The findings of this study can be presented in the following areas:
１. Entanglement of Professional and Housework:
In the current situation, the daily and minor problems of the house that were easily resolved in the past or were even considered negligible, such as not having lunch on time cluttering the house, have become a concern. Says Sarah, a math teacher:
"I feel sad and guilty that I have time to teach online and I cannot give breakfast to my little child, or sometimes I am so busy teaching that I do not have time to prepare lunch for my family."
The physical presence of women in the home has increased the family's expectations. These expectations, along with the internalized belief that women are responsible for the house have made them feel inefficient and undermined their self-esteem. Teachers are satisfied that they are at home and seemingly able to play the gendered roles of mother, wife, and housekeeper, but they also complain a lot about the pressure. Huriya, a geology teacher, says:
"I am thrilled to be at home and physically present, but both online teaching and housekeeping have been difficult for me."
Women teachers feel satisfied in performing their duties properly and flawlessly, whether as teachers or caregivers, mothers, and wives. Presence in the field of endless competition to meet expectations requires a perfectionist attitude and the fear of the stigma of incompetence. Hosna, a biology teacher, says:
"In the spirit of perfectionism, I try to take care of everything promptly."
Supposedly, online teaching has the advantage of being at home and working while being with their children, which has also caused other issues that made them worried about losing emotional stability and healthy relationships with their children and especially with their spouses. Mehri says:
"Teaching for hours and sitting in a separate room, as well as being constantly busy answering students' questions, has robbed me the opportunities to be with my family, and I cannot help but answer my students, and I feel so far away from my family."
Raised expectations are not just from the family and the teachers themselves. Online communication has made teachers available to students all day. Samaneh, a Persian language arts teacher, says:
"[In the past] I had a set time and a specific workday, a specific schedule, I could make time for my children, my partner, my home and get some rest, but now, although we are not physically present at school, we are available to students all day, and we do not have a regular schedule anymore."
Manijeh, an Arabic foreign language teacher, also says:
"My work schedule and timing are disrupted. With our access to phones and cyberspace, school officials and students expect teachers to be always online and available to answer questions, reducing the level of tolerance and patience for students and administrators. They expect their request to be answered immediately. Working hours used to be more orderly in person."
In a similar vein, Manijeh says:
"The working hours in the online class have increased for me because I answer children's questions in private chats. In addition, a large number of children send homework or questions every day and every hour, even at one o'clock after midnight, and expect prompt answers."
Teachers' lives have changed, making it impossible to succeed with a blurry line between housework and school, the two battles that were already un-winnable and unjust.
Coping with the change and resisting a new order is another thing that is heard during the conversations. For example, Mastaneh, a physics teacher, says:
"During my class, I get furious at the noise that my little five-year-old daughter makes, I have to argue with her, and I make my child and family members upset all the time.
2. Internalized Gender Roles:
Although the teachers stated in many cases that they had the support from their families, they also said that they were always responsible for the housework and that their spouses did not do anything except in forced/ emergency cases. This confirms the internalization of patriarchal values and the manifestation of gender roles, i.e., the housework is for women. In other words, despite their social contributions, women teachers have accepted that it is their duty to do housework, take care of children, and only benefit from their husbands' rare cooperation. Says Nastaran, an English foreign language teacher:
"Usually, we do things together at my request; I just wish it could not be done without an argument and dispute."
The social presence of women in the labor market and economic independence has also brought a sense of emancipation. Simultaneous work at home and work from home have also affected self-worth. Hamta, a teacher of Religion and Life, says:
"I became a teacher to have social relations outside the house, being with students and interacting with my colleagues gave me much energy, now I feel tired and isolated."
Of course, some teachers have accepted the prevailing patriarchal culture and are very satisfied with staying home while teaching. Nevertheless, women embrace inequality and the culture of male domination, their belief.
Khadijeh, a writing teacher, says:
"I am pleased with the new situation and being at home because I can take care of my house, my children, and my spouse and not worry about traffic and arriving late."
Some teachers consider themselves absent attendants who, although physically present at home, are not with their families and are mostly engaged in online teaching. Nastaran says:
"It is difficult to accept that family members are not available while at home and that the present is indeed absent.”
３. Teaching as a Feminine Job:
Another critical point that was brought up during the conversations is the family's view of women's (teacher) jobs, which in some cases has been considered less-valued, insignificant, and underpaid. This view complements another traditionally feminine work, the housework, which considers women's work invisible, inadequate, and unimportant. Huriyah says:
"Unfortunately, a teacher is understood only by a teacher, and our family members and spouses do not understand us; I feel lonely."
Although learning about this perspective is not a discovery, adding some extra costs, which the employer (school) should ideally be reimbursed, has added to this tension. Insufficient support for online teaching by the school and the lack of technical support, equipment supplement, and the cost of purchasing data/ internet packages have discouraged teachers and caused tension in families to the point that they fear being humiliated and teased when additional necessary teaching costs occur. This has become the subject of family disputes. Huriyah says:
"Providing equipment for virtual classes such as laptops, cell phones, and Internet packages is all the responsibility of the teacher, and this is an additional expense for the family, and this in itself causes concern and anxiety, the consequences of which are transmitted to students during teaching, and it goes back to the family."
In such a tense atmosphere, as always, the women have to keep secrets and put their happy faces on when appearing on the screen. Being concerned about the disclosure of privacy, such as sound from the house being heard by the students, disrupts the relationship between teacher and student. A teacher who needs respect and authority to lead the class is always concerned about the details of her personal relationships within the family, including economic status, home decor (which also reflects the family culture and economy), and the status of the teacher as a woman at home. There is also a risk that students that are now privy to so many things from inside the house could abuse the teacher in the future. Tahereh, a math teacher, says:
"My partner is a retired and very hard-working veteran and has a second job, mostly having phone calls with a thunderous voice which sometimes sounds harsh for people around him. Unfortunately, this tone of voice has affected our sons as well. Of course, I do my best to respect and keep a distance, but well, I am constantly under the stress of leaking noise into my class."
In this regard, Leila says:
"Most of the time, my problem with the noise around me is from my little boy; he cannot understand and cannot be silent for several hours until I finish teaching."