It is difficult to imagine where the world would be without classroom teachers. With the impact of COVID-19, students, teachers and parents alike had no choice but to reimagine learning as we know it. Although we are beginning to see the economy reopen and life resume its usual patterns, sustained periods of remote learning will continue to usher in a new era for educators. While much remains unknown, here are some updates to expect regarding the business and practice of education.
A Bolstered Job Market for Education Graduates
According to the Career Optimism Index™, nearly 80 percent of professionals report feeling optimistic about their careers. The statistic comes from a study conducted from December 2020 to January 2021 by an independent market research firm. One might anticipate this confidence to pour into education due to the continued need for teachers. John Woods, provost and chief academic officer at University of Phoenix, stated, “With so many teachers having left the profession [of teaching] after COVID…I expect the job market for students majoring in education will be quite strong.” It may seem contradictory to point out a profession’s mass exodus while speaking to its growth potential, but Woods has a point especially when considering the context of the pandemic.
While millions made difficult decisions about their jobs and careers when the pandemic first began, not all industries had to navigate the same set of issues. It is reasonable to conclude that teachers may have left the profession for a comprehensive set of personal and professional reasons. The difference lies in the outcomes. When a teacher leaves their employer, there is an immediate need to fill that position or students bear the consequence. Because education depends on employing as many teachers as possible to keep classroom sizes small and students attended to, any shortage of educators cannot be left unattended for too long without causing severe harm to the quality of learning. For this reason, those who have earned a degree in education should feel hopeful about their employment prospects in the near future.
What’s Next for Technology in the Classroom
The immediate transition to remote learning forced educators to improve their technical competency. According to Michael B. Horn, a senior strategist at Guild Education and co-founder of the Christen Institute, technology will continue to usher in positive changes to the world of education. These changes might not wholly embrace the way students, teachers and parents have adjusted to using technology.
By thoughtfully integrating technology into the classroom, Horn hopes to see less focus on lesson planning and focus on lessening education gaps. In-person learning encouraged students to rely on planned instruction months and weeks in advance to stay on track with testing, holidays and guidelines. Using more technology in the classroom can allow teachers to measure student progress and seamlessly identify strengths and weaknesses. As a result, students can have a more personalized learning experience that is adjusted throughout the school year.
Increasing the Academic Rigor of the Teaching Profession
From the perspective of Pam Roggerman, the dean of the University of Phoenix’s College of Education, fostering effective educators requires academic challenges. She suggests several programming initiatives that lead to teacher licensure. For example, some states require that education students take the edTPA exam that tests them on their degree requirements. The exam helps education graduates understand what they know well and what needs improvement.
While some administrators advocate for more standardized evaluations of teachers, that does not necessarily apply to measuring a student’s progress. Roggerman shared that they anticipates further changes to testing among students due to a realization “that the way to recognize student growth is not solely with a standardized exam.” Implementing these changes requires strong educational leaders who are open minded, non-traditional and forward thinking.
About University of Phoenix
Since 1976, University of Phoenix has focused on the unique needs of the adult learner population. The University offers classes online or at campuses across the United States. Students can earn their degree on their preferred terms thanks to the University’s commitment to flexible scheduling. Students can pursue an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree program at University of Phoenix in addition to various certificate programs.