Anxiety, Shame, Joy, Fear, and Layoffs: Teachers and the Pandemic

Lucía Colima stopped being paid the second month of school closures and the third month she was fired. Two years later she is still looking I work as a teacher. “It was a very difficult time, all of 2020 was very complicated,” says Jorge Gilberto Novelo. And that he continued teaching and the online modality It even allowed him to teach at other entities.

As soon as the pandemic began, the 64-year-old professor and nutritionist began studying to pass the tests that the Institute of Sciences and Higher Studies of Tamaulipas (ICEST) applied to the staff in all its campuses in the country. “The university needed to know if we were capable of teaching online.”

In the first quarter of 2020 the National Survey of Occupation and Employment (ENOE) reported more than 1 million 914,000 education workers working and 244,355 were absent, but with a labor relationship. For the third quarter of that year, the number of professionals teaching classes fell to 1,800,000 and almost 600,000 became unemployed, but kept their jobs. However, more than 100,000 people may have been laid off or stopped working and earning a salary.

who continued to work faced other challenges. They have experienced “insecurity, frustration, anxiety, boredom, disgust, shame and fear,” the study says The negative emotions experienced by teachers in virtual classes in times of pandemic.

The research is by Iván Gavotto, from the University of Sonora, and Lidia Castellanos, from the University of Professional and Postgraduate Studies. This set of emotions is attributed to the didactic problems“the lack of mastery of technological resources and the deficit of social skills such as empathic listening and assertive communication”.

After this pandemic, the education sector it requires a greater investment “in the well-being, training, professional development and working conditions of the 71 million educators in the world,” says the UN.

Contrasts in the midst of chaos

Jorge Novelo was teaching classes in the Bachelor of Nursing in Campeche when the federal government decreed the closure of schools. At ICEST “we had to take a diploma on the administrative, technological, teaching methodology online and covid-19”, says the professor with more than 20 years of teaching and clinical experience.

“Many colleagues fell by the wayside because they did not comply with the program. And I understand it, the institution could not risk that the teacher was not prepared”.

He passed all the exams, but that does not erase the impact that “such a sudden change had on him: buying a computer, learning to use it, becoming your own teacher, the uncertainty of keeping your job, taking care of your life and that of those who love you. accompany”.

In the first year of the pandemic, even well into 2021, videos showing teachers in stressful situations spread on social media. There were those who reacted violently against their students and students who made fun of their lack of digital skills or that they supported them to manage the technology.

Among those cases, that of a teacher who after deal with platform, at the end of the session opened a space for “ideas, suggestions or claims”. Immediately a student replied: “Just tell him not to be distressed, don’t worry. We here support you and you can upload the videos to drive or whatever, send us the link, and we help him to put it on”. “Besides, your class is very interesting and very pretty,” another young man told him.

He did not expect it and confessed to them: “I was about to cry.” The class ended with voices being interrupted: “Thank you, doctor, for your dedication”, “I like your class”.

Professor Jorge Novelo remembers: “Suddenly everything was in chaos and I thought I was going to stop teaching. But wonderfully, I experienced something different, training opened up a range of opportunities for me and I began to teach online classes for other university campuses in the north of the country”.

Layoffs in the industry

The 15% of teaching staff middle and higher level workers work informally, according to the ENOE. “I had been in that high school for two years, a year before I was in another institute. I graduated as an actuary in 2017 and shortly after I became a teacher, but I have never had a contract or benefits,” says Lucía Colima, 29.

By the last fortnight of April 2020 he was no longer paid. “They told us that they had administrative problems due to the pandemic, but we arrived at the end of May and nothing. June and nothing, by that time we feared the worst and so it was. of a teaching staff out of 20 people, 10 were fired, they were not given severance pay and they were only paid for fortnightly arrears.

“Without a contract, in the pandemic, who was going to listen to us? I, at least, chose to find out what I was going to do”. In these two years he has given online consulting elementary, middle and high school students, worked as a data entry person from home and is now looking to return to teaching. “I like it a lot, but they already told me about a school. I hope to stay.”

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