Recent studies have revealed educators have been facing burnout at unprecedented levels. According to a survey by the Rand Corporation, one in four teachers said they were likely to leave their jobs within a year, up from one in six prior to the pandemic. The survey also found that three-quarters of superintendents considered quitting in the 2020/2021 school year. To combat these ever-increasing instances of burnout, the study recommends districts and schools actively look to “communication mechanisms” for innovation to help teachers support student and family learning expectations.
Enter technology-backed educational texting tools, like FASTalk which are emerging as a key instruments to improve how school districts support and communicate with families at scale. These new technologies combine an evidence basis with automated messaging, often via texting, closely aligned with curricula intended to help bridge the gap between classroom learning and home revision.
Tools like FASTalk can dramatically boost a school team’s ability to handle the large volume of effective communication that must be regularly deployed. Rather than asking overworked staff to send messages to families and students, schools can defer to a series of scheduled, classroom content-aligned messages to busy or curious caregivers even in their specific preferred language. This is an incredibly easy and effective way to keep families and schools aligned on the progress or hinderance of their child's education.
When the Massena Central School District in New York rolled out a chatbot last year, they decided to name it Raider, after their mascot. They introduced it to their community as a “Siri” for school and used it to send positive, affirming messages and important information when the pandemic forced a switch to remote instruction. Within weeks of introducing Raider, the Massena Central School District sent out 13,105 texts to parents and students. This saved 328 hours of staff time and tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars that would have been spent on hiring additional staff.
With tools like FASTalk, student motivation and overall performance can be significantly boosted by keeping parents informed on what their child is learning at school. Caregivers receive regular tips and activities to review the themes of the lessons their child received, while back at home. This has proved particularly helpful to families that speak English as a second language as proved by surveys that captured parent sentiment and gather community feedback.
By empowering schools with the right tools, school staff can meet new expectations while simultaneously being relieved of a workload that continually threatens to overwhelm them. Most educators will tell you that even before 2020, there weren’t enough hours in the day to get their work done. Now, three-quarters of National Board Certified Teachers report working more hours since the start of the pandemic. This is a straight path to burnout.
In conclusion, technology-backed community engagement tools can make a significant difference in reducing the workload of educators and school leaders, while also improving communication with families. With recent advances in technology, a behaviourally intelligent chatbot makes it possible to provide personalized support to every single family in a district. By using services like FASTalk, schools can free up time for their staff, allowing them to focus on what they do best and actively prevent burnout.