good. The vast majority (86%) of NEA members say they have seen more educators leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of the pandemic, with stress (91%) and burnout (90%) both being serious problems. This all leaves the education industry with an important question to answer: what can we do to give teachers the support they need?
Aside from their natural love for the profession, it’s the day-to-day experience that will decide whether educators stay long-term or leave class early. With burnout and stress being such major issues, the key is to provide a teacher experience that is as positive and tension-free as possible. And we’re not talking about chair massages, gym discounts or casual Fridays. One of the main ways schools can deliver an experience that delights rather than drains is by implementing digital teaching platforms that empower educators to work more efficiently and effectively. Software can be used to support teachers and help educators grow in their craft, as well as having a valuable role to play in:
Let’s consider a real-world example. Teachers spend a huge amount of time developing tests, marking work, and analyzing student progress. It’s one of the reasons why teachers commonly work 50-hour weeks and average 400 hours of overtime each year. But the right digital teaching platform can significantly streamline these processes. Software can make it much easier for teachers to design and build tests – such as drag-and-drop interfaces – while providing a centralized digital hub for student responses. Such a tool would provide valuable data insights that teachers can use to monitor groups of students and understand the complete picture of a student's progress. As well as saving educators’ time, taking a digital-first approach to testing will give them easy access to the information they need to help students develop.
We’re dedicated to empowering educators. Our suite of tools reinforce success in the classroom by synthesizing the three essentials of education: instructing, learning and assessing.
Aware: assess and monitor student progress through a dynamic analysis engine that analyzes multiple indicators of success for deeper student insights – all while ensuring an intuitive yet powerful test construction process.
Strive: take professional growth to the next level. Facilitate the transformation of disconnected evaluation procedures into a comprehensive, growth focused program – with easily customizable appraisals, goals and learning plans.
Forethought: make the process of building and updating lessons fast and easy. Leverage a planner that directly integrates with district resources and state standards to create a living, breathing curriculum.
This is just scratching the surface of what’s possible. Staff shortages and increasing demands are putting pressure on teachers like never before, but digital transformation can go a long way towards plugging the gap. This is what can give educators the breakthrough they need and deserve. As we look toward the future, transforming the teacher experience through technology will be key to reinvigorating an industry that has experienced a huge amount of disruption over recent years – yet remains invaluable to society. Our teachers shouldn’t be overwhelmed and overburdened. They shouldn’t feel like they’re not being supported in the right way. Instead, they should be empowered to perform to the best of their ability and spend as much time as possible doing what they love most: shaping children’s lives. That’s the power of a digital-powered teacher experience. Want to learn more about how we’re helping school districts and educators to simplify the ‘aha’ moment? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or request a demo.
Approx. net loss
Teachers are essential members of our society. Perhaps most importantly, teachers provide the foundation that helps children succeed in life.
Back when I was a teacher in the nineties, I attended staff development on a regular basis. When I became an instructional coach, we called it professional development.
I want to talk about the hot topic of Student Growth, but I’m going to take the long way around. So let's begin with a little pop quiz: