New Study! The Impact of COVID-19 on Teachers

Student Involvement: Kelsey McCurdy, Jill Briody, Helena Shoplik, Sabrina Callan, Mary Sarro, Gillian Zheng, Samantha Sommer, and Alexandria Travis

Faculty Involvement: Dr. Hedy Teglasi

Given the impact that COVID-19 has had on the education community and our continued interest in how to support teachers, the Temperament and Narratives Lab at UMD initiated a national survey of teachers. This study focuses on exploring the many ways that teachers are being affected by the pandemic. This study is being conducted by Dr. Teglasi and her team of eight doctoral students. Lab members have been busy completing tasks for this study within work groups that are focused on different aspects of the study. All lab members read responses from teachers and suggested potential coding categories for qualitative responses. A coding workgroup was established to further refine the coding manual. The coding workgroup included Kelsey, Jill, Helena, Sabrina, Mary, and Gillian. Additionally, a writing workgroup was established to create a preliminary dissemination of results, which included Helena, Sabrina, Jill, and Kelsey. Lab members continue to work diligently on this project with new work groups forming to create a research publication on the results. Stay tuned for both the publication of the preliminary results as well as the forthcoming research publication! At this time we are able to provide demographic information about our participants as well as information about our coding process and initial data on teachers’ mood states.

Demographics of the Sample

Our full sample currently includes 185 teachers representing 35 states across the US as well as military bases. For the preliminary dissemination of results, we chose to focus on responses to three qualitative questions included in the survey: (1) What are the most important issues for you right now, (2) what are you often thinking about with COVID-19 impacting many areas of daily life, and (3) write about a recent teaching experience that was meaningful and significant. In order for the coding of the qualitative responses to be comparable, we only included participants who responded to all three qualitative questions in the preliminary review of results. Thus, the demographics for both the full sample as well as the sample used for the preliminary dissemination are presented below:

Demographics of the Full Sample

Sample Size

184

Sex

  • Female: 91.9%
  • Male: 7.6%
  • Non-Binary/Gender Non-Conforming: 0.5%

Race/Ethnicity

  • White/European American: 87%
  • African American: 2.2%
  • Asian/Asian American: 0.5%
  • LatinX/Hispanic: 4.3%
  • Multi-Racial: 5.9%

Professional Status

  • Professional Teachers: 93%
  • Intern Teachers: 4.9%
  • Other Educational Professionals (e.g., Assistant Principals, Specialists): 2.2%

Length of Time Teaching

  • Mean # of Years: 10.2
  • Standard Deviation: 9.5
  • Minimum: 6 Months
  • Maximum: 45 Years

School Level

  • Elementary School: 51.4%
  • Middle School: 23.2%
  • High School: 27%
  • Non-Traditional: 5.5%

School Setting

  • Urban: 25.7%
  • Suburban: 55.2%
  • Rural: 15.3%
  • Other (e.g., DoDEA, Military Bases): 3.6%

General SES of School

  • High SES: 11.9%
  • Middle SES: 23.2%
  • Low SES: 29.2%
  • Mixture of SES: 35.7%

Geographic Areas/States Represented

  • DMV Area: 42.6% (D.C., MD, VA)
  • Northeast: 16.7% (ME, CT, NJ, PA, NY, MA)
  • South: 16.5% (NC, SC, GA, FL, AR, TX, AL, AR, LA, MS, TN, WV)
  • Midwest: 8.7% (IN, MI, IL, MN, KS, OH)
  • West: 12.1% (CA, OR, AK, WA, UT, NM, CO, MT, UT, WY)
  • Military Bases: 2%

 

 

Demographics of Sample for Preliminary Review of Results

Sample Size

74

Sex

  • Female: 92%
  • Male: 6.8%
  • Non-Binary/Gender Non-Conforming: 1.4%

Race/Ethnicity

  • White/European American: 86.5%
  • African American: 1.4%
  • LatinX/Hispanic: 8.1%
  • Multi-Racial: 4.1%

Professional Status

  • Professional Teachers: 93.2%
  • Intern Teachers: 4.1%
  • Other Educational Professionals (e.g., Assistant Principals, Specialists): 2.7%

Length of Time Teaching

  • Mean # of Years: 11.53
  • Standard Deviation: 10.54
  • Minimum: 1 Year
  • Maximum: 45 Years

School Level

  • Elementary School: 47.3%
  • Middle School: 27%
  • High School: 25.7%
  • Non-Traditional: 3.6%

School Setting

  • Urban: 21.6%
  • Suburban: 55.4%
  • Rural: 17.6%
  • Other (e.g., DoDEA, Military Bases): 4.1%

General SES of School

  • High SES: 12.2%
  • Middle SES: 21.6%
  • Low SES: 25.7%
  • Mixture of SES: 40.6%

Geographic Areas/States Represented

  • Maryland: 28.4%
  • Virginia: 17.6%
  • Northeast: 9.6% (ME, CT, NJ, PA, NY)
  • South: 15.1% (NC, SC, GA, FL, AR, TX)
  • Midwest: 8.3% (IN, MI, IL, MN, KS)
  • West: 12.4% (CA, OR, AK, WA, UT, NM, CO)

 

Preliminary Review of Data—Coding Process

            The three qualitative questions elicited open-ended responses from participants and the lab members developed a coding manual in order to identify the most common concerns and experiences among teachers during the pandemic. First, all lab members read participant responses and identified themes common themes they came across. The coding work group took those themes and combined them, with the help of the Dr. Teglasi into integrated broad themes. The coding workgroup then individually applied the coding manual ten participants’ responses and reconvened to discuss differences, challenges, and to make refinements. After this, three doctoral students (Kelsey, Jill, and Sabrina) coded the remaining participants and established reliability. The entire coding workgroup used the refined codebook in order to continue to refine the coding manual for future reviews of the data. Eight broad themes emerged from the coding process: (1) Difficulties Acclimating to New Teaching Demands, (2) Personal Concerns, (3) Teaching Is A Relationship, (4) School as a Place of Community, (5) Self-Reflection About Teaching Identity, (6) Communication Between Administration and Teachers, (7) Difficulty Balancing Multiple Demands While Teaching Remotely, and (8) Education is Not Restricted to Academics. More information on these codes and the frequencies of the codes will be shared soon!  

 

Current Mood States of Teachers

In addition to providing demographic information and answering the three qualitative questions, participants were also asked to provide a mood rating by completing a shortened version of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The PANAS contains two 10-item mood scales and provides brief independent measures of positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA). In the current study, 5 items were selected from each of the two mood scales to create a shortened measure. Typically, the PANAS scales are the most representative indicators of overall positive and negative affect as they represent averages of the positive and negative mood states that are asked about. In the sample used for the preliminary review of results, teachers’ positive affect was on average around 2.67 (a little less than moderate; SD: 0.82) while their negative affect was on average around 2.86 (a little less than moderate; SD: 0.95). Although the PA and NA scales are typically used to describe the mood states, it is notable that in this case there was greater variation among items within the scales. For example, “determined” falls under PA and a majority of teachers rated that they were moderately, quite a bit, or extremely determined. On the other hand “inspired” and “excited” fall under PA, but a majority of teachers rated that they were moderately, a little, or very slightly feeling those emotions. Thus, it is possible that the PA and NA scale scores underrepresent some of the variation occurring in this sample at this time. Therefore, we provide the frequencies for each item below:

Emotion

Very Slightly

(1)

A Little

(2)

Moderately (3)

Quite a Bit (4)

Extremely (5)

Positive Affect Items

Inspired

29.7%

27%

29.7%

10.8%

2.7%

Alert

6.8%

18.9%

21.6%

35.1%

17.6%

Excited

41.9%

28.4%

21.6%

8.1%

0%

Enthusiastic

29.7%

24.3%

33.8%

9.5%

2.7%

Determined

8.1%

14.9%

31.1%

17.6%

28.4%

Negative Affect Items

Afraid

10.8%

29.7%

31.1%

23%

5.4%

Upset

17.6%

27%

28.4%

14.9%

12.2%

Nervous

13.5%

20.3%

25.7%

25.7%

14.9%

Scared

16.2%

28.4%

21.6%

29.7%

4.1%

Distressed

12.2%

27%

32.4%

21.6%

6.8%