Hybrid Learning Teacher Struggles [THERAPY THURSDAY]
We're into November, and school is in full swing – as much as it can be, at least. When we asked therapist Autumn Prior about what has been trending in her practice over the past several weeks, we were surprised to hear that she wasn't saddled with people coping with anxiety about the election.
Instead, Prior told us that she is seeing a lot of stress from both parents and teachers about remote or hybrid learning. The model is new for everyone and is the core of a lot of stress, according to Prior.
Often, teachers have double the planning, with one lesson for in-person learning and another for at-home learning. She said that teachers have also expressed to her that it is harder to keep the kids focused. Plus, one of the bigger stress points is technical difficulties for both the teacher and the students. Teachers are taking on things that are sometimes out of their area of expertise.
"Add all of these things up," Prior said, "And that can take a toll on their mental health."
Prior's advice to teachers is simple.
"Lower your expectations for yourself," she said. "This is a unique experience for everyone, and nobody has it easy. In March, April, and May, it was just a matter of getting through the school year. With this new school year, there are more expectations. Don't put too much pressure on yourself because of it."
Setting boundaries between home and work is also important. Try not to let those two parts of your life blend into each other, if possible. It's healthy to have separation from work and home. She also suggested doing things that genuinely make you happy, whatever they may be. Try new things to take your mind away from the stressful, anxious place work may put it in.
For parents, Prior said it is important to know that kids are affected by the new learning models as well. Kids aren't used to learning at home. If there are other kids or just a loud house, then they may be unable to focus while in their virtual classes. There could be technical problems that aren't easy to fix, like weak WiFi or computers being too slow, issues that impact how much work a student can get done. Kids may also be struggling to retain the information they learn, finding it hard to sit in front of a computer for hours on end. Most students just don't have experience with that type of learning environment.
Prior advised parents to recognize hybrid learning as a good opportunity for your child to gain independence, and be self-sufficient. Help your child when they need it, but also try to let them fly on their own.