Must Read Blog June 16, 2021

The Resilience of K-12 Teachers

Much of the recent K-12 headlines have focused on the challenges and disillusionment of teaching during a pandemic. While it has certainly been a long 15 months for teachers across the country, a recent Tyton Partners survey, fielded this June, reveals reasons for optimism.

As one academic year ends and another appears on the horizon, teachers are recognizing the gains they’ve made. Despite significant setbacks, many teachers report that their practice has evolved in meaningful ways. We offer perspective on these gains, as well as the resources that have become critical parts of the teacher’s toolkit. Overall, we share a renewed hope for next year, not only because it implies a return to more “normal” teaching conditions, but also because of the resilience of our teachers.

The State of Mind of Teachers

This survey took the pulse of K-12 teachers to get a sense of how their practice evolved this current year – and what next year has in store for them. With many thrust into the unknown of remote learning, they are just now beginning to have the time and space to step back and see the path forward. For most, this will include a return to in-person learning. What solutions did teachers rely on to get them through this current year, and which ones are becoming critical parts of their toolkit moving forward?

Looking back at the current year, teachers report that their performance – along with student outcomes – fell short of expectations

  • 46% of teachers report being less effective this year than in years past, and 66% report students experienced less academic growth than in a typical year
  • Teachers with 20+ years of experience were the most negatively impacted, with half of them reporting that they fell short of expectations

Nevertheless, there were significant gains in some areas of practice such as technology and workflow efficiency

  • 89% of teachers reported their performance improved as it relates to incorporating technology into instruction and 59% improved ”their own efficiency and workflow”

Moreover, teachers will continue to use many of the tools and techniques they incorporated as a result of the pandemic

  • 99% of teacher’s plan to continue incorporating new tools and techniques that they adopted as a result of Covid-19

Teachers anticipate relying even more on learning management systems (LMS) and other classroom management tools (e.g., behavior, participation) next year, even as use of interactive video tools (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams) will decline with a return to schools

  • 80% of teachers report LMS systems will be important to their practice next year, consistent with this current year
  • 70% report classroom management tools will be important – a 12% increase from this current year
  • Compared to this year, 36% less teachers believe video conferencing tools will be important to their practice next year

Top priorities heading into next year include increasing student engagement and building relationships with students

  • 43% of teachers listed increasing student engagement as a top priority and 39% listed building relationships with students

The Bottom Line

For all the disruption caused by the pandemic, it is becoming clear that K-12 teachers are more prepared than ever to embrace new tools and techniques. As suppliers look ahead, they should consider ways to support what matters most to teachers – creating dynamic, engaging, and tech-enabled learning environments where students love to be. In service of this, partners can make sure their products and services support a simple and unified learning experience, drive student engagement, and make teachers’ lives easier.

Regardless of solution type, K-12 stakeholders should ensure their offering is accessible across a variety of platforms and formats, as more teachers than ever will rely on digital classroom and learning management solutions to power their practice.