Teachers all over the world have something in common: they’re stressed out.
They’re drowning in admin, and they’re struggling to crowbar any leisure time in.
All of this extra work makes it harder than ever for teachers to fulfil their vocations and actually teach.
This has a huge impact not only on teachers, but on the quality of their teaching. Stressed, burned out teachers can’t give the quality of education that students deserve.
Reports from all over the world illustrate that this is a very serious problem. Stressed and overworked teachers are at epidemic levels - and teachers are quitting the profession because of it.
If we are to save the education of future generations, something has to be done - and fast.
Of course, governments and education systems have their part to play in bringing change. However, we believe that technology could come to the aid of the world’s beleaguered educators, and giving teachers the work-life balance they so richly deserve.
The technology for easing teacher administrative burden exists. We believe the time has come for the world’s schools to adopt it.
Teacher stress is not confined to a few educational systems - or even to a few countries. It’s a major issue all over the world:
In the USA, a University of Missouri study reports that 9 in 10 school teachers feel “highly stressed”. This stress has an enormous impact on their quality of life - not to mention their ability to teach.
The researchers believe that a decrease in classroom autonomy and a huge increase in teacher workload (especially admin workload) is at the heart of this problem.
Discussing his study, lead researcher Keith Herman said “I hope we are calling attention to the fact that teachers need our support, as parents, as community members, as policy makers, and as private citizens. When teachers are neglected, our children are neglected."
According to the latest State of Technology in Education (UK and Ireland) report, 81% of educators blame excessive workload for the astronomical stress levels in British teaching.
The UK lost 2000 teachers in 2019, with some making declarations like “I’m getting out before the stress kills me”. Many are working over 70 hours a week to cope with extra admin. That’s an unsustainable workload - and not something most teachers signed up for.
It’s no surprise, then, that Amanda Martin, vice principal of the National Education Union has warned the British government that “We are haemorrhaging from every single area of the profession, from leadership to teachers that are 10 years in.”
Administrative burden is also causing shockwaves in Australia. A report by Monash University has revealed that 71% of Australian teachers feel overworked and underappreciated.
Alarmingly, 58% of survey respondents said that the problem was so bad they were considering leaving the profession - even if they had a strong vocation for teaching.
Dr Amanda Hefferman, who led the study, said that “One of the clearest outcomes of this report is that the administrative burden on teachers needs to decrease significantly so they can spend more time in the classroom with students, and less time feeling stressed and overwhelmed.”
Administrative burden and teacher burnout isn’t just a Western problem. The recent Gess Dubai national education conference put teacher stress front and centre.
Tanya Dharamshi, clinical director of the Priory Wellbeing Centre told attendees that teachers are struggling with an unfair burden. “Often teachers are asked to work late and their mental health is often the last thing on schools’ agenda. They need to write reports, get data, and they are doing these things on their time, which means they are not able to recharge their batteries.”
Some things have always been stressful for teachers. Badly-behaved students, for example, and friction with bosses.
However, recently, teacher stress has reached epidemic levels. And, while we can definitely put the blame for much of this on Covid-19, this isn’t the whole story. Teacher stress was at record levels even before Covid reared its ugly head.
UK charity Education Support thinks there’s a clear culprit for this: overwork.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, funding has been cut for schools across the globe. In many cases, schools have dealt with this by cutting out administrative staff. The admin duties these people used to carry out were transferred to teachers - causing an unmanageable increase in workload.
On top of this, scrutiny of teachers has ratcheted up as governments demand that teachers meet ever-more-stringent academic targets. This makes teacher’s jobs much harder, and causes a lot of anxiety.
As Sinéad McBrearty, chief executive of Education Support puts it; “Overwork has become normalised. Education professionals don’t feel trusted.” This causes massive amounts of stress which, she points out, has a knock-on effect on students.
“We know that [the] performance of anyone in any job is compromised by stress and poor wellbeing. We are going to see that in our classrooms. As it is, 10 million children are spending a significant amount of time every year in high-stress environments – and that is going to affect them.”
All in all, our teachers - people who are vital to the education, development, and futures of our children - need help.
How can we provide that help?
Edutech may have the answer.
The major benefit of automation is the way in which it takes the strain of mundane tasks from humans. Through platforms like Kinteract, teachers can hand over much of their extra workload to automations.
This eases plenty of pressure, and enables teachers to concentrate on what they’re really there for - teaching and supporting students.
Kinteract, for example, is a versatile platform which can perform a variety of tasks quickly and easily. By automating workflows through Kinteract, teachers can rid themselves of hours of admin, and claim time back for themselves.
Here’s a taster of how Kinteract can help teachers reduce their workload:
Teachers spend far too much time scraping together assessment data. Kinteract abolishes all the laborious, mismatched systems teachers have been using for this. It replaces them with simple workflows in which automations do most of the work.
Rather than wading back through files and files of work, reports, attendance records, grade predictions, and so on, teachers can pull every student’s information up at the click of a button. The platform enables users to view student data at school, class, and individual level.
This cuts countless hours from assessment time. With the information right there, in an easily accessible format, teachers can cut straight to the chase and make the insightful assessments that students need.
Making sure that lesson plans track with the demands of curriculums and governing bodies is a headache. Kinteract’s lesson planning tools not only give teachers access to all the resources they need, they also display curriculum pathways and goals. This makes it easy for teachers to follow curriculums while giving the flexibility to teach in their own unique style.
Kinteract automatically tracks student academic progress. Using hashtags, teachers can add things like behavioural and social development markers to student trackers. This enables a holistic view of student progress, automatically recorded and presented in an easy-to-understand format.
When gathering insights, reporting to parents, handing students on to another class, or simply checking student progress, teachers can bring up a complete picture of a student’s educational journey with a single click.
This drastically cuts the time teachers spend logging grades and drawing up reports. By automatically recording student progress, goals, and milestones, Kinteract takes the drudgery out of plotting educational pathways, and cuts straight to the useful endgame: insights which help and support students.
Engaging with parents is vital for good teachers - but it can also be difficult to schedule. Chasing parents and other stakeholders for input and guidance is time consuming, and sometimes frustrating!
Through Kinteract, teachers can easily share personalised summaries of student progress with parents. They can also contact or communicate with parents through one or two-way communication.
Crucially, teachers are always in control of communication - there’s no risk of hardworking teachers being contacted during their rest hours!
Parents also have their own dedicated logins to Kinteract, giving them much more scope for input.
All in all, through Kinteract’s platform, it’s possible to build strong home-school relationships right from the very start.
Modern teachers are suffering unprecedented amounts of stress. As well as the eternal stressors of teaching (badly behaved students have always plagued teachers, and probably always will!) and the (hopefully!) temporary stress of Covid-19, the shifting of admin tasks onto teacher shoulders has led to a generation of overworked, burned-out teachers who just don’t enjoy their jobs.
Online teaching platforms like Kinteract, however, are stepping into the breach. Using cutting edge technology, they allow teachers to pass the admin burden on to automations. Things like lesson planning, progress tracking, assessments, scheduling, reports, and more can all be done quickly, easily, and efficiently by Kinteract.
When tech takes the strain, teachers have more time and energy to pour into the most important aspect of their careers - teaching itself.
Kinteract gives teachers back the time they so richly deserve. It helps them with their admin, and enables them to teach.
By embracing digital platforms like Kinteract, schools all over the world could begin to solve the pressing problem of teacher stress, and restore a sustainable work-life balance for their staff.