Teaching

Parents and Teachers Want to See Big Changes Come Out of the Pandemic, Survey Says

By Alyson Klein — August 24, 2021 2 min read
Image of bus and students.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As many students return to in-person instruction after staying at home for much of the 2020-21 academic year, parents and teachers alike are hoping school itself will look different, with more opportunity for smaller classes and personalized attention for students.

What’s more, the majority of both parents and teachers are eager for kids to go back to in-person schooling full-time this fall, according to a survey released this week by a civil rights education and a learning nonprofit organization.

Both groups also understand it’s not going to be easy. Ninety percent of teachers and 61 percent of parents surveyed last month are expecting big challenges as children head back to in-person classrooms. Academic development was a top concern, with 73 percent of respondents listing it as number one in a survey conducted last month by Understood, a non-profit that works on behalf of children with learning and thinking differences, and UnidosUS, an organization that works on behalf of Latinos.

But parents and teachers are nearly as worried about other issues. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they were most concerned with anxiety students may be feeling, followed by social concerns, at 63 percent, and emotional ones, at 62 percent.

Educators and parents also say that pandemic teaching and learning highlighted the need for some changes to the traditional classroom set-up and schedule. For instance, more than half of educators—61 percent—see a need for more hands-on activities. Another 57 percent would like smaller class sizes. Nearly as many—55 percent—would like to see learning environments become more flexible. And over 50 percent want more one-on-one interaction with their students, something that could be accomplished through Zoom office hours or breakout rooms during the pandemic.

Amanda Morin, the director of thought leadership and expertise at Understood and a former early childhood educator, said that she was surprised that there was so much agreement between parents and educators when it comes to what they hope will happen next.

“It was fascinating for me when I saw these findings to realize that parents and educators are pretty close together on how they want the classroom to look,” she said. Both groups, in particular educators, are especially worried about the longer-term academic and social challenges once kids return to the classroom.

Parents are also looking for educator support as they prepare to send their children back to school. Two-thirds of parents said they would like schools to provide additional learning devices, such as laptops and/or tablets to households with more than one school-aged child. And just over half—54 percent—want guidance on how to access social services.

The survey was conducted online at the end of July by Understood and UnidosUS among educators and parents of kids aged 5 through 18. A total of 1,005 parents and 495 educators participated.

Related Tags:

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Opinion Where Did I Go Wrong? Teachers Learn From Their Mistakes
Treat students with compassion and kindness rather than thoughtlessness and irritation. Students and teachers alike can learn from that.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Opinion Do I Really Have to Go to Summer School? How to Get Students to Change Their Minds
Students often view summer school as a punishment. Schools can take steps to shift that perception.
9 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Video VIDEO: An Educator Answers FAQs on Teaching Black History
A Black educator answers educators' frequently asked questions around teaching Black history.
Dawnavyn M. James, Jaclyn Borowski & Elizabeth Rich
1 min read
Teaching Opinion How to Expand Teens' Vocabulary
Students are unlikely to expand their vocabulary by copying definitions of words. There are other, better ways.
8 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty