Unlike what most people think, teaching is a highly demanding profession. Yes, the name may speak for itself, but it does not entirely capture what it truly means to be a teacher in the 21st century. The basics of the teaching profession include preparing and presenting class material to students, assigning and grading homework, and tracking and documenting students' progress. This just goes to show how teachers are essentially the center of students' resources while at school, because as listed above, teachers are responsible for the most fundamental aspects of a child's education. These tasks, however, are not as easy and plain as they may sound to an outsider, because they actually require a lot of work and effort on the teacher’s part. Even so,
Effective teachers know that the students in their classes differ in capabilities, learning speeds, and general ease of learning. This means that they need to create material that caters to all these different types of students.
On top of these efforts, teachers are also responsible for menial tasks such as reviewing students’ homework, constructing and marking quizzes and exams, attendance tracking, scheduling office hours with multiple students, and many other elements that come with ensuring that the students placed under their care get the best quality of education possible. This is also in addition to the pressure that some parents may put on the teachers to make sure that the students perform well and are able to progress to the next stage of their educational journey.
This could still sound somewhat breezy, therefore to get the exact picture of what teachers go through, here is a report from oecd-ilibrary.org that states that:
"On average across countries, teachers spend half of their working time in non-teaching activities including planning lessons, marking and collaborating with other teachers."
This is a reality for many teachers out there, so clearly they have a lot on their plates. However, one may wonder: Why are teachers responsible for all these things that they need to take care of apart from just teaching?
Teachers are the backbone of educational institutions. They are the bridge between what students know when they join an institution and when they leave. The change that is observable in students’ academic knowledge between those two points is mainly due to the effort and work of teachers. Therefore, given the seriousness of the role that teachers have to play, schools invest a good portion of their budget to ensure that they get qualified and able personnel to teach the students enrolled in the institutions. Naturally then, schools aim to maximize this investment, thus leading to making teachers accountable for many different aspects of students' lives. So, why exactly do they resort to this solution? The first reason is almost obvious: to save money. Educational facilities already spend so much money on building costs, cleaning and maintenance costs, transport costs, food costs, and other staff members' salaries, hence they would want to make sure that whenever they can manage to squeeze in some redundancy... they will. Secondly, they want to maintain a low student-staff ratio. Most universities use this as a criterion for marketing i.e. the lower the ratio, the more closely-knit the community is said to be. And this attracts many students to certain schools, because the students are promised more closeness with their professors as the ratio goes down. However, do these means really justify the end? No, because this is not what teachers sign up for, and it’s unfair to bulk up their schedules without giving them resources and means to navigate these extra roles that they are expected to serve in.
And why exactly should people care about this? It is because parents and guardians want the students to get the education they pay for when they send their children off to school, and teachers also want to fulfill their responsibilities in the role that their institutions placed them in.
If it is the students’ progress that people care about, then shouldn’t they also care about the very people responsible for running this process? If teachers are walking around feeling overwhelmed by these minute details that they have to put in place, this not only affects their ability and preparedness to perform in class, but also the quality of education that students are getting in schools.
This, however, does not mean that the tasks that teachers are currently responsible for should stop being monitored. They are very significant parts of the students’ school experience, and still need to be in check. Furthermore, this does not imply that new positions should be opened up just to perform these really small tasks because as mentioned above, part of the reason why institutions give teachers multiple duties is that they are trying to save money on salaries. So what are the practical solutions ?
Since it has already been established that teachers have a lot of responsibilities and that there is a need to help ease this burden, what exactly can they (teachers) do about it? The answer to that would be: better planning - not on the institutions part, rather on the teachers' part. Institutions are already working hard to ensure that there are some duties that are being rotated among their teaching staff, and in some cases, teaching assistants are hired, but these solutions by themselves… are not sustainable. First, rotation is merely postponing these duties off to a later period in time, and most teaching assistants are usually not trained to cater to the needs of students the way teachers are. Therefore, teachers need to be equipped with better tools to enable them to plan better for all the obligations they have. Lack of planning will risk them jumping blindly from one lesson to another.
So, how does Edvora help you plan?
We introduce you to a digital system that can manage all these features in one place. This is because we understand that if teachers are able to do all this digitally, a lot of time will be saved that would have otherwise been spent performing very trivial tasks. Edvora offers systems that are able to take care of small issues ranging from attendance taking, scheduling, and administration to assignment handling, notes documenting, and many more. The point is… it doesn’t have to be done manually, and if there is a better option, why not take it? In other words, why not take advantage of the tools that Edvora is readily making available to help teachers be better planners? Therefore, we welcome you to reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think about other features we can integrate so that teachers are able to spend more time doing what they really signed up to be doing.