New data examines the state of teachers, their well-being in the U.S. and how the profession has changed in the year of AI.

Amid burnout, teachers are ready to embrace AI

New data examines the state of teacher well-being in the U.S. and how the profession has changed in the year of AI

Key points:

As the 2023-2024 school year comes to an end, K-12 teachers in the U.S. are widely experiencing strain at work, with 35 percent of U.S. educators reporting burnout on most days, leading to absenteeism and a decline in instructional quality as consequences. 

That’s according to new data from Canva, a visual communication platform offering free tech tools for the classroom. The report investigates what is causing teacher burnout, how it impacts their work, and whether technology like AI is emerging as a helpful resource. 

When it comes to burnout, the findings indicate that most teachers experience it, and it often inhibits them from thriving at work:

K-12 teachers experiencing burnout aren’t alone

  • Nearly all (83 percent) teachers experience burnout at least some days, with 35 percent experiencing burnout daily or most days. 
  • Primary drivers include strenuous classroom and student management responsibilities (46 percent), lack of administrative support (42 percent), low compensation (38 percent), and the need to work outside of school hours (37 percent).
  • Sixty-six percent of teachers report working beyond contractual hours, with 24 percent clocking an additional three hours daily.

Burnout can have a dire impact on the classroom experience:

  • Teacher burnout can lead to heightened absenteeism, with 55 percent of teachers missing school days.
  • Fifty-three percent also agree that it has caused them to feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, and 45 percent have less patience with students.
  • An additional 34 percent have lost interest in their job and decreased the quality of their instruction. 

Burnout sets in early in the year and impacts teachers’ feelings about the profession overall:

  • Thirty-five percent of teachers felt burnout within the first two months of the most recent school year.
  • Regardless of age or generation, 57 percent have considered quitting or switching schools due to burnout.

When it comes to reducing the strain, teachers cited receiving higher salaries (61 percent) and maintaining a healthier work-life balance (44 percent) as things that would help. Technology alone is not a solution, but many teachers are open to AI as a solution to address some of their pain points and support their work: 

There’s a strong correlation between educator AI use and job satisfaction

  • Forty-six percent of satisfied teachers use AI, as opposed to only 26 percent of unsatisfied teachers.
  • During this past school year, 42 percent of K-12 teachers used AI in the classroom.

AI can improve the education experience:

  • Among those using AI, 92 percent found it helpful in addressing teaching pain points. Sixty percent agreed AI could improve work efficiency and 58 percent attested that AI helped alleviate burnout 
  • AI has also helped promote more creativity and visual communication in the classroom. Fifty-one percent use AI to create and supplement classroom materials, 38 percent use AI to spark students’ imagination and creativity, and 37 percent use it to improve the visual elements of their work

Those who haven’t tried AI yet are optimistic about its potential:

  • Over half (56 percent) of teachers who haven’t tried AI believe it can help reduce burnout, with a pronounced belief among Gen Z and Millennial teachers (63 percent) and teachers with less than five years of experience (75 percent). 
  • Among those who haven’t adopted the technology, 68 percent are likely to try AI for curriculum and planning, with kindergarten and elementary teachers most likely (72 percent). 

“We often hear from our teacher communities about needing to achieve more with less. Teaching stress is complex and can’t be solved with any one tool. Still, it’s encouraging to see that teachers benefit from AI in alleviating their workloads, saving time, and unlocking their creativity,” said Carly Daff, Head of Teams and Education at Canva.

This press release originally appeared online.

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