Prodipta Hore has a passion and drive to guide teachers in devising creative teaching strategies. With over two decades of teaching experience, Mr. Hore is currently not only the Coordinator for International Initiatives & Head of Faculty – Mathematics at Aditya Birla World Academy, but he also spearheads the planning, execution and co-ordination of the academic programmes at the Aditya Birla Education Academy. According to Mr. Hore, the secret to success in this ever changing world is to acquire knowledge and most importantly widening of one’s knowledge that will cater to the demands of one’s professional needs, the needs to stay curious, openness to new information, and to be ever willing to learn and grow.
During the early months of the Covid outbreak, there was a broad sense of enjoyment surrounding the virtual working phenomenon including for the education sector with an aim at limiting the virus spread. However, as the year has passed, the absence of physical contact with students and educators has resulted in an increased level of ‘virtual fatigue’, the reason being so much time of our life currently is being absorbed through a screen.
The pandemic led education institutions to adopt an ’emergency remote teaching’ paradigm, in which teachers immediately digitised and posted lecture materials online while also conducting lessons in a synchronous way to online students. There was and still is a huge amount of pressure on educators to upgrade the traditional learning experiences and prevent digital learning weariness. This movement to become more engaging facilitators and catch students’ short attention spans has proven to be a lesson that will survive far beyond the age of online learning.
However, this online learning offers many pros, there are certain cons attached to it. ‘Virtual fatigue’ being one, especially among educators, who were not accustomed to contributing so much time in front of a screen. The entire scope of their employment has migrated online, from checking homework to correcting assignments. However, to be able to mitigate the stress caused by online classes, here are eleven easy ways to deal with virtual exhaustion.
- Shorter timetables for students – Schools should think about implementing shorter live lessons for students. More time can be given for asynchronous reading and project work. This will help keep all stakeholders away from the screen for some time.
- Keep therapists on dial – School officials must provide facilities to connect teachers with therapists if they are experiencing mental health difficulties as a result of excessive screen time.
- Create an office environment at home – Invest in an ergonomic chair and table and adequate lighting to make teaching from home comfortable.
- 45-minute buzzer – Set an alarm for every 45 minutes to stand up and stretch to avoid cramps or stiffness.
- Plan your week in advance – Each lesson should be planned ahead of time. Not only the educators but the students will also feel less stressed if they know what to expect. To make it easier for learners to follow along and anticipate time commitments, put the agenda on a slide.
- Off screen recreational activities – Chaotic scheduling results in virtual fatigue; thus listening to soothing music or reading a book or practising some form of physical exercise can help dodge the feeling of being overwhelmed by screen time exposure.
- Establish ‘No meeting’ time blocks – Teachers can do this after their scheduled class. This brings in rest for the eyes and brain for some time.
- Creation of beginning and end ritual – In order to be cut off from work and to avoid overstimulation, one should shut the laptop and not close it.
- Use of Conference Calls – Though seeing each other may not be possible but to give a break from the screen time. Team meetings could be done on conference calls.
- Adopting asynchronous mind-set – To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the exposure, a teacher can decide together with the students to turn camera off occasionally, especially when it is not of utmost importance. For the same reason, a teacher should also use the mute button while students work on their tasks. Moreover, one can switch from ‘gallery view’ to ‘speaker view’ when one feels that a full screen of eyes is too much.
- Deadline Extension – A teacher must take some things off their to-do list. Teachers should show themselves the same level of care that they show their students and loved ones.