Just like most other aspects of daily life, the K-12 educational system in the U.S. has been upended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that parents have taken on the role of teachers for their children, in addition to all of their other duties, their understanding of what it takes to be a great teacher has changed as well. In the findings of a recent survey, University of Phoenix revealed that 82% of parents with K-12 virtual learners now have a greater appreciation of teachers and the work they do than before the pandemic.
Parents adapted to online learning demands during COVID-19 pandemic
The University of Phoenix survey found that about eight in 10 parents of K-12 virtual learners (81%) agree that teachers have done the best they can to teach their students amid the current health crisis.
They also understand that to do better under these circumstances, educators can't do it alone. That's why 84% of Americans believe that teachers need more resources and support to continue teaching virtually.
Parents learned the demands of teaching children firsthand when they were thrust into the role of educators themselves at the start of the pandemic. Many of them took steps to adapt to this new style of learning by:
- Finding a dedicated space for virtual learning (45%)
- Spending time helping with homework (42%)
- Sitting with their children during lessons (41%)
Additionally, almost four in 10 (37%) parents reported new costs associated with the transition to online learning, including upgrading their internet speed as well as buying a new device and school supplies.
These costs may have eaten into the family budget, as a different survey from BIC showed that many families have spent more than they usually do on back-to-school supplies — and in some cases, up to $580 more on average.
Impacts of virtual learning on children and their parents
With this drastic change from a traditional learning environment, parents may be wondering about the long-term impacts of virtual learning. Many parents that participated in the University of Phoenix survey reported a variety of benefits, including the ability to:
- Spend more time with their children (46%)
- Learn more about their child's strengths and weaknesses (44%)
- Have a more flexible schedule (44%)
However, many also harbor worries that their children are missing out on the unique advantages offered by in-person schooling, such as the:
- Social aspects of learning (54%)
- Establishment of a sense of community with other children (47%)
- Social learning, or learning from and with other children (47%)
- One-on-one interaction with the teacher (46%)
- Access to social services provided in school (44%)
As a result, 60% of parents believe their children may have fallen behind academically during the past year — and they're looking for ways to close the gap.
According to a survey from Bright Horizons, just over one in four parents want to see employers offering benefits like academic tutoring or college preparation tutoring for their children after the pandemic is over.
Methodology: The Harris Poll conducted this online survey on behalf of University of Phoenix on 2,063 US adults ages 18 and up between April 16-20, 2021. Of these survey participants, 514 of them identified as parents of K-12 students.