Are these the greatest challenges teachers face?

I am incredibly interested in the commonality of challenge faced by teachers. Regardless of context we face many of the same problems. Sure, there are the context specific elements that make your problem unique but largely they can be qualified together. As part of a curiosity experiment I threw out a tweet on Twitter a while back asking for educators to list the greatest challenge that teachers faced in the classroom.

I then compiled the tweets in a Google form and sent out the following tweet.

40 fantastic people completed the quiz and so thank you to those people. While the total number of people who completed the quiz isn’t large, it does paint a really interesting picture. A total of nineteen challenges was listed and below is an ordered list from the largest perceived priority to the smallest.  The number one listed challenge was quality teaching time with students.

Screenshot 2016-06-21 15.16.39
Number 1

Now each of these challenges does require unpacking as there can only be so much that can be relayed in 140 characters and so I’m spending time trying to articulate the real problem.  I have many questions.  Is it time in total that places pressure on teachers?  Is it curriculum pressures?  The word quality needs unpacking as it is fairly ambiguous.  All those questions aside, the lowest score it rated was a three so there is something to this challenge.  As for second place, reaching all students and differentiating was listed as the next greatest challenge for teachers.

Screenshot 2016-06-21 15.17.12
Number 2

The interesting element about this challenge was that it was definitely a high priority but not the highest for many people.  I wonder why.  In third place we had time for curriculum development.

Number 3
Number 3

Time is a common thread between the top three challenges.  I have spent a fair amount of time working with staff at my school to unpack time as a challenge for educators.  My question is whether or not the real challenge is value and not time.  If we value something enough, we give it time.  If we feel that our time, which is valuable is being utilised in poor ways through the direction of others, we make a choice to pull back our investment.  While I can’t speak to any of the contexts above, I am intrigued by the challenge of time for teachers.  The following challenges are listed in their order.

Number 4
Number 4
Number 5
Number 5
Number 6
Number 6
Number 7
Number 7
Number 8
Number 8
Number 9
Number 9
Number 10
Number 10
Number 11
Number 11
Number 11
Number 12
Number 13
Number 13
Number 14
Number 14
Number 15
Number 15
Number 16
Number 16
Number 17
Number 17
Number 16
Number 18
Number 19
Number 19

I have attached a link below to a compilation of the challenges and I have created another survey link that I would love your feedback on.  It is the same survey but a different collector and I have added another box so that people can add their own other challenge.

Click here to access the ordered challenge list.

Click here to access a survey link to have your say or fill out the form directly below.

As always comments and thoughts welcome.

 

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3 thoughts on “Are these the greatest challenges teachers face?

Add yours

  1. What an interesting topic Steve, and equally interesting set of responses. I have no doubt that your ruminations and reflections extended well beyond the limitations of a blog post. What’s even more intriguing though, at least for me, is what’s behind the responses. There are so many ‘why’ questions, like why are some sets of responses skewed towards one end, whilst others are normally(ish) distributed and what does this tell us. Why is ‘time’ at the top of the list and what are the underlying causes? (Would time be such an issue if teachers clocked on and off for a specific number of hours per week?)

    One thing to consider though is that your sample might be skewing your results i.e. how representative of the teacher population in general are Twitter teachers? But I guess you knew that already. Looking forward to hearing further developments.

  2. Thanks as always Ian for your comments and insight. I too was left with more questions than anything. Unpacking the responses further would be step number one. Why? Why? Why? Is the problem or challenge a perception or a real thing? I was also left wondering about the data skews. Is this just a context issue or is it once again not a real challenge? I did share the link with a few non Twitter folk in a bid to balance the opinion but it definitely is representative of only a minority of the public opinion. My next step is to spend time with people unpacking the challenges and adding colour to the black and white of each problem. Will share and keep you posted. Hope you’re well!

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