Learning has, for most of the country, shifted online as the country struggles to address the growing coronavirus pandemic. But before this major shift, a report took a look at the state of teaching as it pertains to curriculum and planning, social media use, funding, and future plans.
The survey comes from the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM (IAS), an online resource supporting teachers and others using arts integration and STEAM education through professional development.
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About 37 percent of surveyed educators are arts teachers, followed closely by general classroom teachers at 29 percent, and 14 percent identify themselves as STEM teachers.
The state of teaching
1. Teachers are overwhelmed. Ninety-one percent say they take work home, and 91 percent of teachers also say they pay for additional resources or professional development out of their own pockets. Teachers lack the time and resources required to meet their responsibilities. They also feel undervalued.
2. Teachers do have access to curriculum and planning time. A majority of teachers surveyed (65 percent) indicate that schools contributed to their professional development costs.
3. Social media plays a major role in instruction, with 92 percent of teachers using social media or websites to supplement their teaching or lessons. Most-used social media and websites include YouTube, Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Teacher-created materials and professional development saw a surge this year–teachers trust other teachers and will spend their own money to purchase materials from other teachers.
4. Teachers don’t always feel seen and heard as professionals. They have concerns surrounding competing priorities, student behaviors, and lack of resources to accomplish meeting the needs of all learners. Fifty-five percent say they would ask for more support and respect from administrators, parents, and community members.
5. Many teachers are focusing on social and emotional learning in 2019-2020–58 percent of surveyed teachers say it’s a major focus this year, followed by 40 percent saying closing the achievement gap is a big focus.
The survey also includes a sample of teacher responses to drive home the state of teaching and what teachers need today.
“We are woefully under-appreciated by parents, administrators, and the public. We spend hundreds of dollars a year of our own money. We do not feel safe and we are not supported by the school system or administration. We are underpaid and our budgets are too small.”
“The idea of students learning critical thinking, interaction, and problem solving is being taken over by programs that keep students on a computer for many hours during the school day. They are losing the ability to follow directions from humans. This is not preparing them for adulthood.”