Teachers' concern for students' mental health and social-emotional, and time spent on SEL, needs has increased compared to pre-pandemic.

Are teachers in your district spending more time on SEL?

Teachers said their concern for students' mental health and social-emotional needs has increased compared to prior to the pandemic

More than 80 percent of teachers say they are spending more time than ever on social-emotional learning (SEL), according to a new survey.

Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) released its State of Education May 2022 Report, which surveyed over 2,000 U.S. educators to understand their perspectives on the state of students’ well-being and social-emotional health, the ways in which schools are handling these needs, the role of social-emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom, and the overall health of the teaching profession. 

Key findings from the State of Education May 2022 Report include:

Students’ mental health is top of mind for educators

  • 90% of teachers said their concern for students’ mental health and social-emotional needs has increased compared to prior to the pandemic.
  • 63% of teachers reported that a student or their parent has asked for help with mental health or social-emotional concerns in the past two years.

Teachers are embracing SEL instructional practices in the classroom to support their students’ mental health and well-being, though some do not feel equipped to do so on their own

  • 81% of teachers said they’re spending more time on SEL with their students this school year than in previous years.
  • 94% of teachers said students do better in school when teachers integrate SEL into the classroom.
  • 69% of teachers stated that many of the parents in their district support teaching SEL.
  • Almost a third of teachers (27%) felt SEL should not be taught by teachers themselves, and more than half of them (64%) said that supporting students’ social-emotional needs was too much for them to handle on their own. 
  • When schools do provide SEL-related professional development opportunities, 59% of teachers reported those opportunities did not adequately prepare them to deliver SEL instruction.

Educators increasingly struggle with burnout, more than two years into the pandemic

  • Over half (52%) of teachers are considering a job-related change, which is up from 48% in November 2021.
  • Only 16% of teachers surveyed said they would recommend the profession, which is down from 31% in January 2022.

Teacher well-being is tied to addressing burnout and their capacity to help students; they share several recommendations for support

  • Offering more professional development
  • Hiring counselors and social workers
  • Prioritizing adult SEL
  • Listening to teachers’ feedback
  • Providing support for student behavior

“It’s clear from the survey data that teachers and administrators are working hard under difficult conditions to meet students’ needs,” said Michelle Cummings, Chief Academic Officer at Teachers Pay Teachers. “It’s imperative that we listen to educators’ concerns as well as their advice about what works in schools every day, so that students, educators, and the profession can thrive.”

TPT’s user community of more than 7 million educators gives the company unparalleled insight into teachers’ firsthand perspectives. The State of Education Report is a research series by TPT that takes the pulse of educators and measures the health of the teaching profession. Each edition focuses on challenges educators are facing and shares the promising practices educators are implementing to address them.

The State of Education May 2022 Report by TPT can be downloaded here.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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