Student surveys administered by teachers can serve many purposes. They help gauge teaching effectiveness, student-teacher relationships, the classroom climate, and more. They’re also useful during unusual or challenging times, which is why they’ve been heavily relied upon as a feedback tool throughout the coronavirus crisis. During the crisis, teachers can use a quality of education survey to ask their students about their education or resource needs, their COVID-19 concerns, and more.
How COVID-19 is Impacting Teachers and Educators
It became apparent that COVID-19 would not be easily contained in March of 2020 and stay at home orders went into effect across the country, forcing many people to work from home. At this time, many educational institutions either shut down for the remainder of the school year or switched over to distance learning, becoming a virtual classroom.
Today, as the coronavirus cases continue to surge in many states, leaders are once again scrambling to address what should be done about schools. Should they remain closed, or open with new social distancing practices in place? Should they go virtual, and if so what about students who don’t have access to the right technology?
For some educators at the college level, a form of distance learning or eLearning has been in place for a while, so taking classes online is a relatively easy adjustment due to the age of the students and the nature of the class. For primary and secondary education teachers (grades K-12), the adjustment is a bit more challenging as evidenced by schools that made the switch back in the spring.
Children in the primary and secondary education system are very much used to a routine; any deviation from this can cause anxiety (they can also sense the unease in their parents or hear frightening statistics on the television or online, heightening the trauma). So, how can educators make the best of a bad situation, and help students and parents weather the storm? Student surveys—and parent surveys—can help in the decision-making process.
For Teachers in a Virtual Classroom
For educators in school districts that have decided to begin the school year within a virtual format, there are a few things that teachers can do to improve the online learning experience.
Establish a Routine
Predictable routines are very important, especially to the younger set, as it helps maintain a sense of psychological safety. By sticking to one, teachers can reassure students that, despite everything that is going on, an adult in their lives is still capable of offering structure.
Make Lessons Easily Digestible
Learning remotely through a virtual classroom and having fewer direct interactions with teachers and peers can make assignments feel overwhelming, especially if they require a lot of instruction. Break lessons down into smaller bites, which will also cut back on instruction and encourage students to ask clarifying questions live or via email.
It’s important to remember that every child has a different home life situation, and some may be less than ideal, making it difficult to maintain achievements in academics. Additionally, they may be embarrassed to discuss their personal life. So, educators should communicate that regardless of the challenges, students’ efforts are appreciated.
Hold a Weekly “Recess”
Similar to the virtual happy hours that many companies are having but without the cocktails, a virtual recess is a time when students can log on (with their teacher hosting) to share stories and have some fun with their friends. You might want to have some virtual party games planned; we found some fun ideas on Love, Peace, and Tiny Feet.
Assign Group Work
Students engaging in distance learning are likely to miss the camaraderie of the physical classroom. So, pt students together in small groups to work on projects or assignments together online or by phone. This helps them feel connected to others and gets them brainstorming together.
Send Student Surveys
Teachers should consider sending out student surveys to get distance learning feedback. Surveys from teachers about students at home sent to parents can also be very beneficial for collecting feedback. Some student survey questions to consider asking include:
- Are you happy the school has decided to use distance learning?
- What can teachers do during the COVID-19 crisis to help [you/your child]?
- Do you feel you have the necessary support and resources you need to effectively [study from home/homeschool] during the coronavirus crisis?
- Do you think [your peers/your child’s peers] are engaged during virtual classroom sessions?
- What could be done to improve the virtual classroom experience?
- What do [you/your child] miss most about physically attending class?
For Teachers in a Physical Classroom
Teachers and students who are back in the classroom or will be going back soon are going to have a completely different experience from those engaging in distance learning, and the CDC has put together a guide for a safe return to school that you can view here.
Regardless of these guidelines, some students are bound to have some anxiety about being back in a classroom and surrounded by other people, as will their parents. To help them adjust, here are a few things teachers can consider doing:
Email Students with Additional Support
Let students know that you understand if they are nervous about being back in school, or having difficulty concentrating because of their concerns. Let them know that school counselors are there for them and provide some contact information if they need to talk.
Create a Community Discussion Board
Socially-distant students may not be talking to one another like they did in the past; in addition, activities that typically require a lot of interaction (sports, theater, choir, etc.) may be sidelined. So, create an online community discussion board to give students a moderated place to talk with one another virtually.
Take to Social Media
Many parents will be nervous about their child’s activities throughout the day. If your school allows it, consider creating an invite-only social media channel where you can share occasional photos of students learning or engaging with one another while still practicing safety guidelines to put parents at ease.
Some students’ anxiety may prevent them from fully comprehending certain lesson plans, and not all parents are able to help on more complex topics. If you have the time, consider holding live webinars through a variety of platforms, reviewing a lesson for a half hour, and then taking questions.
Send Student Surveys
School survey use is on the rise because of the insights that can be gained, so consider sending out student surveys (or parent surveys if the child is too young to answer on their own) to get input on the new classroom experience. Some student or education survey questions to consider asking include:
- Would [you/your child] have preferred if the school had used distance learning this school year?
- Do [you/your child] feel safe with the new coronavirus safety measure in place?
- Are [you/your child] having trouble keeping up with studies due to coronavirus anxiety?
- Do [you/your child] feel you have the necessary support and resources you need?
- Do [you/your child] have any suggestions for how to make the classroom experience more engaging while following CDDC guidelines?
Are you teaching virtually and anxious to get distance learning feedback from students or parents? Or are you holding class in person and curious how students and parents feel about safety and other matters? Create a student survey or parent survey with SurveyLegend (you can view one of our Parental Support Survey Templates crafted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education here to get ideas on how to create your own student survey template). Surveys from teachers get great response rates as students and their parents always have opinions!
Our pre-designed surveys are some of the best surveys for schools! They are easy to create and easy on the eyes, and they’re responsive so they’ll adjust to smaller, at-home screens and even smartphones. Get started with SurveyLegend for free today and then upgrade while taking advantage of our discounted pricing for students and teachers, up to 35% off!
Have any other tips for educators in virtual or physical classrooms? Share them with us below! Know a teacher who could use our education survey services (and the teacher discount?) Share this with them!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Due to the pandemic, some teachers have switched to online learning while others have been instructed to return to the classroom.
Teachers might ask if students like online learning, if they have the resources they need to study at home, if they feel their peers are engaged during virtual class, and what could be done to improve it.
Teachers might ask if students would prefer online learning, if they feel safe in the classroom, if they’re suffering from COVID anxiety, and if they have ideas for making the classroom experience more engaging while still following CDC guidelines.
Teachers can use the online survey platform SurveyLegend for all their needs.