The Manitoba Teachers’ Society and Manitoba Education today released a summary report from the Teacher Engagement Survey, which provides teacher perspectives on how to best address learning gaps and needs in the transition from emergency remote teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic to an in-school environment.
“One in four public school teachers participated in this survey. This is an outstanding response rate and indicative of the fact that teachers want to be consulted on matters that affect their students,” said MTS president James Bedford. “We hope to see this data reflected in the education decisions made across the province, because at the end of the day we all want to see students succeed.”
Teachers reported a high rate of job satisfaction (60 per cent) during the school closures, despite a number of challenges in adapting to remote teaching and learning.
Respondents said that expectations for teaching and learning (60 per cent), student access to technology/connectivity necessary to participate in remote learning (55 per cent) and personal challenges of blending teaching from home with family responsibilities (50.7 per cent) posed the most challenges.
“COVID-19 has caused many challenges for teachers, students and parents this school year. This survey was a chance for Manitoba teachers to let us know how they managed through these educational challenges,” said Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “I thank all Manitoba teachers for their feedback. These results will help with the planning of the reopening of schools for this fall.”
Half of the respondents said that more than 50 per cent of their students consistently participated in remote learning. Seven in 10 respondents were able to provide direct instruction to their students at least weekly, while three in 10 were able to do so daily.
“Nothing can replace a student learning from a teacher, face to face in a classroom setting – these connections are powerful,” said Bedford. “But educators rose to the challenge of remote teaching. They were creative, innovative and most of all their dedication and commitment was unwavering. This is truly commendable.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming school year, the majority of respondents (84 per cent) believe maintaining good public health practices, such as social distancing in classrooms, will be an issue for them compared to a typical year.
The consensus is that a clear, well-communicated plan that is consistently implemented is key to ensuring family and student buy-in for a successful return to in-class learning.
“It’s clear in the results that teachers and administration value time to prepare and to collaborate prior to the resumption of school in the fall,” added Goertzen.
Many teachers expressed an interest in professional learning to respond to new teaching conditions and realities, and indicated how important it will be to collaborate professionally and to share learning and resources.
The online survey was conducted by ViewPoints Research with a sample size of 4,641 public school teachers across Manitoba.