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  • Jema-Ann P. Mangawit

Challenges of Being a Mother and Teacher at the Height of COVID-19

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

By: Jema- Ann P. Mangawit, Teacher- II, Limos National High School

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, where restrictions were enforced to keep citizens safe from the deadly virus, schools around the globe shifted from face-to-face classes to online classes or the use of self-learning modules. With this change in the delivery of lessons, parents were left with no choice but to be the facilitators of their children in their studies. On the other hand, teachers had to adapt to the new modalities of educating learners. Working parents, however, had to adjust to their work, especially when it is a Work From Home arrangement, assist their children with their modules, do household chores, and perform their role as a spouse.

For teachers and mothers at the same time, the abovementioned adjustments suggest a more complex responsibility as the coauthor of the study in Educational Studies, Julie Gorlewski, says “balancing a teaching career and motherhood seems to be becoming more difficult. Both roles carry an expectation of selfless nurturing and can result in physical and emotional exhaustion.”

Expectations from teachers increased as the transition to self-learning modules necessitated teachers to give timely updates to parents, give feedback to learners or contact them of their delayed modules, at the same time preparing lessons, printing them out, checking, grading, distributing, and retrieving. Moreover, teachers are expected to keep their lines open at all hours as parents or students contact them for queries. With these, teacher-mothers continue to make adjustments, especially when facilitating their own children with their modules and doing household chores.

On occasion, for teacher-mothers to meet their diverse roles at work and at home, weekends are utilized for assisting their children with their modules. However, since children have a limited attention span, helping them on the weekends for a whole week module could be strenuous both for children and the parents.

Additionally, working mothers who are busy on the weekdays normally do household duties such as doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and taking care of the children on weekends, and with this new kind of setup, physical and emotional exhaustion could not be avoided. This is consistent with research findings that “teacher-mothers were reported to be doing more of these activities than their partners. Even when partners contributed more equally toward household labor, mothers typically engaged in significantly more mental labor planning and managing tasks (Hermann, M.A.,, 2020).”

The reason behind this could be explained by previous research conducted by Moreau and Kerner in 2015 where culturally, mothers are expected to show devotion and self-sacrifice. In addition, a survey about stress and burnout conducted in 2019 and 2020 revealed that of the 1122 faculty member-respondents, 70% of them were reported feeling stressed in 2020 as compared to 32% in 2019. The impact was higher on women, with 75% of them feeling stressed as compared to 59% of men. Adding to that, doing work and parental responsibility during lockdowns, according to Keong, G.C.S. (2020), has generally intensified stress levels for parents.

When it comes to professional development, Kramer, J. (2020) found that “increased workload caused by the shift to online teaching has disproportionately affected women, leaving less time for research and the development of publications.

Despite these challenges facing teacher-mothers during the pandemic, there are no better coping mechanisms than working together with their spouses, asking assistance from their relatives (Filipino culture of extended family), the school with their classroom policies, and the community through the binnadang system.


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