1 in 5 teachers unlikely to return if classrooms open this fall: poll
Classrooms across the country may look drastically different upon reopening, as nearly 1 in 5 teachers say they’re unlikely to return to the classroom if schools reopen in the fall, a new poll found.
The concerning figure is even higher among teachers 55 and older, with one in four saying they don’t foresee themselves back in front of young minds in the coming months, according to a USA Today/Ipsos poll released Tuesday that polled 505 teachers from kindergarten through high school.
“As our world has changed, almost everything we do has changed, including how we view and approach education,” Ipsos president Chris Young said.
“Though Americans are optimistic about a return to in-person learning, there is angst among teachers, parents, and America at large about how to keep our schools safe if the virus isn’t fully contained.”
In addition, 83 percent of teachers polled said they’re having more difficulty in their current jobs and two-thirds said they’ve been unable to work properly since starting to teach remotely.
“For the first time … these last three months have felt like I’ve been doing a job, doing this to earn a paycheck,” Ohio high school teacher Andy Brown, 43, told the newspaper.
“The engagement level with the students hasn’t been there, and that’s the reason I got into this career — the interaction and the engagement and the seeing and feeling their excitement.”
Newer teachers reported having a tougher time with remote education than their more experienced counterparts — with 60 percent of those with less than five years on the job saying they weren’t trained well for their new reality, the poll found.
A parallel poll of 403 parents of students from kindergarten through high school also found that 52 percent of parents felt teachers have struggled with remote learning.
However, a “significant share” of both teachers and parents polled — about 40 percent — said they’re against returning to classrooms before a coronavirus vaccine is discovered, USA Today reports.
And nearly one-third of parents, according to the poll, said they’re “very likely” to consider at-home options instead of sending their kids back to reopened classrooms.
Among possible solutions, about two-thirds of teachers and parents back the idea of in-class instruction up to three days a week. The same portion of both groups also support the idea of having teachers at high risk of contracting COVID-19 to keep teaching online, the survey found.
The survey of teachers and parents had credibility intervals — similar to a margin of error — of plus or minus 5 and 5.6 percentage points, respectively.
Some teachers also expressed concern about children exercising proper social distancing and wearing masks while in school, which nearly 8 in 10 educators said they expect to wear once they return.
“Having to be 6 feet apart is difficult for adults, and it’s even more difficult for kids,” Pennsylvania elementary school teacher Andrea Rodriquez, 23, told USA Today.
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