Divulging the Lived Experiences of Public School Teachers in the USA during COVID-19 Pandemic: Phenomenological Analysis

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research 22 (5):180-205 (2023)
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Abstract

This research examined the lived experiences of public school teachers in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. A qualitative design was performed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Twenty public school teachers in the United States formed the sample, with the inclusion criterion being a minimum of three years’ teaching experience, including the pandemic. To meet the safety measure protocols set by the U.S. government, the data gathering was conducted online using Microsoft Forms. The semi-structured interviews comprised two sections: the first ascertained the respondents’ profiling and the second revealed their first-hand experiences. The thematic analysis approach was utilized to analyze the data. The findings disclosed five emerging themes: 1) low student engagement; 2) unstable internet connection; 3) professional development as school district support; 4) utilization of online engagement tools to leverage classroom engagement; and 5) evident parental support. School districts, teachers, parents, students, and potential researchers were provided with recommendations for improving online and hybrid instruction. In addition to implementing socio-emotional learning programs and addressing slow internet connections, it is advised that school districts train teachers on how to use the tools, software, and techniques for online and hybrid instruction. Teachers who are having difficulty in adjusting to online learning should think about developing their capabilities for helping students while finding a healthy balance in terms of stress management. The use of technology to support students should be adequately taught to parents. Future studies on the pandemic's effects on education should continue.

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