The wellbeing of teachers and students has emerged as a common concern in research studies in recent times, specifically during the critical period of COVID-19. Based on the findings drawn from the qualitative data through focus group discussions of five groups of teachers (16 females and 8 males) and students (10 males and nine females) at the tertiary level of education in Bangladesh, this paper shows that online teaching during COVID-19 is affected by personal and social challenges, and consequently, both teachers and students experience anxieties and stresses. Teachers are anxious because of the university authorities' surveillance, frequent pay cuts, and fear of losing jobs due to students' low enrollment in universities. They also suffer from physical discomforts, such as back pain, blur vision, and headache because of the prolonged engagement with online activities. Students, especially those from a non-privileged background located in peripheral rural contexts, seem to suffer more from contextual realities that are non-conducive for technology-based learning. Increased numbers and various forms of online assessments also seem to become a burden for them. In general, educational experiences of online teaching seemed to have a peripheral role in their conceptualization of wellbeing. The paper concludes that the insurmountable attention given to online pedagogic practices across the world needs to be balanced out by an equal effort in improving the wellbeing of both teachers and students.


qualitative enquiry, wellbeing; online teaching, higher education, COVID-19, Bangladesh

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Shaila Sultana, Professor, Department of English Language, Institute of Modern Languages, University of Dhaka, has been educated at Jahangirnagar University (Dhaka), Monash University (Melbourne), King’s College London (London), and UTS (Sydney). She has authored articles in renowned international applied linguistics and sociolinguistics journals, such as Linguistics and Education, International Multilingual Research Journal, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Asia Pacific Communication, Asian Englishes, Translanguaging and Translation in Multilingual Contexts, International Journal of Multilingualism, and Journal of Sociolinguistics. Her recent publications include a co-authored book, Popular Culture, Voice and Linguistic Diversity (Macmillan Palgrave, USA) and a co-edited Special Issue of the Australian Review of Applied Linguistics titled, “Translingual Practices Entangled with Semiotised Space and Time.” She is also the Lead Editor of the Routledge Handbook of English Language Education in Bangladesh (UK, 2021). She is on the editorial boards of Language in Society (Cambridge University Press), Journal of English-Medium Instruction (John Benjamins), Ampersand (Elsevier), Journal of AsiaTEFL, Crossing, Journal of BELTA, and other journals in Bangladesh. Professor Sultana is also an Advisory Board Member for Ampersand. ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3985-8488 Please direct correspondence to safa1209@hotmail.com.

M Moninoor Roshid is a Professor of English Language Education and the Head of the Department of Language Education in the Institute of Education and Research (IER), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Moninoor completed his PhD at Monash University, Australia. He has several publications on English as a business lingua franca, materials development, discourse analysis, and graduates’ employment published by Sage, Sense, Springer, Routledge, Multilingual Matters, and Cambridge Scholars. His recent co-edited volumes are: Engaging in Educational Research: Revisiting Policy and Practice in Bangladesh (2018) by Springer, Singapore, and The Routledge Handbook of English Language Education in Bangladesh (2021). ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9212-5895

Md. Zulfeqar Haider did his Ph.D. and M.Ed. (TESOL) from Monash University (Australia) and M.A. in English from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. He works as a teacher, teacher trainer, textbook and curriculum writer and assessment specialist and is a Professor and Head of the Department of English at Muminunnisa Government Women’s College, Mymensingh. He is the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of English Language Education in Bangladesh. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0529-797X

Rubina Khan is Professor of English language and teacher education at the Department of English, University of Dhaka. She has an M.A. in TESOL from the University of Northern Iowa and a PhD in ELT from the University of Warwick. She has worked as an educational consultant on testing and teacher development on several national and international projects. Her areas of interest are testing, assessment, evaluation, teacher education, and leadership skills. She is the President of BELTA. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6795-0276

Dr. Mian Md. Naushaad Kabir is Associate Professor of English Language at the Institute of Modern Languages, University of Dhaka. He received his PhD in English Language Education from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. His areas of interest include curriculum and materials evaluation, testing and assessment, and multilingualism. He presented papers at home and abroad and published articles at national and international levels. He is the vice president of the Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA), 2019-2021, and the founding executive editor of BELTA Journal. He is the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of English Language Education in Bangladesh. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6205-2493

Akhter Jahan is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, East West University, Dhaka. She has recently earned a Ph.D. in English Language Studies from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Before that, she achieved M.A. TESOL from the University of Lancaster, UK, winning Hornby Scholarship (2011–2012). She is a teacher trainer as well. She presented papers and published research at both home and abroad. Her interest areas include ELT Methodology, Second Language Acquisition, Teacher Training, Curriculum Development, and Materials Design. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3641-805X


The research was conducted by the Research SIG of BELTA (Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association) and funded by BELTA.

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