By Victoria McNally // SWNS
Compared to last year, everyone’s feeling less stressed about the new school year this fall – but parents are a lot more confident than teachers, new research suggests.
That’s according to a recent survey of 2,000 Americans, 1,000 of whom work as K-12 teachers and 1,000 who are parents to school-age children, which found 44% of teachers and 55% of parents reported feeling less anxious about the upcoming 2022-2023 school year than they did last year.
Fifty-seven percent of parents also reported that their kids seem less anxious, too. But parents still want to be involved – 49% of parents say they’re going to talk more with their kids about what they want to feel more prepared in the classroom this year.
On the other hand, teachers were almost twice as likely to say they’re at the same anxiety level, neither more nor less anxious than last year compared to how parents see their kids (41% vs 26%).
Compared to a similar poll from last year, 54% of respondents felt more anxious for the back-to-school season in 2021 than they did before the 2020 pandemic.
Both conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Office Depot, the surveys also asked teachers and parents to describe their expectations for when students return to school this year.
“Last year’s back-to-school season was filled with uncertainty as students, parents and teachers had to adapt to new learning environments,” said Kevin Moffitt, Office Depot’s executive vice president and chief retail officer. “This year, with students, parents and teachers feeling more confident heading into the new school year, our clients are looking for products that show off their personalities and set themselves up for success both in and out of the classroom.”
Parents are most excited to encourage their child’s interest in learning (53%) – and to get more done while their kids are at school (48%). Teachers are looking forward to being back in the classroom and are most excited to customize their rooms with new supplies, furniture, and learning tools (47%).
While last year’s survey reported that half of parents marked COVID-19 as a top concern, only 26% of this year’s respondents said the same. Yet the pandemic did demonstrate the value of technology in the classroom, with 44% of parents saying technology is one of the most critical factors to a student’s success.
This year, nearly a third of parents (29%) say they are worried about their school district having the appropriate number of qualified staff members.
The most commonly cited concern among teachers remains, however – 24% – still worry about delayed academic progress among their students, making it one of the top-ranked options for two years in a row.
Seventy percent of parents are worried about school supply costs, more so at public schools (74%) than private schools (69%) – and both parents (68%) and teachers alike (59%) expect to spend even more this year.
Sixty-eight percent of parents feel their school district has the appropriate resources, however, only 54% of teachers say the same.
Additionally, it’s clear on how important the role of teachers will be this year.
Thirty-eight percent of parents believe that having a supportive teacher will be one of the most critical factors to their child’s success, including more with children in public schools (33% vs 22%).
However, only 27% of teachers agreed – perhaps because 65% say they’re experiencing burnout, according to the data.
Moffitt notes, “Now more than ever, we need to support teachers as much as we can - financially, mentally and physically. There are few things more influential in this world than a great teacher, which is why Office Depot is committed to helping set them up for success with tools for teachers, programs, special offers and more.”
STUDENTS’ TOP FIVE 2022-2023 SCHOOL MUST-HAVES ACCORDING TO PARENTS
- Basic supplies (e.g. notebooks, pencils, highlighters) (41%)
- Laptop/tablet (38%)
- Backpack/lunchbox (32%)
- Retro supplies (e.g. 90s gel pens, scented markers, trapper keepers) (31%)
- Headphones (27%)
This random double-opt-in survey of 1,000 parents of school-age children and 1,000 teachers of K-12 students was commissioned by Office Depot between July 14 and July 21, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).