Upbeat Releases New Report Highlighting Stark Differences in K-12 Teachers’ Experiences Across Hybrid, Remote & In-person Learning

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In-person learning is linked to a higher sense of success for teachers & higher reported levels of student engagement. Strong working conditions continue to be critical across in-person, hybrid or remote learning settings.

Today, Upbeat, the nation’s leading K-12 teacher engagement and retention tool released a new report titled “Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Working Conditions During the Pandemic” that summarizes the experiences of 11,442 educators teaching during the Fall semester of 2020 across in person, remote and hybrid settings. Upbeat collected responses to their Teacher Engagement Survey from 303 schools in 17 districts in New York, Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Georgia and Vermont between October 13, 2020 and January 4, 2021. The report, written by Dr. Matt Kraft, Dr. Nicole Simon and Dr. Maleka Donaldson, reveals that teaching mode or the method in which teachers were delivering instruction this past Fall had a strong impact on teachers’ working environment.

Overall teachers who taught remotely in some form had more negative working experiences in their schools. Teachers who taught remotely in some form were much more likely to rate their work/life balance poorly compared to teachers who taught exclusively in person and were more likely to hold negative views about the resources and facilities that were made available to them for teaching. “When we were reviewing the data we were particularly interested to look into the differences across different teaching modes and methods. This was a great opportunity to examine large-scale data on teachers' experiences teaching remotely or across various hybrid settings.” shared Dr. Matt Kraft, one of the authors of the report. “We predicted that teaching remotely and in hybrid settings would create more challenging experiences and the survey results proved that to be the case.”

Across hybrid, remote and in-person learning environments, teachers were the least satisfied with their compensation and career path opportunities, work/life balance, and the diversity and cultural competencies of their schools.
-45% of teachers reported negative perceptions of compensation and career path, and 36% reported negatively about work-life balance.
-While relatively few teachers reported negative perceptions of inclusion and equity efforts at their schools (8% and 7% respectively), over one-quarter held negative perceptions of diversity (26%) and/or cultural competence (29%).

The researchers also tracked teachers' sense of success amongst a common sample of teachers for whom Upbeat has repeated survey responses across time. In the Spring of 2020 during emergency remote teaching, this group of teachers’ sense of success dropped dramatically (by over 20%). By Fall of 2020, 90% of teachers felt successful, nearly returning to Fall 2019 pre-COVID levels. However, in the full sample from Fall of 2020 the researchers found that teachers working fully in-person were somewhat more likely to report feeling successful than their colleagues who taught some or all of their students remotely.

Positive increases were also noted in the percent of students that teachers perceived were able to regularly engage in learning activities in the fall compared to the Spring of 2020. Amongst a common sample for whom Upbeat has collected survey responses in Spring of 2020 and Fall of 2020, the percent of students who were able to regularly engage in learning activities increased from 60.1% to 73.2%. However, teachers who taught remotely perceived that their students were less likely to be regularly engaged in learning than teachers who taught in-person.

About Upbeat
Upbeat works with K-12 districts across the country to administer a research-grounded survey to elevate teacher engagement and retention by fostering strong school environments. Founded and led by former educators, we bring together data scientists, technologists, and experienced former school leaders to deliver a research-backed solution. Our surveys paired with tailored toolkits and intervention strategies, surface real-time insights so that principals and district leaders are able to better understand and uncover the conditions affecting employee morale and establish actionable plans to improve teacher and staff retention. More information about the company and its approach can be found at http://teachupbeat.com.

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Kylie Davis
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