Challenges faced by Teachers in 21st Century Classrooms

4th September 2021

Classroom challenges are an indispensable part of the teaching profession and teachers must cultivate the skills to overcome these challenges confidently.

Today we are going to look into some of the common challenges, teachers face across the globe like e.g. time management, lack of teamwork, performance pressure, teacher burnout etc. These challenges if addressed properly can considerably improve not only the quality of teaching but also teacher retention rate.

Have a glimpse into some of the common classroom challenges faced by teachers in the present education scenario: -

1. Managing Time and Stakeholders

One of the biggest struggles for 21st century teachers is time management. Their job goes beyond teaching and involves designing lessons, correcting copies, planning field trips as well as mastering the new teaching techniques to keep up with the present educational trends just to name a few. Besides preparing, planning and executing tasks, teachers also have to handle stakeholders like parents, students and school managers. Hence, teachers have to grapple with lots of issues which can be overwhelming at times. Managing and satisfying all stakeholders in the same meter can be a serious challenge for them, making the job tough for them.

2. Performance Pressure and Balancing Diverse Learning Needs

The challenge to always give out the best while meeting the diverse learning needs of the learners affect the performance of the teachers. Being accountable for a number of jobs other than quality teaching puts tremendous pressure on them which in turn upsets their natural flow of teaching and giving out instructions.

3. Teacher Burnout and ‘Me’ Time

Heavy workload, lack of support, loss of motivation, no personal time, fatigue and exhaustion all can result in burnout. Overworking can have detrimental effect on the most energetic teacher and this can impact the teaching and handling students leading to more serious problems. Furthermore, daylong activities leave very little room for personalized time for the teachers and they get detached from life’s enjoyments.

4. Lack of Management and Parental Supports

A supportive management and cooperative parents make a teacher’s life easier and aid in providing the best learning experience for students. Today’s teachers are accountable for works apart from teaching like holistic development of students and the disciplinary factors of the class. The teachers come under a lot of pressure from school management/administrators to perform well every single day without leaving any point of blame.

5. Diversifying Teaching Methods within a Specific Curriculum

Teachers need to analyse and evaluate different skill levels of the students. They also have to constantly employ diversifying teaching methods to meet the needs of different learners. This becomes a challenging task when a specific curriculum is prescribed for all students as the pace of understanding a concept differs from child to child. Moreover, teachers also don’t get enough time to tailor lessons as per the needs of students.

6. Inspiring Students beyond Classroom

Learning is not confined to classroom alone. It takes place beyond classrooms and teachers have added pressure to push students to make that extra effort of engaging in the learning process outside the class.

7. Traditional Teaching Techniques

Passionate teachers are sometimes keen to employ latest techniques while explaining new concepts, but they don’t actually get enough time to make it into effect as they are forced to complete the syllabus on time. This often acts as a barrier for teachers to try new teaching methods and they usually have to adhere to traditional teaching techniques.

8. Technical Gap

Given the current situation teachers are also finding it difficult to become a part of the smart classrooms as majority of teachers using traditional teaching techniques do not seem to be tech savvy. This lack of technical knowledge is making the teachers’ lives difficult.

9. Textbook Learning and Limited Knowledge

Education should not be limited to textbook learning only. The limited exposure in learning creates a big gap between what is required from students and what knowledge they gain to solve problems. Limited knowledge can cause hindrance to long-term success.

10. Shouldering Bulk Responsibilities

Most of the time, teachers have to shoulder bulk responsibilities and they feel that the responsibility needs to be equally shared between them, parents, and students. Parents, teachers and students if work as a team can create the best possible environments to foster physical, emotional and intellectual well-being for students. Responsibilities shouldered together can bring in positive results.

11. Wearing Many Hats and Handling Paperwork

Besides preparing quality teaching content, it has become a common practice for school management to ask the teachers to play many additional roles including that of inclusive teacher, counsellor etc and filling in those shoes leads to handling excessive paper work which takes a toll on the well-being of the teachers. Sometimes the continuous stream of paperwork takes their attention away from teaching and students.

12. Lack of Funds

Funding is always a vital issue and lack of funding creates obstacles in the path of teaching. Teachers have seen raising concerns about the lack of funding as it can seriously impact the way they teach, bringing in distress for the teachers as well as the students.

Written By : Dr Sanjib Chakraborty

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