NC 2022 teacher working conditions survey adds new questions

History teacher Alis Anasal writes the schedule on a white board in her classroom on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

RALEIGH — The annual survey on teacher working conditions has new questions related to the pandemic this year and will be open for responses during the month of March. 

The teacher working conditions survey (TWCS) measures responses from teacher statewide in the areas of school and teacher leadership, instructional practices, managing student conduct, professional learning, community support, use of time, school safety, equity, facilities and resources, and new teacher support. 

In 2020 the TWCS response rate was 84.45% and included 102,545 North Carolina educators. 

The TWCS is put together by a 26-member advisory committee overseen by the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction. The TWCS was addressed in a presentation during the January meeting of the State Board of Education. 

The four new questions added this year are related to pandemic learning loss and the mental impact of COVID-19 restrictions on students.  

One question asks teachers what percentage of their instructional time was spent reteaching the prior year’s academic standards. 

A related new question asks teachers how far behind they estimate their students to be compared to progress during a typical school year. Answer choices for the question span a range of three-month increments as to whether a student is ahead, behind or performing at about the same level. 

Another new question also has ties to pandemic impact on student mental health. The question will read, “At this point in the 2021-22 school year, how do your students’ needs for
social/emotional/mental health support compare to the same time in a typical school year?” 

The state of student mental health during the pandemic has been of increasing concern. Apps that track student and school safety have cited increases in violent behavior, self-harm and suicide. One such app is called Gaggle produced a report covering the 2020-21 school year. The report documented a 104% increase in violence towards others and an 87% increase in suicide and self-harm over the previous school year. Anxiety, depression and behavioral disorders also saw marked increases.  

Gaggle’s findings are similar to that reported by the Say Something app used in North Carolina. Bullying/cyberbullying remained the top reported item between August and Oct. 31 of 2021, increasing by 132% over the same timeframe in 2020. For the same August to October time period, “planned school attack” reports rose 4,900%, school fight/assault increased 833%, “weapons” reported increased of 700%, sexual harassment was up 550%, general school complaints were up 525%, and drug use/distribution up 518%. Suicide/suicide ideation reports also rose from 48 reports to 87. 

Finally, the fourth new question asks teachers to select the top five issues of “most” concern at this point in the 2021-22 school year. 

About A.P. Dillon 1293 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_