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US Election Bulletin: Get weekly polling data on who's set to win

Combining high-quality mobile survey technology, a robust polling methodology, and expert data analysis,
our bulletins will be essential reading to get the pulse of the nation

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Online Trends

Published September 2nd 2020

Back to School: How do Students, Teachers, and Parents Feel?

As a new academic year begins, what can we learn from what students, teachers, and parents are saying online? How do they feel about their return, and what are their priorities?

When we recently explored online conversations about going back to school in the Brandwatch Bulletin, we found that there was plenty of trepidation.

But what about those who are most affected during the back to school period? And how do those groups differ?

In this blog post, we’ll be using Brandwatch’s new feature Social Panels to understand more about how parents, students, and teachers are approaching the back to school period in the US and the UK.

With Social Panels, you can study and compare conversations coming from different groups that you define. You can split groups out by job title, by interest, by location, and much more. You can read more here if you’re interested in how it works.

Without further ado, let’s get to the back to school data!

How do they feel?

As schools go back, emotion is running high across the board.

The primary one picked up in parent, student, and teacher conversations is sadness.

That said, it’s worth noting the differences between the groups. Parents show more sadness than teachers or students. Teachers are exuding more joy than students and parents. And students are expressing more fear than their parents and teachers.

There are lots of different factors driving the emotions displayed online.

For example, fearful student mentions talked about how school boards were meeting over Zoom to discuss sending kids back to school. If schools are safe to return to, they ask, why aren’t boards meeting in person?

Joyful teacher mentions, meanwhile, tended to talk excitedly about welcoming children back to schools.

Mentions from parents that were classified as containing sadness tended to be political in nature, pointing to inconsistent rulings on safety.

What are their priorities?

As you can see from the color coding below, teacher conversation is markedly more positive than that of parents and students.

But we’ve already explored feelings. What are people talking about?

A trend that’s unique to teacher conversations is #ClearTheList. This is to do with a campaign that asked teachers to share their Amazon wishlists full of classroom supplies online for the chance to have it all paid for.

Within both parent and teacher conversations, the topic of masks is a key theme. There has been much debate over the place of masks in the classroom (and elsewhere), but it seems this is more of an issue for the grown-ups than the young people who’ll be walking the halls. The theme doesn’t appear at all in the top 50 topics for students.

For students, key topics included virtual learning and reopening events, as well as issues around what support is available.

Rebuilding confidence

There is so much to explore when breaking the data down by different groups of authors. Above, we’ve outlined some of the key nuances in back to school conversation, but there are plenty more to explore.

For brands and institutions beginning to open up their doors again, listening to and understanding what the people they serve need to feel safe and confident is vital.

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