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Top 10 Biggest Challenges Teachers Face In The Classroom Today

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Teacher supporting a large class of students.


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  • Teaching Strategies

There are few careers that make a bigger impact than teaching. Teachers are shaping the next generation, those that will decide what the future looks like.

But this noble work doesn’t come without challenges. Many teachers face challenges both inside and outside of the classroom, often making the career feel overwhelming. 

While the rewards often outweigh the negatives, it's still important to understand the daily challenges teachers face. It can help parents and administrators better support teachers and help teachers know that they are not alone in their struggles. 

10 Common challenges teachers are facing in the classroom

These are ten of the most common challenges that teachers face on a day-to-day basis. While that may seem like a lot of bad news, once the issue is understood, it’s easier to find the solution. 

Let’s get started. 

1. Understanding different learning styles

A single classroom most often contains students with a wide set of learning abilities and styles. It is nearly impossible for teachers to simply use one teaching method and have it be effective for all of their learners. 

Teachers are required to think strategically when making lesson plans to cater to all the learning styles in their classroom. They also have to be flexible while actively teaching, as they make adjustments in real time based on student performance.

This can take a lot of time and effort on the teacher’s end, but the benefits for student performance are unbeatable.

2. Lack of effective communication

Teachers can also face significant challenges when trying to communicate with their students effectively. Not every student, especially at lower grade levels, will know when to ask for help. 

For example, most high school students are able to effectively communicate their needs, struggles, and triumphs. However, teachers with younger grade levels may not have the same experience.

In cases like this, teachers have to find an effective channel of communication so that their classroom can function well.

Now, there’s not one answer to this problem. Teachers may need to use different strategies depending on the age of their students. Particularly for teachers that teach multiple grades, this can be a time-consuming task. 

Finding a system to improve communication in the class can not only help struggling students get support, but it can also help teachers manage multiple students' needs at once.

See below how once teacher implemented a non-verbal signalling system in her classroom that helped students express their needs and thoughts without disrupting the class.

3. Staying up to date with learning technology

Learning technology is constantly changing. Every year, there are a slew of new apps, websites, and other technology tools created to improve the learning process.

And there is a lot of pressure on teachers to constantly stay up to date with the latest technology. Most believe that the latest and greatest tools will provide the best quality education. 

But there is often a lack of funding, resources, or time to implement every new technology as it's introduced.

4. Communicating with parents

One of the most common and pressing classroom challenges for teachers is the fact that some students are not receiving adequate support outside of the classroom. While teachers can work with students while they’re at school, students need support from their parents as well.

When parents take an active part in their children's learning, that student is much more likely to succeed. 

This issue also extends to intrapersonal relationships. Students will often feel comfortable turning to a teacher in their time of need–when it’s emotional support they are looking for instead of academic support.

However, this dynamic can put a lot of pressure on a teacher. The relationship can be tricky to navigate, and teachers often don’t have enough hours in the day to check in and talk with every student. 

Students need to be fully supported both in school and at home in order to have the best chance of success.

Did you know?

When teachers use Prodigy, a game-based learning platform Prodigy that delivers adaptive skill practice in students, they can also invite parents to join. With their free account, parents can keep up on their child's progress with reports and even send them motivational messages as they play.

5. Pressure from school administrators

Teachers are often under a lot of pressure by their school administrators to come up with new teaching strategies and ways in which they can improve student learning. 

School administrators want to remain competitive with other school districts when it comes to performance and test scores. However, teachers are the ones actually in the classroom, teaching students the necessary skills to achieve these outcomes. 

Teachers are seen as exclusively responsible for student achievement, growth indicators, professional development, and discipline.

With so much on a teacher’s plate, a supportive school administration can make a world of a difference to both their success and students’ success.

6. Creating engaging lesson plans that fit the curriculum

Creating engaging lesson plans that also align with the state’s outlined curriculum can be a tall task. 

And beyond just being engaging, time-constraints can also be an issue. While there is a syllabus and course schedule to stick to, students will often need additional time to fully grasp a subject.

Oftentimes, the state will outline a detailed curriculum for the school year, giving a jam-packed schedule for all the topics that need to be covered in a particular year. Teachers need to rely heavily on problem-solving skills in order to maximize their time in the classroom.

Additionally, with larger class sizes, it can be difficult to ensure every student is getting the support they need to fully understand a lesson. Teachers may work incredibly hard to create a great lesson plan that just doesn’t resonate with all of their students.

Engage your students in math with Prodigy

If you're teaching math, you'll probably already know how hard it can be to motivate students. Traditional learning materials like worksheets can bore some quickly, especially if they're not feeling confident with the material.

Prodigy Math combines the joy of game-based learning with the benefits of adaptive and targeted skill practice. As students play Prodigy Math, they'll answer questions of your choice, all while having fun exploring a magical world and casting spells. It's a great way to differentiate learning while keeping your class engaged.

One study even showed that students saw their level of math enjoyment significantly increase after just a few months of using Prodigy Math!

7. Behavior and classroom management

Student behavior can be difficult for teachers to manage on top of their other job tasks like administrative work, staying on track with the curriculum, and staying up to date with the most recent classroom trends.

Creating distinct behavioral and academic plans can help teachers stay on track and meet their educational goals as the school year progresses. But this doesn’t happen without a lot of work and support from administrators, parents, and other educational professionals. 

Oftentimes, motivating students with engaging lessons can be enough to manage student behavior in the classroom. But in some cases, students may need more support to manage behavioral issues and create a growth mindset.

8. Time-consuming administrative work

The administrative work that comes with teaching takes a lot of time on top of managing students, creating assessments, and actually teaching lessons. Because of this, time management is a vital skill for every teacher.

The overwhelming amount of administrative work on a teacher’s plate can adversely affect their work-life balance, as they are often required to spend time outside of working hours grading assignments, creating lesson plans, filling out reports, and more.

In order to get everything done, some teachers are faced with the question of whether to give up their personal time or their time with students to complete administrative work. While they’re always looking for ways to streamline their administrative work, there often seems to be no good answer.

Teaching hack: Skip the grading with Prodigy!

Did you know that elementary and middle school teachers can use their free Prodigy teacher dashboard to set up engaging assessments in just a few clicks? All you need to do select the standards-aligned content you want your students to practice and have them play Prodigy Math or Prodigy English.

Then as they play, student responses are automatically graded and fed into your reports, helping you uncover hidden learning gaps and insights!

Get started

9. Lack of funding

It's no secret that teachers and schools are constantly facing issues in terms of lack of funding.

For most public schools across the country that run into issues with funding, teachers are the ones that are expected to get creative and make do with the resources that they do have.

Beyond just a lack of classroom materials, underfunding can also lead to the inability to hire enough teachers. Oftentimes, this is remedied by increasing class sizes. 

While it may seem like the only solution, large class size can negatively impact the classroom experience for many students. It leaves less time for individualized teaching and one-on-one time with the teacher. 

This can lower the quality of learning and have a negative impact on student learning. It also negatively impacts the teachers, with them always feeling behind and overworked.

10. Burnout

Teaching is one of the most demanding professions out there. Teachers are constantly working to juggle all their tasks of educating students, managing behavior, completing administrative tasks, and more.

And there’s an emotional element, as they know that their work is shaping lives and the future. 

With the high demand from all their job responsibilities, teachers commonly experience burnout. Some of the common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Feeling drained after working on lesson plans
  • Dreading going to work
  • Lacking the motivation to be productive

Teachers should try to have the best work-life balance as possible in order to avoid burnout, but this can prove difficult with so many responsibilities on their plate. Administrators and parents need to take an active role in education in order to help prevent teacher burnout.

Fight burnout with these tips!

Burnout can happen to the best of us and knowing how to overcome it can be tricky. But with careful reflection and practice, teachers can get back on track and feel reinvigorated. We identified these tips proven to help combat teacher burnout:

  • Practice self-care, especially when you doubt yourself
  • Create boundaries with work and home where possible
  • Consider adding a new approach to your teaching strategy
  • Put every challenging day in perspective and remind yourself of your progress
  • Share how you're feeling with other teachers, including those outside your school
See more tips

Find new & unique teaching strategies to create an engaging classroom experience

Teaching is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication, time, and grit to stick with it through the difficulties and the hard days. 

Teachers face a number of challenges while teaching students and even after students leave the classroom. Understanding what teachers are facing can help all of us provide solutions and support to those teaching our children. 

While demanding, teaching is a very rewarding career choice. Few other people in our society have as much impact as teachers do. There are downsides, but there are even more benefits.

If you're an elementary or middle school teacher looking to support your class, try Prodigy! Prodigy is a game-based learning platform that delivers adaptive skill practice in math and English to students. See how it works below!

The best bit? It's full of time-saving teacher features like reports and is available at no cost to teachers and schools. You can use Prodigy to:

  • Set engaging, fun skill practice in just a few clicks
  • Easily assess students on over 1000 standards-aligned skills
  • Motivate your students with classroom goals, rewards and challenges
  • Monitor and track student performance with automatic grading and reports

Get started with Prodigy today and bring the benefits of game-based learning into your classroom for free!

Create your free teacher account