Stressors and Coping Strategies in the New Normal: A Case Study of Teachers in a Higher Education Setting

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Conference Proceeding

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When governments restricted holding in-person classes to contain the spread of COVID-19, many higher education institutions turned to digital technology to continue the education of their students. This abrupt change in the delivery of teaching and learning posed pedagogical and technological challenges to the teachers. And as governments have gradually allowed the return of students to physical classrooms with the decline in COVID-19 cases and the rollout of vaccines, teachers must adapt once more to a different arrangement for teaching and learning. Using the Job Demands-Resources Model as a theoretical framework, this case study examined the stressors (i.e., job demands) encountered by teachers in a higher education setting as students have returned to physical campuses. It also explored their coping strategies (i.e., job resources) that helped them adjust to the demands of using a different arrangement for teaching and learning in the new normal. Thematic analysis of responses to open-ended questions in a survey of 100 teachers in an institution of Catholic higher education in the Philippines showed demands related to teaching as a job and other competing concerns were brought up as stressors when in-person classes resumed after two years of fully online teaching. It also revealed seeking social support, focusing on teaching and research, and practicing self-care as their ways of coping with the demands of the new normal. Findings from this study can contribute to policies that can cater to faculty development.