The Coronavirus pandemic has globally impacted many areas from physical and economic health to education around the world. More than 1.2 billion children around the world, are out of classrooms due to this pandemic. As a result, education has witnessed major changes in terms of time and place, as teaching is no longer taking place in schools but through “online learning”, using digital platforms.
The closure of educational institutions has led to a rise of psychological stress and tension on students, parents, and teachers. However, teachers have undoubtedly become increasingly concerned, as they have to learn how to balance the management of their homes, families, and needs while working full-time remotely. Teachers are challenged as they are trying to adapt to the use of new technologies and teaching methods that are suitable for the online learning environment. So, how can we help teachers to manage effectively this stress to be able to succeed in their new academic environment?
A-Online learning stress sources
First, let’s identify some of the primary factors that lead to teachers’ stress especially in the online learning environment.
1-Anxious and stressful feelings: Since teachers are not getting adequate time or support for creating or finding the right educational resources that help them and their students as well in the online learning environment. It is important to remember that teachers are just as important as their students. It is difficult for a teacher to help his/her students if he/she is already struggling.
2- Communication challenges: Attracting students’ attention, behind the screen, is challenging and it’s harder for the student to focus and understand the lesson, especially in subjects that rely heavily on direct communication. Teachers need to find new ways to attract the students
3-Engagement issues: Inability to interact directly with the students and engage with them is a major concern for many teachers since they may not be able to assess effectively how the students are perceiving the lesson and whether they are understanding or not.
4-Technology Issues: adapting to some of the new applications used by the school and helping students to overcome technical difficulties could lead to teachers’ stress.
5- Online Class Management: The number of students participating in the online class is a challenge, in terms of the possibility of involving everyone more than once in the process of discussion and sharing ideas.
6- Psychological distress: is another challenge for teachers. Students in this period were experiencing unstable feelings that affected them negatively. Therefore, the teacher had to help the students by positively communicating with the way to give them a glimmer of hope in light of this crisis, which already affected their capacities and abilities.
7-Lack of support: especially for young students at home, where parents do not have the necessary time, technical knowledge, and skills. The teacher must manage the learning process and find solutions on his/her own, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.
B-Tips to help teachers in managing stress
1-Communicating with your school management:
It is important to communicate with the head of section or school management about expectations such as tasks required and deadlines.
2- Creating a morning and bedtime routine:
done before checking your email. You will automatically start your daily work with a positive vibe and a sense of accomplishment every day.
Do some exercise that helps release stress, such as walking or riding a bike, or short yoga or stomach muscle exercises that you can do at home, or even spend 10 minutes on stretching exercises when you wake up.
4- Set aside quiet time:
Set aside time to clear your mind, which helps improve your mood and will help you think better.
5- Creating space for creativity:
Creativity time will help you focus when you feel like work is dominating your life.
6- Working smart and not hard:
Find ways to delegate some of your work or invest in tools or technologies that will make your life easier.
7- Asking for help:
No matter how long you’ve been teaching, or how smart you are, there will be times when you need clear and simple help. Asking for help does not make you weaker, it makes you better at your job.
8- Cooperating and collaborating with others:
You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. There are many resources and tools created by others that can help you do your job better and easier. Try finding platforms or groups with other teachers and exploring ways to collaborate
Your understanding of yourself and your methods in responding to stress will help you identify ineffective patterns of behavior and thus try to change them.
10 –Thinking Positively:
Remind yourself of the beautiful things that you should be grateful for every day and stay away from negative thinking.
11 – Communicating with others:
Developing relationships with colleagues, neighbors, and friends, will keep you away from negative thinking and tension.
In conclusion, the pressure felt by a teacher while teaching has serious impacts and may cause him/her to behave inappropriately, especially that stressful situations are capable of causing people to engage in certain behaviors that may be severe when dealing with others. Therefore, the teacher must be aware of how to deal with psychological stress to control it in work and daily life.