Amanda Richards, Possip’s Reporting Team Lead, analyzed data from our Pulse Checks! The results were able to provide us with the top 10 staff trends from this past September!
We know October can be a historically difficult month in schools. We also know that teachers and staff members have powerful ideas, feedback, and solutions to share! As we go into October, we wanted to share the top trends from September to reflect on and highlight staff voices.
This past month, we heard from over 6,473 staff members who responded through Possip Pulse Checks! 62% of staff members were happy this month.
What is top of mind for teachers and school staff the past few weeks?
Here are the top trends that teachers and staff are talking about:
#1: Administration Feedback
Teachers and staff members shared a need for more support from their administration. For example, they want more positivity as leaders and more communication with staff. Some specific examples that were trending include taking away planning periods for meetings, school logistics feeling disorganized, unclear expectations for teachers, and a desire to improve morale on campus. A few trending words that came up in this topic frequently included consistency, respect, clarity, empathy, support, and transparency.
#2: Teacher Workloads
Teachers feel like the workload is overwhelming and leading to teacher burnout. We heard that staff members need more staff members to divide the work. They have too much paperwork and administrative things being added to their plates. They also have feedback about the number of tasks they are having to bring home to complete daily. Overall, teachers shared that they feel overworked and need more time and support to complete their daily duties on campus.
Teachers are asking for a pay increase to adjust for both the extra responsibilities that are being added to their roles, along with rising inflation costs. Also, we heard a lot from hourly staff members, like aids and paraprofessionals, that had feedback about not being paid consistently on time and that they also are advocating for a pay raise.
#4: Student Discipline and Behavior
We heard that teachers feel a lack of discipline structures, systems, and support on campus and an increase in more severe behavioral situations. Many staff members are asking for the administration to be more intimately involved and supportive of these behavioral needs. In addition, they want more consistency and clarity on the consequences students receive.
#5: Teacher Duties & Requirements
Teachers discussed having to take on mandatory duties like lunch duty, paperwork responsibilities, increased instructional expectations, club sponsorship, parent call requirements, and more. There were requests to decrease or eliminate many of these extra responsibilities to make teaching more sustainable and allow them to focus on academics and planning.
#6: Professional Development Sessions and Teacher Training
Staff members shared feedback on current training content and requested specific content for future training. More specifically, we also heard a lot of feedback on the logistics and timing of training. This includes the negative impact that pulling teachers and administration off campus for training has on the campus. They requested that training doesn’t require subs or staff members to leave during school hours. In addition, they requested that training communication is sent out clearly in advance to provide more preparation time.
#7 Staff Shortages and Teacher Vacancies
Teachers shared concerns about unfilled positions on campus and substitute teacher shortages. This had led to increased class sizes, teachers losing planning periods to cover classes, and a higher workload for all staff members. We heard requests for a district focus on hiring and recruitment of teachers and requests to speed up the process of getting new hires on campus.
#8: Planning Time
Teachers shared feedback about losing their planning time consistently to things like IEP meetings or coaching sessions. Teachers are requesting an extended planning period incorporated into the school schedule. They want allotted planning days to catch up, protect planning time from meetings or other conflicts, and use PD time occasionally for extra teacher planning. It was clear that teachers have been taking home a majority of their planning and doing it outside of school hours, and feel that it should be a focus area to protect teacher planning time and work-life balance.
#9: IEP/504 Support
Teachers are seeing a higher volume of students who qualify for special education services or 504 support. They are requesting more resources and training from school SPED departments. Also, we also heard staff members wanting more consistent best practices for implementing IEPs and 504s for students, along with more individualized support for students. Teachers also want to ensure they are all fully equipped to understand each individual student’s plan. They need more time and support to familiarize themselves with each plan. Overall, teachers are requesting more support to meet every student’s needs in their classrooms.
#10: Curriculum Feedback
Teachers provided feedback on the new curriculum they are using this year, with the math-specific curriculum being a frequently discussed content area. We heard requests for more curricular integration between grade levels and content. In addition, they want more advanced class options for students, and more resources like access to library books to support the curriculum. Teachers commented also on the speed and pacing of the content. Also, they wanted more time to plan and customize the curriculum to fit the needs of their classrooms.
If you have questions about these trends, how to resolve them in your school or have feedback on our trends blog, please reach out to the Possip team here!
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