Amanda Richards, Possip’s Reporting Team Lead, analyzed data from our Pulse Checks! The results were able to provide us with the top 10 feedback trends from school and district staff for the Spring 22′ Semester.
Teachers and school staff members have shared very important and honest feedback this Spring about their needs and how their own individual schools can improve. Possip has been able to gain important insights that fully value teacher input and voice. This feedback will be crucial going into summer planning for next school year.
We wanted to share the top 10 trends with the hopes that it will bring awareness, understanding, and empathy for teacher feedback and needs. In the fall semester, we heard from over 11,300 staff members who responded through Possip Pulse Checks! 55% of staff members were happy this month.
Top 10 Staff / Teacher Feedback Trends:
2️⃣ Student discipline
3️⃣ Teacher Workloads
5️⃣ School Schedule
7️⃣ Facilities and Cleanliness
8️⃣ Staff Shortages and Teacher Vacancies
9️⃣ Professional Development Sessions and Teacher Training
🔟 Staff Morale
Top 10 Staff Feedback Trends Breakdown:
Staff members are sharing that they don’t feel like they are getting proper pay for all the additional work they are taking on this year. They feel raises also need to be high enough to account for rising inflation. Teachers and staff members are providing ideas for improving compensation like signing bonuses and increased stipends.
#2 Student Discipline and Behavior:
We heard that teachers feel a lack of discipline support on campus and an increase in difficult behavioral situations they experience. Teachers are sharing they don’t feel fully safe on campus, teacher turnover is impacting effective discipline on campus, and are requesting consistent school wide behavior plans with follow-through on consequences. Proactively promote more incentives for students, and find more ways for students to stay motivated towards positive behavior.
#3 Teacher Workloads:
In one Possip© comment from a teacher, they used the term “monumental workload” to describe their current to-do list. Teachers feel like the workload is continuing to increase and negatively impacting their work-life balance. We heard that staff members are asking for a focus on protecting teacher time and decreasing the amount of administrative tasks, like attendance management and cleaning for example, that teachers are required to do daily. Read more on teacher workloads and burnout here.
Teachers provided feedback on new curriculum or ed-tech platforms that districts are using. We heard requests for more vertical alignment in the curriculum, increased time for small groups in their lessons, slower pacing, and additions in course offerings like trade classes. They requested more room for teachers to be creative with their curriculum. Teachers are also frequently asking for more flexibility within their curriculum to meet their student’s needs and requesting to have more voice in what curriculum decisions are being made.
#5 School Schedule:
We heard ideas about changing both the day-to-day schedule (block periods vs. 8-period days) and also changing the yearlong schedule to have shorter summers or a 4-day school week. Staff members also shared feedback about having more inclusive PTO policies for religious holidays. There was also feedback on school schedules after inclement weather days. We heard an overarching theme that teachers should have input in school schedule changes and have a voice in what the daily and yearly calendar is.
Staff members want to feel more connected to their admin and receive clearer and more candid communication. We’ve also heard a theme around not getting responses from emails regarding questions they have. Teachers also want communication from their leaders during the decision making process as to what potential decisions are being made, not just hear after the decision. One interesting idea that stood out in staff feedback is that they want to receive the same communication that is sent out to families. They also feel disconnected from the information families receive. Overall, we heard that teachers feel a lack of communication on campus and want to feel more “in the know”.
#7 Facilities and Cleanliness:
Staff members shared feedback on improving overall cleaning practices on school, more support and staff members on custodian teams, requesting updates to the building on old campuses, and requests to fix HVAC units. We heard teachers discussing the option of cleaning their class themselves, both in favor and opposition to that additional task.
#8 Staff Shortages and Teacher Vacancies:
Staff members discussed having better systems in place for sub coverage so teachers were not responsible for covering classrooms, questions about teacher replacements and next year’s staffing counts, and requests for more clarity on the process for hiring staff members. Teachers also had many concerns about teacher turnover and requests to focus on teacher retention to decrease potential turnover rates. For more info on dealing with teacher vacancies, read here.
#9 Professional Development Sessions and Teacher Training:
Staff members asked for differentiated PD and more training for new teachers. Also shared were specific training topics like best practices for implementing IEPS, how to use new supplemental curriculum materials, Spanish lessons for teachers, and leadership development. We heard an overarching theme that teachers want to have a voice in the PD topics for the year and opportunities to get support on topics they need. If the trainings feel irrelevant for teachers, we noted that they prefer to just have work time or collaboration time with peers. Here is a list of PD programs for teachers!
#10 Staff Morale:
We’ve heard that teachers are looking for more joy on campus and more positivity within their teams. They’ve shared ideas like staff shout-outs, random notes with positive teacher feedback, and gratitude activities thanking teachers throughout the year. We also heard about more time to bond with staff, especially new staff members, and increased opportunities for team building. Staff members shared that they are feeling burned out and nearing their breaking point. Showing grace and appreciation will positively impact the culture in big ways.
If you have questions about these trends, how to resolve them in your school or have staff/teacher feedback on our trends blog, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!