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“Teachers’ Voices” – a study of how teachers in Latvia feel and see themselves in the profession

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Teachers in Latvia are true patriots of their profession, but according to a study conducted by the education company Lielvārde “Teachers’ Voice”, they do not think they will work in a profession that is valued by society and well paid. One in three teachers (33%) always or often feels demotivated at work, and 27% of respondents feel pessimistic about the future of the teaching profession. While the situation is grim in the context of teacher well-being, the study also highlights the positive implications for teachers’ professional development, digital literacy and technology use, and allows us to draw conclusions about the opportunities and challenges we will all face. facing in the coming years

“Each of us would like our children to have good teachers who take care of the upbringing of the new generation and convey quality knowledge and skills. However, in order for this to happen in a qualitative and modern way, we need to support teachers both by promoting their well-being and professional development, and by providing adequate resources. Only by being proactive and identifying teachers’ daily lives, concerns, needs and problems in the education system in a timely manner can we make Latvia the best place to teach and learn together, ”says Andris Gribusts, president of the education company Lielvārde.

Workflow. Every second teacher is regularly reworked

Almost half of the teachers surveyed agree that their workload is disproportionate – 48% are recycled regularly. Only 17% work at a normal workload or 33-40 hours per week, and one in ten teachers (12%) work 57 hours or more each week. At the same time, 60% of the teachers state that they do not have time to perform their duties in the desired quality, and half of the teachers who participated in the survey also perform other functions (field coordinator, assistant principal, assistant principal) in addition to their duties at school. methodological association, etc.). “It is not possible for me to fulfill all responsibilities during working hours, so preparations are made after working hours and I cannot get paid. The choice is not to do this and to work with poor quality,” says one of the study participants.

This overload highlights a number of systemic problems in teachers’ work and shows that we cannot achieve a qualitative change in education with teachers on the verge of burnout. The need to address growing challenges in the workforce for teachers is no longer urgent unless we want to see a greater teacher shortage.

Mood and situation. A third of teachers feel unmotivated and pessimistic about their future career path.

Although Latvian teachers are patriots of their profession and 78% recommend their school as a good job for others, a third of respondents feel unmotivated and skeptical about their future career in this profession, and 56% of teachers agree with what they see. They work as teachers themselves. five years. “The average age of teachers is already 48, so if we do not systematically work on a system of support and motivation for the profession, we can expect a much larger teacher shortage and teacher exit soon,” explains the head of Lielvārde.

In addition to the known problems, the recent pandemic and the introduction of new curricula and approaches have brought an additional burden to teachers. In a situation where we see critical motivational issues, there is a need for a professionally implemented change management program, not only at the school or municipal level, but also at the national level.

Third-party support is available, but is it enough?

In times of crisis or when support is needed for an initiative, most teachers felt the support of both school management (84%) and students (76%) and parents (61%). In addition, 84% of respondents say that the relationship between school management and other staff is dignified and fair. However, distinctly positive responses to the assessment of third-party support contrasted with specific responses to both individual support and issues related to the current workload and teachers’ attitudes and status in society. If we want schools to have an open and transparent management model and educational institutions to be able to attract new, talented professionals, it is to bring this into practice not only in the day-to-day functioning of the business process, but also in the culture and values ​​of the organisation.

Professional development. Educators deliberately seek professional development opportunities

Professional development of teachers in Latvia is practiced purposefully even during pandemics and distance learning – 81% of respondents indicate that they attended training (courses, seminars, conferences) in the last year. However, the data show a lack of individual support and mentoring, which is a fundamental element in any modern organization – just over a fifth (22%) of teachers received individual methodological support. “In fact, we have so much training and activity that it seems excessive already, because there is not enough physical time and sometimes the strength and health to implement in life. We know that we have improved a lot, but we want more time to prepare for classes, organize the materials obtained for easy use. It feels like a full closet – lots of clothes, but nothing to wear,” says the research participant.

Almost half of the teachers (45%) point out that their school has a system where teachers can learn from each other. These systems need to be introduced, created and improved if we are to develop this best learning experience recommended by the OECD. Unfortunately, only 33% of respondents say that their working hours are scheduled when it is possible to collaborate with each other.

Digital skills at the highest level

Technology is only half the battle. The other side is teachers who know how to use them. Educators’ responses to assessments of digital skills and available supply show that state and local governments have invested heavily in this space, and the pandemic has also contributed to accelerating technology uptake. Therefore, it is gratifying that Latvian teachers’ confidence in their digital skills is relatively high. The fact that 41% of the educated participants want to improve their digital literacy shows that this is an area where they need to improve their knowledge to keep up with the times and the newest opportunities.

“Undoubtedly, the advent of technology in education has changed the way we teach and learn. More importantly, teachers appreciate this: 88% of respondents say technology has significantly improved the quality of their work, and 76% of teachers are willing to let students use technology in their learning. As basic technology needs, teachers point to everything that helps to create a modern and exciting learning process for students: computers and tablets for children, digital whiteboards, digital learning platforms and the provision of internet in schools. However, technology is modern it is only part of the educational infrastructure, and at the expense of it, it is important not to lose attention in the development of other important aspects, ”says Andris Gribusts.

About the study

The Teachers’ Voice study was established as an annual initiative. Research data was obtained on the Edurio platform by surveying more than 1,400 Latvian teachers (sample includes both preschool teachers and teachers from grades 1 to 12). The study covers five thematic areas: teacher workflow, mood and situation, third-party support, professional development, digital skills and procurement.

The article was created in collaboration with ‘Lielvārde’.

Source: Tv Net

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