Stress, Anxiety and Education
I read the Carleton U Reddit a few days ago, and there were lots of obviously distressed students posting about the difficulty of studying during the pandemic. So I decided that, as an instructor, I should try to offer a few words of encouragement. So I wrote the following, drawing on a statement in my Physics 1003 course outline, one of the courses that I'm teaching at the moment:
I'm a contract instructor here at Carleton, and I wanted to say a few things to you.
You are trying to learn in an unprecedented situation. It is hard. Nobody expected this, and nobody was really prepared for it.
Do not be surprised if you find it hard going. It's not your personal failing, it's a bad situation. Do safeguard your physical and mental health as your top priority. Courses can be retaken, if necessary.
• Use the mental health resources in the pinned thread.
• Talk to someone.
• Post a rant here. Someone will be listening.
• Talk to your instructor, if you are struggling. Many of my colleagues
will be supportive.
•I have 280 students currently, and I'm proud of all of them, as they cope with the situation. I'm proud of all of you. I see you.
The students guessed who I was immediately, of course. The username Tie_Collector probably gave the game away!
As instructors, we should reflect on a couple of things.
We need to encourage our students in difficult times.
We need to communicate that through channels where the students are.
I'd like to see many more instructors do this.