Sunday, August 14, 2022

Parents, teachers stressed with e-learning


Parents who have had to add teaching to their list of parenting responsibilities and teachers who have had to add computer specialist to theirs, under new hybrid or all-virtual models of schools, are stressing out.

A survey of more than 7,500 educators in Minnesota, conducted by the Education Minnesota teachers’ union, found that 29 percent of them had considered leaving the profession, KARE-TV (NBC affiliate) reports.

In addition, 79 percent said they felt “stressed” and 73 percent “overwhelmed.” Most of the survey respondents in Minnesota reported teaching in schools using a hybrid model, where students spend some days in school and other days doing e-learning. Their assessments are similar to those of teachers across the country.

“I’m having troubles really giving my full attention to either (online learners or in-person groups),” the station quoted one high school math teacher as saying. “I have very little time to grade, to prep, to do anything. I’m working weekends, I’m still working right now (well past 4:30 PM), and I’ve been at work since 6:30 AM.”

Many teachers also report not being as effective in connecting with their students in an online platform as they do in person. Research very much supports that conclusion: in-person learning is more effective than online learning, which is definitely more effective than “no” classes.

As it turns out, in-person school is not only more effective, albeit riskier virus-wise, than any other model in terms of the mastery of subject matter, but it is also more effective at building social relationships in kids’ lives—both with their peers and with trusted adults in their lives.

Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued very strong guidance around the risks of prolonged virtual school—risks that include the reduction in food security and in physical and mental well-being of children and the greater likelihood that the physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of children will remain unreported while they are not in school. The academy’s conclusions are evidence-based, and the evidence is not in dispute.

All-virtual and hybrid models have also strained family finances, as mothers, for the most part, have increasingly quit their jobs in order to tend to their children’s at-home schooling.

“The drop in female labor-force participation was quite dismal and not surprising with the return back to school not happening,” The New York Times quoted Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, as saying.

Over all, four times more women than men dropped out of the labor force in September, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of unemployed adult women was about 300,000 greater in September 2020 than the number of unemployed adult men. A year ago, there were about 100,000 more adult men than adult women who described themselves as unemployed.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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