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5 Strategies to Manage Teacher Workload w/ Online Asynchronous PD Training

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“If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers. They are society’s heroes.” ~ Guy Kawasaki

On the surface, it may seem that teachers have shorter work days than people in other professions. Their time in the classroom may be less than what people spend in a typical office job but that assessment fails to consider the long hours teachers spend working when they’re not in the classroom.

At Alludo, we recognize that teachers’ work extends far beyond the time they spend with students. We also know that a high teacher workload can lead to burnout and increase teacher turnover, something that’s both expensive and time-consuming for school districts as well as being detrimental to students.

With that in mind, here are five strategies for reducing workload with online asynchronous PD training.

Table of Contents

  1. What is the Typical Teacher Workload?
  2. How Do You Manage Teacher Workload?
    1. Put Support Systems in Place
    2. Encourage the Use of Technology
    3. Allow Teachers to Disconnect
    4. Encourage Collaboration and Mentorship
  3. 5 Ways Online Asynchronous Training Reduces Workloads
    1. It Respects Teachers’ Time
    2. It Gives Teachers a Choice and a Voice
    3. It Encourages Collaboration with Other Teachers
    4. It Provides Teachers with Immediate Feedback
  4. Alludo’s Take

What is the Typical Teacher Workload?

The number of hours that teachers spend working cannot be measured by their time in the classroom, since that represents only part of what they do. A typical teacher work day may include all of these things:

  • Teaching classes
  • Working one-on-one with students who need extra help, both during and after school hours
  • Grading tests and papers
  • Lesson planning for future classes
  • Setting up classrooms
  • Attending professional development
  • Managing family and parent communication

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This list doesn’t include the emotional work of caring for dozens of students, which for some teachers is a constant. It can be a challenge to understand where students are coming from emotionally and to meet them where they are. Social Emotional Learning is a professional development topic that can assist teachers with this aspect of their workloads and make it easier for them to connect with their students.

According to a 2022 survey in EducationWeek, teachers spend about 54 hours every week working and slightly less than half of that time is spent in the classroom. 

The issue of excessive workload is one that goes beyond giving teachers more free time. It can be a contributing factor to dissatisfaction and teacher burnout. Many of the teachers in the survey said they had put in extra hours since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as they learned new technology and adapted to distance learning.

While additional pay can help teachers feel better about their workloads, the teachers in the survey also talked about the need for robust support and the agency to control their own schedules. 74% said they wanted more freedom to structure their time.

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How Do You Manage Teacher Workload?

There are many things that school administrators can do to help manage and reduce teacher workloads. Here are a few to consider.

Put Support Systems in Place

The first thing to do is to understand that teachers need support systems. While they are skilled professionals, they are also human. School leaders should talk to teachers about their workloads and ask what would help them – and then put a system in place that addresses as many of teachers’ concerns as possible.

For example, teachers who are unclear about school and district educational goals might find themselves putting in more hours than necessary. Clarifying your expectations can help them focus their efforts. Social Emotional Learning can also help by providing teachers with the tools to understand where students are coming from and meet them where they are, socially and emotionally.

K-12 Professional Development Strategy Framework

Encourage the Use of Technology

Technology can be a time-saver but it’s important to note that learning new technology puts an additional burden on teachers. Any district that wants to require the use of technology needs to provide convenient training that’s easy for teachers to access and efficient in its instruction.

On a related note, teacher buy-in and involvement is essential for any tech initiative. It’s the job of administrators and school leaders to explain why new tech is necessary and how it will benefit teachers – and then provide them with the instruction and support they need to master it quickly.

Allow Teachers to Disconnect

While technology can make teachers’ work easier in some ways, it can also wreak havoc on their work/life balance. When app notifications come in at all hours of the day, it can be difficult to have any mental or emotional break from the stresses of work.

Another way to reduce teacher workload and stress is to encourage them to disconnect when their work is done for the day. Disconnecting allows them to spend quality time with their families and friends and come to work refreshed the next day.

Encourage Collaboration and Mentorship

Some of the tasks that can add to teacher workload are tasks that can be shared or lightened via collaboration or a mentor/mentee relationship. School districts can encourage teachers to work with one another in a variety of ways to reduce their workload and minimize the risk of burnout and stress.

While it is essential for administrators to support teachers, peer support plays an important role, too. When teachers work together, they can also work more effectively than they would if they all worked alone.

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5 Ways Online Asynchronous Training Reduces Workloads

We’ve already mentioned that a robust system of professional development can help to reduce teacher workload. Specifically, we’re talking about online asynchronous training, which respects teacher’s time and makes it easy for them to meet PD requirements while learning new skills that can reduce their workload. Here are five ways that asynchronous online training can help to reduce teacher workloads.

#1: It Respects Teachers’ Time

The EdWeek survey we cited earlier talked about some of the specific complaints teachers had about their workloads. One was related to professional development, with teachers saying that the time they spent traveling to PD courses and doing the coursework cut into their free time with their families and friends.

Online asynchronous PD training respects teachers’ time by allowing them to complete their PD requirements without travel and on their own schedule. Microlearning activities take only a few minutes to complete in most cases, which means that teachers can fit in their training in small gaps in their schedule without significantly adding to their workload.

#2: It Gives Teachers a Choice and a Voice

Another workload-related benefit of online asynchronous training is that it gives teachers some agency to choose what they learn and how they learn it. Resentment of traditional PD can make the work involved feel more burdensome than it is.

When teachers get to direct their training, they can choose topics that they know will reduce their workload and make their time in the classroom more productive.

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#3: It Encourages Collaboration with Other Teachers

Teachers who engage in online asynchronous PD may be pursuing their requirements and goals alone, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t collaborate and engage with other teachers while they do it.

Teachers may encourage one another to partake of helpful microlearning activities. They may also share what they’ve learned in mentor/mentee relationships, with some teachers becoming cheerleaders for your PD system.

#4: It Provides Teachers with Immediate Feedback

When teachers talk about a high workload, their feelings about their work can have just as much to do with their issues as the work itself. We talked earlier about how important it is for administrators to provide teachers with support, and that’s something that online asynchronous PD can do as well.

With traditional PD, teachers may wait to hear how they performed in a class. With online PD systems like the ones Alludo designs, they can get immediate feedback and validation for the time they’ve spent.

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#5:It Supports Instructional Innovation with Technology

Classroom technology can help to reduce teachers’ workloads in a variety of ways. There are the obvious uses, such as automating certain repetitive tasks and making it easier for teachers to manage their schedules and grade student work. But the COVID-19 pandemic has given the use of technology in the classroom a push.

As a result of the pandemic, teachers have made leaps and bounds in both understanding and using technology. PD that focuses on showing teachers how to leverage technology both in terms of efficiency and innovation reduces teacher workloads. At the same time, the innovation part of tech training is something that allows teachers to better connect with their students and can optimize teachers’ time and student outcomes.

With online asynchronous PD, teachers can get the tech training they need quickly and on a schedule that works for them. That means they’ll be quicker to use new tech in the classroom and reap the rewards of a reduced teaching workload.

Alludo’s Take

At Alludo, we specialized in creating an online asynchronous learning environment for educator professional development. We recognize that putting PD online is one of the best ways to reduce teachers’ workloads and increase their job satisfaction:

  • Our systems are based on the needs of educators and can support a variety of learning styles, skill levels, and interests.
  • The flexibility of asynchronous learning protects teachers’ time in the classroom.
  • Our PD content catalog is based on remote learning and bite-sized chunks of instruction called microlearning activities, which teachers can easily fit into their busy schedules.

Val Verde Case Study

A case in point is what happened with the Yucaipa Calimesa Joint Unified School District (YCJUSD) when they partnered with Alludo. They told us that it would have taken them over a year to roll out the amount of PD in our system had they tried to do it another way.

The result was that the district quickly reached 100% engagement and the program was so effective that they have moved beyond educational services to onboard substitute teachers and staff.

We can do the same for your school district because we understand the needs of teachers and school districts and can design a system that will support both.

Reduce Your Teachers’ Workload with Online Asynchronous PD Training

A well-designed system of online asynchronous professional development can help teachers by giving them the tools and time they need to reduce their workloads. It can also help school districts by making it easier to get teachers engaged with PD and to pursue district goals.

Want to reach up to 100% PD in your district? See how Alludo can help make it happen with our free professional development platform trial, including:

  • Hundreds of core topics
  • Asynchronous microlearning activities
  • Timely and specific feedback
  • Analytics that show learning impact
  • Access anytime, anywhere

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