This post is part of a four-part series connected to an industry report looking at “Using technology in the classroom to better engage students” where 760 teachers shared insights into their challenges. You can read the full report at the end of this post.
Though their comments did indicate an element of concern, more than two-thirds of teachers (70%) were excited about their role. Interestingly, tenure was a factor in their degree of excitement about the day ahead; almost 40 percent of those with more than 20 years’ service remained very excited about their role, whereas only 30 percent of those with fewer years of service concurred.
Responsibilities and expectations (29%) were seen as the hardest part of the job and we gained some insight into this through comments made in other sections. Some teachers said the rigidity of the curriculum made engaging students in their learning difficulties. Others talked about the focus on tests and administration that occasionally seemed more important than the imparting of knowledge itself.
Keeping students engaged was seen as a challenge by 1 in 5 teachers (21%). From their comments about engagement, it is clear that many see the rise of technology as a double-edged sword. There’s no question it has enabled teachers to embrace creativity in the way they deliver messages and also sets the foundation for flexible and student-led learning. But the use of technology has also become a distraction for students—both inside and outside the classroom. Teachers talked of students being too tired to learn and of them using their devices inappropriately.
Teachers also made a number of references to student apathy and an intrinsic lack of desire for learning. For some, no matter how hard they try to engage their students, their efforts fall on deaf ears.
Time management was the third most common challenge (18%). In their comments, some teachers indicate that much of their planning and content creation has to take place outside their core work hours and, in some cases, while on vacation. Some of the comments from teachers also reflect their sadness that they no longer have time to engage with their students 1:1—something many consider key to maintaining engagement.
Technology has also impacted the amount of time teachers have available. While devices and applications have no doubt delivered productivity improvements for many, some say they can be difficult to access or take much longer to load media than they should do.
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