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How teachers are using AI to battle burnout

We’ve recently surveyed 1,000+ US K-12 teachers and educators on the state of teacher wellbeing and how AI has changed the profession. Here are our findings.

Like many professionals, teachers are increasingly seeking ways to do more with less. From lesson plans to assignments and classroom communications, teachers face the challenges of developing large volumes of content throughout the school year. These increasing workloads in tandem with a complex set of environmental and personal factors are resulting in high levels of burnout in their profession.

The 2023-2024 school year marked the first that AI was widely available in the classroom. We recently commissioned Sago to survey 1,000 K-12 teachers in the US to explore what's causing teacher burnout, how it impacts their work, and whether technology like AI is emerging as a helpful resource. The results were clear: most teachers are willing to explore AI further, and those already using it report notable reductions in feelings of burnout, and increased work efficiency. Schools that invest in visual communication tools, including AI tools, will see less burnout in their teachers and better classroom outcomes. Here are the findings.

Teacher burnout is a prevalent issue

If you’re feeling burnt out as a teacher, you’re not alone. Our findings showed that 35% of teachers experience burnout daily or most days, and 83% experience it at least some days. Many factors contribute to burnout, but the most common contributing factors cited by teachers were classroom management, lack of support, and work-life balance, as teachers need to balance content creation, lesson planning, reviewing classwork and engaging with parents. In fact, two out of three teachers (66%) reported working beyond contractual hours, with 24% clocking an additional three hours daily – so it’s clear that finding innovative ways to save time is critical.

Blue quote card that says burnout can have a dire impact on the classroom experience. 55% of teachers are missing school days, 53% are overwhelmed by their responsibilities, 45% have less patience with students and 34% have lost interest in their job and decreased the quality of their instruction

The stakes are high, as burnout can lead to absenteeism, reduced patience, loss of job interest, diminished instructional quality, and even thoughts of abandoning the profession.

AI offers a glimmer of hope

We’ve long been enthusiastic about the power of AI in education(opens in a new tab or window) for saving time, maximizing productivity, and unlocking creativity(opens in a new tab or window). Although technology isn’t a solution for burnout alone, with other factors, including higher salaries and better work-life balance, the report indicates that many see potential for AI to alleviate their daily challenges.

Image of a teacher in the classroom using Canva for Education in their teaching

92% of teachers using AI found it helpful in addressing pain points at work, and interestingly, there’s a notable correlation between AI usage and job satisfaction, with 46% of satisfied teachers using AI (as opposed to only 26% of unsatisfied teachers). AI can improve the education experience, too, with 60% agreeing AI can improve work efficiency, and 58% attesting that AI helped alleviate burnout.

Unlocking the power of AI

Many teachers are readily embracing AI to support their work, from classroom material creation to brainstorming lesson and activity ideas. Most teachers are willing to explore AI further, and those already using it report notable reductions in feelings of burnout, and increased work efficiency.

Blue quote card saying AI has also helped promote more creativity and visual communication in the classroom. 51% use AI to create and supplement classroom materials, 38% use AI to spark students imagination and creativity, 27% use it to improve the visual elements of their work.

Our survey showed that burnout sets in early in the year, and can impact teachers’ feelings about the profession overall. It’s encouraging that AI is offering a way to ease workloads on tasks such as lesson planning and template creation as simple ways to add valuable time back into a teacher’s day, leaving them more time for meaningful student engagement.

Quote card from Carly Daff, head of Teams and Education at Canva saying: The stress of teaching is complex and can't be solved by one tool. Still, we hope that Canva can play a part in allowing teachers to focus on the parts of their job that they're most passionate about, like creating engaging lessons and working with students in ways they wouldn't have been able to before.

Accessible AI for the classroom

Educators often tell us how the power of visual communication and design helps keep students more engaged, and now AI is adding a spark of creativity when ideas are running dry. We see AI as an opportunity to make visual communication even more accessible for anyone, regardless of design skills. So, we’ve integrated AI tools natively into Canva to speed up the content creation process and empower anyone to edit with ease.

Often, one of the largest barriers to adopting new technology is simply knowing where to begin, so here are some of our teacher community’s favorite ways to enlist the help of AI:

1. Generate lesson ideas:

Free up your time for more meaningful classroom engagement by enlisting the help of AI-powered tools to generate lesson ideas. Canva’s AI-powered writing assistant, Magic Write(opens in a new tab or window), can be easily used to brainstorm lesson ideas, map out questions for student activities, or create a first draft of workshop materials.

2. Tailor an existing teaching material to meet individual needs:

Whether you’re tailoring for a student's needs or a particular grade level, AI can be a helpful tool for ensuring you hit the right message. Easily enter a few words to Magic Write to generate level-specific lesson ideas or summarize existing text into easily digestible and suitable language or personalized instructions to navigate varying student abilities.

3. Create a lesson presentation in minutes:

With the help of Magic Design(opens in a new tab or window) for Presentations(opens in a new tab or window), it’s now easier than ever to bring your ideas to life visually, at speed. Simply type in a few words of inspiration and watch as populated slides come to life, ready for final touches. Need to repurpose a presentation into a one-page summary or instructions for students to follow? Resize and Magic Switch(opens in a new tab or window) can instantly swap the format in just a few clicks.

Try for yourself

Canva’s full visual communication platform and AI tools are 100% free for teachers and students to empower everyone with access to the best learning technology available. We’ve also introduced a range of practical guides(opens in a new tab or window) on how to wow your classroom with our AI tools, and when it comes to safety, you can rest assured you’re in control with Canva Shield(opens in a new tab or window).

Interested in learning about Canva’s resources for teachers? Visit in a new tab or window) to get started.

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