The average teacher is spending an additional eight-hour workday each week just preparing to teach, according to new research.
The survey of 1,000 elementary school teachers revealed, if that continues throughout the rest of the school year, teachers will have spent an extra 211 hours on top of their already busy teaching schedule.
That's not the only extra time they've put in — over the course of the summer, the average respondent spent 88 hours and 43 minutes preparing for this school year.
This research, commissioned by Microban 24, a line of home sanitizing products that protect surfaces against bacteria for 24 hours, and conducted by OnePoll, revealed 82% of teachers have spent more time preparing for the 2020-21 school year than any other.
With that in mind, the survey delved into what teachers have been using this extra time for, and how they're adapting to this unusual year.
Results found many teachers have been putting in additional hours to learn and implement new technology (81%), adjust lesson plans to work with distance learning (79%) and watch professional development classes (74%).
How are lesson plans changing? Eighty-five percent of teachers surveyed believe it's important to use their lessons to teach about current events — which might be why 96% of teachers surveyed believe it's important to educate their students about bacteria and how they spread.
Additionally, 45% plan to teach their class about the importance of washing their hands.
In order to include these topics in their lessons, many teachers are turning to new resources (87%).
The average teacher is using four new resources this year — most commonly new technology (93%) or websites with either educational (80%) or interactive (72%) learning materials.
"In order to teach virtually, teachers are expressing a need to change their lesson plans and find new resources," said Kevin Wenzel, Vice President of North America Surface Care at Procter and Gamble. "For science specifically, hands-on learning is so important, so we developed the Microban 24 24-Hour Science Experiment - a new tool for teachers with at-home experiments and activities that can be incorporated into their science curriculum to help educate students about bacteria. The tool includes a virtual lab tour, science experiments that can be conducted in the classroom or at home, and other fun but educational activities for all ages.
"As a parent myself, I know that busy teachers and parents have a lot on their plate this school year. We created the Microban 24 24-Hour Science Experiment to help support them and provide additional resources that make this back-to-school year a little bit easier."
With hands-on activities like labs, some science lessons may be difficult to translate to virtual learning, and a third of teachers surveyed (33%) would like additional resources to teach science.
And this desire for new resources might be due in part to the challenges teachers believe they'll face while teaching science this year: 57% worry students won't be as engaged without live demonstrations.
Fifty-four percent think students not being able to actively participate in science experiments will be a challenge and 51% think it'll be difficult to create new lessons with materials students have at home.
Still, challenges aside, 81% of teachers surveyed believe it's especially important to have a robust science curriculum for their students this year, due to the ongoing pandemic.
"As both a science educator and a mom, I appreciate that this year might be a tough one for teaching students about the science of bacteria. Parents and teachers will need all the support they can get, so I'm happy to be partnering with Microban 24 to help create a resource like the 24-Hour Experiment," said Meghan May Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Disease at the University of New England and consultant for Microban 24. "The 24-Hour Experiment is just one more resource for parents and teachers to use to help teach children about bacteria."