In her keynote presentation, professor Stephanie Dashiell opened with the words, “I’m not okay . . . and that’s okay.” She was speaking at the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy @ Virginia Tech to educators who continue to grapple with the demands of teaching during a pandemic. Her message was simple — just as we care for our students, we must also care for ourselves.
Dashiell offered faculty several suggestions for practicing self-care, many of which we’ve heard before, but could probably benefit from a reminder:
- Set boundaries: Dashiell encouraged faculty to set specific work hours and stick to them as well as designate a specific space in the home for your work.
- Add smart/fun gadgets for the office: Provide yourself regular work breaks that encourage you to relax and move around.
- Music therapy: Dashiell explained the benefits of music therapy and its ability to inspire creative as well as relaxation.
Belmont faculty echoed many of these ideas in the recent panel “Teaching through Life Challenges.” In this presentation, five Belmont faculty shared their response to balancing life and teaching, adding a few additional points of encouragement.
- Let go of previous expectations that worked in different circumstances. Instead embrace that this time is different, which means we must moderate our expectations of ourselves and work differently.
- Find something that refreshes you and do it daily. Whether it is journaling, walking or embracing a new hobby, do something for yourself each day.
- Give yourself grace and ask for help.
In an effort to extend this conversation, the Teaching Center will host an Idea Swap on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 3:30 p.m. for faculty to discuss Self-Care and Supports While Teaching During the Pandemic.