Managers Feel the Stress of Hybrid Teaching

December 4, 2020

News

Photo by Jade Brumfield

By Peyton Perez 

As project managers at The ASK Academy are asked to reduce the amount of schoolwork that the scholars are given outside of class, scholars are beginning  to feel more at ease.

In early November, the administrators at The ASK Academy asked project managers to reduce the amount of schoolwork that is given to scholars outside of class. With the reduction of schoolwork, many scholars feel less stressed and much more relaxed. “I am less stressed with less homework and schoolwork,” says freshman Colter Watkins. Watkins said his grades have improved since he no longer has to worry about getting a large amount of work done in a short amount of time. 

Freshman Gregory Gallegos can agree that the decrease in schoolwork has allowed him to be “more at ease.” Even though Gallegos has felt a decrease in his stress levels due to the decline in schoolwork, he is still stressed and is still getting about the same amount of schoolwork in the class that affects him the most, Honors English. “I noticed that the Honors classes, like Honors English, are still giving the most intense work in my opinion, and since the new policy doesn’t really apply to them. (The manager) still assigns about the same amount of homework.” Gallegos said that it is the quantity of work that stresses him out rather than the content. He also finds that he struggles with procrastination as well as lack of motivation which increases his stress levels since he knows he has a lot to do last minute. Gallegos is feeling much better about online school however, he can still get stressed out when he has a lot of work to do.

Heightened stress levels due to school are still affecting scholars however many feel much more relaxed and at ease now that schoolwork has been reduced. For many project managers, this is a different story.

Some project managers at The ASK Academy have felt more stressed while teaching with an online format. They find it more difficult to teach online rather than in person and have had heightened stress levels since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

Krista Pink, the assistant special educator and sixth grade resource teacher at The ASK Academy has had a very different experience while doing online teaching. Since the beginning of the school year, Pink has been much busier than she used to be, working about twelve hours a day. 

“My day, my calendar is booked,” she said. 

The busier schedule surprised Pink since she originally believed that she would have more down time and would have a more free schedule. The constant working can stress her out but she believes that it is good stress rather than bad stress which pushes her to work harder for her scholars. If the stress gets overwhelming she will reach out to her fellow staff members as her support system.

 “I think we have a really strong support system and I’m not afraid to use it,” she said. 

Even though online teaching has had its downfalls, Pink has been pushed to find new teaching methods and be much more creative. She has found many new and ffective ways to teach which she plans to use even outside of online school. 

Bahador Mousavi, who teaches AP Calculus, Pre-Calculus and Algebra 2 has felt an increase in his stress levels since the very beginning of this school year. The stress that he feels stems from many things that occur during online school. Issues with technology, distractions, lack of communication and collaboration and a busier schedule all increase Mousavi’s stress levels. Whenever Mousavi is stressed, he said he finds that it is helpful to give himself breaks as well as communicate things with his scholars. 

“Being honest with my students and knowing that we have common and mutual problems I think prevents the stress,” he said.

During online school, Mousavi has noticed a decrease in the efficiency of teaching which adds to the reasons why he dislikes online teaching.  Mousavi would much rather be teaching in person.

Cheryl Walker, 12 grade English, tenth grade Honors English, and Yearbook teacher has also felt stressed about the online schooling. Like Mousavi, there are many things that cause Walker stress; for example, lack of communication and almost nonstop working will cause her stress. She provides herself with boundaries, giving herself set screen breaks and she will do things that she enjoys to get away from technology. Walker feels very disconnected with her fellow staff since it is more difficult to communicate and it isn’t as spontaneous.

“We don’t talk to each other that often and when we do it’s a very structured time,” she said. 

Walker has also found it much more difficult to add creativity into her lessons and make her lessons engaging for her scholars over an online format. She spends much of her time thinking of new ways to teach making her day very busy.

 “I have so much prep and homework grading and basically everything I do, I work nonstop almost all the time.” Although Walker strongly dislikes online school, she is very glad it exists so that she can continue teaching. 

The request for teachers to hand out less school work outside of class has affected project managers at The ASK Academy greatly. The amount of work handed out to students decreases, giving project managers less time to get their lessons out to students. This change has affected all three of Walker’s classes. 

“We read a lot of books in my classes which means that now a lot of class time has to be dedicated to reading books…it’s like a race to the finish,” she said.

There is an extra difficulty in her Yearbook class since there is so much to be done in so little time. “When is comes to yearbook its extra tricky cause there is so much visual arts, its hard to do the really creative stuff in the hour.” There is now a cram for Walker to make sure that her scholars learn everything that they would normally before the semester ends. Mousavi has also been strongly affected by this change. Since everything is rushed and going quickly, Mousavi never knows if his students are actually understanding the work that he is giving.

 “I feel that my scholars do not have a chance to understand my courses concepts deeply,” he said. He also feels like he has more of a workload on his shoulders which adds to his stress levels. Even though the decrease in homework has helped scholars with their stress levels, it has added to the stress levels of the project managers.

As more time passes by, many project managers and scholars adjust more to the online school format. Stress, however, is still a prominent feeling amongst everyone at the academy. Although online school may not be ideal, many are glad that it is an option.

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