Psychological Safety of Academics in the New Normal: What Works?
I had a good 30-minute laugh yesterday when I went through memes of online teaching and learning. I had two options: ‘moan over the memes in frustration of my reality’ or ‘laugh it out’. Obviously, I took the second route.
Life in the classroom is unimaginably different these days. The new normal takes a toll on teachers’ mental health and wellbeing. From dealing with poor class attendance, working extremely long hours, making sense of the shift in the evaluation of students’ learning, managing virtual classroom behaviour, being intentional about mindfulness and self-care etc. The publish or perish rule also lingers on the other hand. The struggle is real.
COVID-19 in of itself has disrupted ways of being. Varying levels of psychological safety have been reported across all professions and the education sector is no exception. What has worked for me? Well, it pays to have a predetermined vision, more like a list of possibilities, a realistic action plan if you like. One’s ability to be mindful of limits and acknowledge possibilities plays an important role in leading a healthy professional life. Today’s professionals need to develop new capabilities to address complex challenges in innovative and humanly possible ways. There is no better time to stay in your lane. What works for the Jones might not work for you, so stick it in.
Create time to relax. Working online or from home doesn’t mean working round the clock. Take care of the goose that lays the golden egg, else you will run out of eggs soon. Find time to attend conferences and webinars on professional development. Don’t neglect your community of practice. Contribute to the conversation by sharing your experience and learning from others. Get a good non-academic book to read while you are waiting in the queue. Savour every opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. Exercise and hydrate often. Detox intermittently. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and if possible, follow a plant-based diet.
Above all, pray without ceasing.
Abosede Ijabadeniyi (PhD)
Research Director: Regenerate247 Research Solutions