The Pandemic is Forcing Education Online – but what does that mean for teacher?
There’s no denying that teachers have had it hard this last year. As covid-19 wreaked havoc on the school system, teachers were left jumping through new hoops, dealing with extended expectations, and schooling children whose parents had been exposed to the virus.
With all of this going on, we need to talk about teacher moral. We are in a mental health crisis, even for those of us not directly affected. So those of us that are affected? We are taking it one day at a time and just trying to survive.
As we all know, there’s only so long this can keep going for before something snaps… if we want to make sure it isn’t our teaching staff that do the snapping, the teacher’s need some help.
Essential Workers and a Huge Migration
Since Teachers are deemed essential in the UK, they still have to go to work in spite of all the extra stresses a pandemic can bring. This has been accompanied by a huge migration for teachers, many of whom have never had a video chat before.
There is a distinct line through the generations in teaching. A generational divide, if you like. The older generation are new to the idea of video calling, while the younger generation grew up with it. If you don’t have the skills to migrate to a digital lesson plan, you are going to find this incredibly stressful. These teachers feel left out, are struggling to keep up, and will find frequent reasons to postpone, delay, or otherwise neglect the digital lessons.
How do we cope with all of this as employers of teaching staff? Let’s take a look…
Coping Strategies for Teaching during Covid-19
First of all, you have to re-train those staff that need technical help. On top of this, extra training should be made available to all teaching staff, that focuses on mindfulness, wellbeing, and maintaining good mental health. Hays Education do this very well as a firm. They are one of few companies which had already made the migration online before the pandemic forced big educators to do so.
Use teamwork as much as you can. Identify problem areas and solve them as a group. If nothing else, we can come through this with a tight-knit team of teaching staff that work together to problem solve without the intervention of management.
Encourage them to switch off. Teachers have a huge burden of lesson planning, teaching, and marking. Make sure their day ends at 5pm, like everyone else’s. Ensure they take time to enjoy breaks and try to make break times more rewarding.
Make the school a fun place again. The kids are mostly gone but that doesn’t mean you can’t inject youthful enthusiasm about the place. Ordering in a takeaway lunch once a week, bonding over browser games, and experimenting with filters, should all be encouraged.
Most importantly of all: be attentive.
Your staff are strained to breaking point. Pay attention to the things they do, and don’t, say. Their workmates are the only people many of them are seeing right now who are adults. Support each other and hopefully it will all be over soon.