D2L, a global learning technology company, in partnership with District Administration, today released the results of its U.S. K-12 Teacher Burnout Strategies Survey of more than 1,000 school district superintendents and administrators across the United States.
K-12 educators have faced unprecedented challenges over the past few years. These survey findings show that 98% of respondents believe that teacher burnout and retention is a significant issue in their district, and 90% expect burnout to challenge future teacher recruitment. More significantly, this research identified school leaders’ interest in new classroom approaches and teacher supports that better help to optimize teachers’ time.
An opportunity for new ideas
While a strong majority of respondents identified that increased salaries, improved benefits, and more wellness support is one of (66%), or the most (29%), important of factors to reduce burnout and increase retention, nearly as many (69% and 12%) identified the important role of reimagining the traditional classroom instructional model to help with these challenges.
The survey revealed that educators have a desire for new ideas and strategies to help tackle burnout that are not being widely implemented. Those include:
- Four-day school week – 53% of educators felt that a four-day school week and a flipped classroom would help improve burnout, while only 11% of respondents were seen to be currently implementing or considering this as a possible solution to educator burnout.
- Automation of administrative and instructional tasks – 40% of educators felt that the automation of administrative, communication and instructional tasks would help improve burnout by freeing up teacher time, while only 14% of respondents were seen to be implementing this as a possible solution.
- Creative agency – 40% of educators identified that “flexible curriculum enabling more teacher/student agency, creativity and engagement” would be helpful to reduce teacher fatigue and increase their satisfaction, retention and recruitment, while only 18% are currently implementing or considering such practices for that purpose.
A strong desire for better supports
Additionally, the survey also found schools implementing or considering other strategies to help reduce burnout, many of which involve the use of technology. Those include: opportunities for teacher collaboration such as sharing courses, curriculum or lessons (63%), personalized and flexible professional development (35%), and blended learning to increase time for 1:1 or small group instruction (34%).
Although technology is sometimes seen as contributing to teacher fatigue, three-quarters of respondents (74%) agreed that effective use of technology can help optimize teachers’ time and should be a critical component in helping improve teacher engagement, satisfaction and retention. When asked what capabilities of technology would be most helpful, respondents identified: automating or simplifying tasks and workflows (52%), enhancing family engagement (44%), and differentiating instruction to meet individual needs (40%). Many of these top answers were features that would help to make teachers’ jobs easier, more efficient and more effective.
“It is tempting to view teacher shortages as a short-term pipeline and retention challenge, but it is more symptomatic of a long-term systems challenge that we can help address through new teacher supports and tools that optimize their teaching time and impact,” said Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director for the Future of Teaching and Learning at D2L. “We have a unique need and opportunity to rethink our models to better support and position our teachers to increase student success. We can uplift our teachers if we can lift and encourage our teachers’ capacity.”
To learn more about this survey, please visit www.d2l.com/blog/burnout-survey/.
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