One of the greatest lessons I learned as a former educator turned e-learning company leader is that an organization is only as successful as its employees. Teachers work best when they have the time to build teacher-student relationships, manage their workload, and have the time to recharge in their personal lives.
In reality, teachers have always had many responsibilities, with burnout being a major issue before, during, and even after the pandemic. So much so that many teachers plan to leave the profession in the coming years.
That’s why the academic community should prioritize work-life balance and teacher wellbeing. In the long term, the focus should be on rethinking pay and benefits and adopting significant changes based on their needs.
Why edtech is needed for teacher work-life balance and wellbeing
One of these changes is edtech. Gathering feedback from hundreds of teachers in more than a decade has shown me that educators also benefit immensely from teaching with the help of technology.
Here are just a few reasons why edtech helps teachers find some balance in their lives:
Time management and balance
Like most young teachers, I wanted to inspire my students. Grading mountains of paper and other administrative work felt like all my energy was going towards something inconsequential.
Admin work takes too much time, and it doesn’t have to be this way. What usually takes hours can now be done in a matter of minutes. For example, with the help of a learning platform, teachers can keep everything organized and manage their time accordingly.
There are no more missing assignments since everything is in the system. They can organize classes, use templates to create new classes quickly, and use the class calendar to schedule lessons, among many other things.
Decreasing cognitive load
Teachers have to work smarter, not harder. The long hours and the fatigue that comes with working remotely can negatively impact a teacher’s wellbeing.
School leaders should actively support teachers and do whatever they can to ease their workload. That’s why each hour invested in edtech saves many hours of work in the future, as teachers become more productive and confident in their ability to let edtech do repetitive administrative tasks.
Through smart teaching solutions, teachers are notified whenever students hand in assignments. They can use auto-graded quizzes and give feedback to students promptly. Once the workday is done, teachers should be encouraged to log off and take a break.
Read more: How to overcome digital fatigue as a teacher
Feeling less overwhelmed
Monitoring student progress rarely comes up as a stress factor, but it’s an essential one. Teachers spend a lot of time preparing questions and assessing student progress, which is very hard to do with a full classroom.
This takes up a lot of mental resources. You can also never be one hundred percent sure that students understand everything. However, implementing a mastery-based system, in which lessons and assignments are tagged with competencies, makes it easy to track student progress.
For example, teachers can see whenever a student is struggling with a lesson or concept. They can also quickly intervene, so nobody is left behind in class.
Poor communication leads to more stress in any organization. Teachers sometimes have a hard time managing the parent-school relationship. In many instances, they spend a lot of time discussing student progress face-to-face with parents.
This is great but not always productive, as some things such as communicating news about upcoming school events can be done online. Schools have a unique opportunity to establish remote communication channels between teachers and parents, as the pandemic showed us that not everything has to be discussed face to face.
Moreover, through edtech, parents can log in and see their children’s grades and progress, promoting the mentality that you’re on the same team.
Access to resources
Teachers want to feel appreciated. However, showing appreciation through words of encouragement and promises is not enough.
They need real support based on the most pressing needs. Consequently, a lack of resources adds a lot of stress to a teacher’s daily life. They have to spend even more time solving problems than actually teaching.
Resources have to involve two things. The first is using quality solutions, including edtech. The second is knowledge and time invested in professional development so teachers can feel confident in using whatever resources they have.
Regular wellness meetings
There’s a general tendency to focus solely on students, but edtech can also be used for teacher professional development (PD) courses. Educators can also share their teaching resources with their peers, saving a lot of time.
They can communicate, support each other and create a sense of community, even remotely. This has a significant impact since sometimes all that educators need is for others to listen and empathize.
School leaders can also check in on teachers from time to time, ask for feedback and organize informal meetings to discuss important issues.
We can no longer afford to lose our educators. An open conversation about work-life balance has to be accompanied by practical solutions that solve real teacher problems. One of them is edtech, which is time-efficient and takes some of the workload off the teachers’ shoulders.
Graham is the CEO and Founder of CYPHER LEARNING and NEO. He is a serial entrepreneur, e-learning enthusiast, published author and educator.