How LanSchool’s virtual teaching can support educators facing burn out
October 27, 2022
For students, teachers are so much more than educators – they’re mentors, encouragers, and advocates. They’re patient and knowledgeable, empathetic, and engaging. Teachers’ consistent dedication instills a lifelong love of learning and inspires students to pursue their dreams. In short, teachers are irreplaceable.
Throughout the pandemic, educators around the world doubled down on their commitment to helping students succeed, persevering through some of the hardest school years in recent memory. Unfortunately, the aftermath of the pandemic has left many teachers feeling burned out. In a recent survey released by The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest union representing nearly 3 million educators, an alarming 55% of respondents indicated they are ready to leave teaching earlier than planned. To further complicate the issue, the pipeline of new teachers is growing smaller. In fact, the NEA reports that only 10% of educators would strongly recommend the profession to a young adult.
As the United States faces potential teacher shortages, schools around the country must implement new strategies to support educators and help solve this complex problem. One way schools are choosing to bridge the gap is by leveraging virtual teaching for certain classes.
Why virtual teaching?
In the same survey from the NEA, 80% of educators say they are taking on more work due to unfilled job openings within their district. Additionally, 92% of those surveyed support hiring more support staff.
In the wake of 2020’s school closures, many schools are now better equipped to supplement with virtual classes as a temporary measure while looking for new staff. School technology has evolved to include more devices and distance learning software, and students are also now accustomed to learning from a teacher who isn’t physically present.
Most teachers and administrators will agree that having an in-person teacher who is focused on each student’s progress is the preferable learning format for students. However, in the event of teacher shortages, schools could utilize virtual teaching to help support their in-person staff.
How virtual teaching works
To meet their pressing needs, some schools are turning to staffing agencies to help provide part- or full-time virtual teachers who are certified in their respective states. These teachers work from home and broadcast their lessons to multiple classrooms at the same time. Typically, the school will also hire a paraprofessional, such as a teaching aide, to serve as the physical proctor for students as they learn.
One district in Spring, Texas implemented this model in January 2022 after experiencing an unprecedented 277 teacher vacancies. Dr. Christian Winn, the Executive Director of Performance Management at Spring ISD explains, “We were looking for an innovative response to the high number of teacher vacancies. The teachers that are staffed in these positions remain with the students for the duration of the semester so it’s a step above having a long-term substitute in so many ways that first of all, they’re certified in the content, but also the students see the same teacher every day.”
Virtual teaching provides certain key benefits for teachers who want or need to work from home due to disabilities, childcare needs, difficulties commuting, or simple lifestyle preferences. However, students typically will not receive the same level of individual attention from a virtual teacher as they would an in-person teacher. That’s why it’s important for schools to provide the in-class paraprofessional with the support, training, and tools they need to step into a more personal, teacher-like role with the students in their classroom.
How LanSchool can help
If schools opt to utilize virtual teaching, LanSchool’s classroom management software can play a huge role in helping to keep students on track and focused as they’re learning on their digital devices. Teachers’ aides can use LanSchool to:
- View students’ onscreen activities from a central dashboard, so they always know what kids are working on
- Discreetly message students when they get off track
- Open the same website on all student devices
- Blank students’ screens to redirect their focus to the virtual teacher
- Monitor students’ battery status to avoid unexpected interruptions
- Take screenshots to share student work or examples of students’ individual challenges with administrators or parents
Although virtual teaching should never replace in-person teaching, it could serve as a stop-gap to ensure schools are able to fill vacancies and provide their educators with the support they desperately need during these times.
If you’re experimenting with virtual teachers, ensure you’re giving teaching aides the technology they need to hone their soft teaching skills. They will never replace teachers, but with the right support, they may be able to provide temporary relief.
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