Web talk by Dr. Jai Ranjan Ram

Department of B.Ed.
Web talk by Dr. Jai Ranjan Ram, Consultant Psychiatrist
Topic – Stressors in Online Teaching from the Perspectives of both Students and Teachers and their Management'
Date: 13th January 2021

Dr. Ram began his lecture by stating that we all face a stressful situation in life and our ability and inability to handle stress is a dynamic concept. It is not static as the situation changes and we need to learn from our past experiences so that we can grow in future and adapt better. Teachers have been in stressful situations for multiple reasons for the past five to ten years, mostly regret the lack of autonomy in their jobs. Even before this pandemic situation all of us have been handling the pre-existing stressors in our lives and this pandemic situation teachers and handling more stressful situations. Teachers uniquely had multiple pre-requisites of stresses even before the pandemic, and in this present situation, this has accelerated. Now if we consider the stress caused by the pandemic, we can now take a layered view of what kind of stresses teachers are going through. Firstly he emphasised on the ‘forced and accelerated online teaching’ and the ‘technological challenges faced by both the teachers and the students. Secondly, he emphasized increased screen time of both the teachers and the students. Thirdly the online teaching is creating dissatisfaction about the methodology and dissemination of information as the face to face interaction is said to be more effective pedagogically, and fourthly another factor is that the teachers are absorbing the stress of students and their parents also.

He then mentioned about certain disentangling coping strategies like ‘managing emotion related stress’, ‘managing practicalities to ameliorate stress’, ‘you can approach the problem head-on’, ‘you can avoid the problem and lie low’. He mentioned how to approach strategies actively work to change the stressors or accept its presence in one’s life. Avoidant coping strategies tend toward more dysfunctional response such as ignoring, denial, distraction or unhealthier methods. He mentioned not to pre-ordain certain strategies as better than others. He also stated that it is advisable to consider the fit between an individual’s coping strategies and the constraints of a given situation. He also said that different events require different responses as they evolve, and there may be moments when denial, distraction, venting and so on are the best available responses as a short term strategy. Stress not only refers to a psychological but also a physical condition that produces a variety of effects which threatens the wellbeing.

Dr. Ram mentioned that how well we manage stress depends on context, adaptability and support and teacher stressors extend well beyond the teaching context. He also highlighted ‘post-trauma growth and resilience’ among teachers. During this pandemic situation as a cohort, teachers have shown competence, great resilience and mature professionalism. Some of the positives about the pandemic has been to develop a tolerance for uncertainties in life, to be a stoic for few days, take action even under uncertain situations, and he ended by stating that we are all inter-connected.