Increased stress in teachers has to lead to deterioration in their emotional well-being amid this Novel Corona Virus Pandemic. We all have been defining our new normal but is this normal convenient for the teachers as well?
We are witnessing the major medical tragedy of our era. The complete shutdown and the insane spread of the coronavirus have not only put a halt to our normal life but have also made us immobile in so many ways.
How this whole situation has increased stress in teachers and what are the challenges our teachers are facing in particular, this post is an ode to the teachers around us.
How has Novel Corona Virus increased stress in teachers?
Recently, I conducted a webinar on “Stress Management for Teachers” in an MBA institute. While I was preparing for the webinar, I actually sat with this thought of challenges all the teachers must be facing right now.
It got me thinking, how teachers are presumed to be the role-model of our society. They have to be perfect at everything they do because they are teachers and they should know everything. They were comfortably teaching a class strength for 50 students, yelling at the top of their voices to be audible, to be able to control the class, and to be able to teach them properly.
Just imagine the pressure, the challenges they go through in the role of teacher, now with this COVID-19 outbreak, when the world was put at a halt, teachers were gearing themselves for a new challenge, to get ready to serve the kids, they primed themselves to adapt to the new normal.
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Who thought that our kids will be home-schooling this year in 2020? Who thought that online classes would be a thing of the present and maybe future, before this?
This pandemic did not only made us suffer in numerous ways but also made us go back to our roots, to make us realize that necessity is the mother of all inventions. Education is a need and our teachers and the whole school system are trying their best to meet these needs in the best manner possible.
We get agitated with the new routine, watching our kids studying online but it is better than not able to study at all for that whole year, I have seen funny jokes and memes around the internet on the teachers and their struggles to conduct online classes. So let us discuss what challenges they might be facing in order to serve the knowledge to the kids and also save their job.
Five Stressors in Teachers today
The current economic downturn has put a large number of school teachers’ jobs at risk. Corona Virus is not only a medical or physical condition but also a psychological disturbance to many. Teaching is already regarded as a hectic and stressful occupation, because of the responsibilities attached to it but the perception of the job as stressful may be influenced by coping responses and social support.
As per TOI, 90 million school teachers world over and 6 million in India have been at the frontlines of damage-control of the COVID -19 pandemic by ensuring that learning reaches their learners seamlessly during the lockdown.
They switched to the online-teaching mode in no time, they struggled hard with the limited resources/expertise they had to get started with the digital world. Even with the increased stress in teachers, they managed to keep it rolling by putting every effort at work.
Here are a few challenges every teacher face due to Covid-19
1.) Lack of Technical Knowledge
Suppose I am a Math teacher, I am good at numbers, I can teach you Pythagoras Theorem even in the middle of the night but if you talk about conducting a ZOOM meeting, I would go cold feet. What is that after all? How will I be able to teach Math online? Come on I have been habitual of using chalk and duster my whole life?
This would have been the very first reaction of any teacher, irrespective of which-so-ever subject she/he is teaching because it was all so new for them. But they took it in their stride. They went on updating themselves must have taken help from a spouse, children, or self-helped themselves using Google. One of the reasons for increased stress in teachers is the lack of technical know-how.
2.) Internet/digital skills
A teacher who is busy planning lessons and checking assignments hardly gets time to play with the internet. But when they were required to wear their best shoes to run this digital marathon along with kids and parents as an audience, they were so ready for it.
They struggled, they hustled but they came forward and strived. Internet skills is a vast chapter in itself, understanding the online atmosphere is totally a different game, and that too when you are stuck at your own home with your partner and kids, may in a joint family. Preparing videos, editing them, or getting ready for the online classes making sure about the connection, clarity, and audibility, a lot to process, isn’t it?
3.) Shortage of resources
The lockdown decision in India was sudden and totally unwarranted, I guess no one was prepared for it, no one knew. So when the schools were scheduled to re-open, we were still under complete lockdown. There would have been any teachers who would have stuck in a completely unfamiliar situation with limited mobility and rare resources.
Another reason for the increased stress in teachers the shortage of resources. To continue the teaching and learning process, they made the optimum use of all the Indian jugaads (tools) they could have thought of.
Now I am part of the online group of my daughter’s school and I could feel how difficult it must be for a teacher to maintain a work and personal life balance when your personal number is so accessible to the parents. You are teaching the kids and parents are sitting with them judging you and observing you, how discomforting that might be initially?
The privacy and the safe environment for teachers are completely lost, yet they show up every day and try to deliver all they can.
5.) Satisfaction of teaching
That “Yes Ma’am” satisfaction! In many parts of India, the online system of education was banned for primary classes for some time because it was causing a lot of problems and dilemmas. Many states have resumed the online arrangements and many places are working with the arrangement of sending the videos to parents to maintain the track and stay with the syllabus which lacks the interaction part.
A lot of hard work and efforts might be making teachers so stressed at times that they must be missing the joy of teaching in classrooms.
So will this pandemic make the Online education system go viral or students will crave in-person teaching? Only time will tell. For now, let us all value our teachers and their every effort in teaching which is truly an act of faith in humanity. We must remember that increased stress in teachers due to the COVID 19 is not a permanent situation but we as responsible parents and humans should support them maximum by giving them a safe atmosphere and a little bit of understanding and consideration from our side as well.
Love and light!
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.