How Remote Learning is Taking a Toll on Teachers
As the world has switched to remote learning, students are facing many accessibility, comprehension and environmental challenges. Besides students and parents, the struggle has gotten more intense for teachers.
A recently conducted survey by Channel 3 in Connecticut, U.S.A, highlights the struggles that teachers in Connecticut are facing in taking remote classes while handling their own families.
Over 1000 respondents (teachers) shared different aspects of their struggle in adapting to distance learning modes.
The responses shared by the Connecticut teachers reflect, if not 100% but to some extent, the struggles that educators all over the world are currently dealing with.
The findings of the survey are listed below, followed by some solutions that we recommend to ease the pressure on teachers.
Challenges Faced by Teachers
Stress Levels: As per the survey, most of the teachers said that on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) their stress levels were around 8.
?They consistently use the word overwhelmed,? said Mary Yordon, the president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers.
Higher Workload: Seventy four percent teachers said they have more workload since the start of remote learning due to coronavirus.
Gauging Student?s Needs: Teachers said that their biggest challenge is that they aren?t able to see students face to face.
?Reading a child?s panicked expression, helping that child four times in five minutes because they just couldn?t understand the directions. All that is impossible when you?re not in the room,? Yordon said.
Technological Challenges: Technology is the second biggest challenge for teachers.
Teachers are having to learn how to create digital lessons, use Google Classroom, and upload and check assignments on their own.
Some teachers find technology limiting in creating and delivering quality lessons. An algebra teacher, Wendy Lou Duong at Maloney High School in Meriden, went on to spend $800 out of her own pocket on purchasing a Microsoft Surface Pro to be able to ?show and tell? students how to solve questions. She even went on to post lessons on Youtube.
District?s Underpreparedness: About 71 percent of teachers said that they are learning on their own how to deliver remote lessons. This has made the learning curve very steep for some teachers.
About half the respondents said that their districts didn?t do well in preparing for online and remote learning.
The Personal Juggle: Teachers are not only struggling with creating quality lessons and delivering them properly to students with varied needs, but many have to care for their families, too. About one-third of the respondents said they were doing their best in executing lesson plans while caring for their own children who are also stuck at home.
Accessibility by Students: While teachers are putting in a lot of hardwork in preparing and delivering lessons, many students still don?t have access to the necessary digital tools for remote learning. This heightens the challenges faced by parents and educators.
Here?re a few ways in which, we think, districts can go about helping teachers feel less stressed and more equipped to carry out remote learning more effectively.
Tips and Tools on Creating Lessons: Districts can create a common bank of resources, to which teachers can contribute or derive lessons from. This sharing of content will help ease the burden off teachers who are not well-equipped to create apt lessons for remote delivery.
Districts can also create a resource of websites, apps and software that teachers can use to make their job easy.
Best Practices for a Constructive Environment: A set of guidelines and best practices can be shared for teachers on how to balance work and personal activities.
Discussion Forums: District-wide forums can be created for teachers to share challenges and solutions. This will help teachers destress and come up with creative solutions in collaboration.
Voluntary online training: Districts can create videos or live training modules on online teaching for teachers, who can sign up for self-training, if they feel that they are struggling with digital tools and technology.
We welcome teachers to add more possible solutions to this list by leaving comments below.
It?s important to create an environment where teachers can share their REAL struggles, as they are in the forefront of delivering education.
Identifying real struggles of teachers and students and finding creative and inclusive solutions to them will help make remote learning more robust and smooth for all.
Feel free to share your struggles as students, parents, and educators and the kind of solutions you?d like to see from your state, district, school and yourself.
For more edtech news and articles, stay tuned.
– April 30, 2020, How Remote Learning Looks for Students with Special Needs
– April 28, 2020, Role of EdTech Before, During and Post COVID-19 Lockdown
– April 13, 2020, Top 5 Essential Remote Learning Tools for Higher Ed