A study by the University of Pennsylvania reports that 44% of teachers leave the profession in the first five years. Teachers spend hours each day teaching, grading, and providing emotional support for their students. And while they may get some time off during the summer or winter break, it's not uncommon for teachers to work over 60 hours per week year-round. The stress and demands can take a toll on teachers' mental health as well as their physical health.
This article will explore how AI can be used to optimize education environments for students' success. We hope that this information will encourage policymakers and educators alike to take advantage of what artificial intelligence offers.
What Is Teacher Burnout And How Does It Happen?
Teacher burnout is defined as “a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by one's job.” This would include physical fatigue that comes from teaching a large number of students daily as well as emotionally feeling like you can't continually support your students.
Another aspect of teacher burnout is the mental drain when teachers spend so much of their time and energy planning lessons, grading homework, preparing for assessments, and communicating with parents. Here are some insights into how teachers can know if they are experiencing burnout:
- When you dread going to work
- When you long for the weekend
- When you don't want to hear about work when you get home from work
- When you become irrationally angry at things that used to make you laugh or smile
- When you have thoughts of quitting but are unsure what else there is in life for you
- When you question your career choice
- When you realize that the motivation for doing well is no longer a personal goal, but an attempt to please others
- When your sarcasm has turned into bitterness
- Your students can see right through it when you're not yourself
- You feel isolated from coworkers, friends, and family
- You have trouble sleeping and eating
- You start to question God's plan for your life
- When you realize that nobody else cares about this job as much as you do
You know it's time for a change when all of the above happens.
How Can AI Help?
AI is an incredible tool for kids learning to code. Not only does it help them learn the basics of coding, but AI can also check their work and provide feedback on whether or not they've done an excellent job. For teachers, AI also has the potential to enhance your teaching experience in many ways. Below are some:
- Aiding in Teaching Tasks
AI can be used to provide support in the classroom and assist with student engagement. AI can take over some of the tasks that teachers often find themselves bogged down with, such as grading papers and filling out spreadsheets. This allows teachers to focus on the areas that humans excel at, which are face-to-face communication and guidance. At the same time, this can allow for better feedback and understanding of students' performance, so everyone in the classroom gets what they need.
- Reducing Workload
Implementing AI into education systems decreases workload by automating routine tasks. An example of how this is implemented is through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which use AI to grade assignments and monitor student progress.
- Increasing Professional Development Opportunities
AI tools can be used to track performance and provide feedback. They also provide a space for collaboration and knowledge sharing. This allows teachers to work together in a way that they couldn't before, especially on complex tasks where an individual teacher may not have the skillset or experience. In doing so, this creates a better learning environment for students as well.
- Quality Teacher-Student Interaction
Research has shown that the number one factor of student engagement is quality teacher-student interaction. AI can enhance this beneficial connection by providing a space for collaboration and knowledge sharing between teachers, students, and administrators. This strengthens relationships within schools which in turn boosts student success rates.
Functions of AI Programs in Schools
AI programs can be used in school management and provide different types of assessments. When teachers use AI to mark assignments, it allows them the additional time to work on their lesson plans instead of spending hours marking tests and assignments. This frees up more time where they can meet with students one-on-one or teach classes.
Currently, communication between teachers and parents is done through email, which may lead to a lack of response from parents as they are busy people too.
AI chatbots can be used in schools by students or parents that send questions to the school administrator's social media page (e.g., Facebook). The chatbot can answer simple questions or direct the user to a more suitable person if they're unable to answer.
AI programs can also be used in curriculum development and provide adaptive learning for students in lower grades. For example, AI that analyzes student work and provides real-time feedback can improve students' grades in ESL.
Some school districts are required to adhere to specific rules such as completing demographic surveys or following strict clinical protocols if they provide special education services for students. AI can minimize missing data by automatically checking surveys, completing them accurately, and alerting staff of missing documents or protocols required for special education services. This can reduce turnaround time and save schools money.
The main advantage of implementing AI into schools is to improve student success rates. Implementing AI in various ways such as personalized learning, professional development for teachers, and reducing workload can create a better educational environment for students. Teachers can spend more time on improving their lesson plans by using adaptive online programs that provide immediate feedback to students and teachers on students' progress after each assignment.
AI has tremendous potential to help support teachers in their daily tasks, ultimately resulting in a better learning environment for students. With the implementation of AI, educators can feel empowered by what they do instead of feeling overworked and exhausted. We hope that more schools worldwide begin to implement this technology because, at its core, it truly helps save lives. We would love to hear from you and learn about your thoughts on how AI can best support education systems. Please feel free to leave them in the comment section below!