In the spring of 2020, many public places closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most public schools in the United States suddenly closed buildings as educators and students scrambled to adapt to distance education. This phenomenological, qualitative study holistically explores elementary educators’ experiences during the extended school closures. The 18current elementary educators who participated in individual interviews, served rural, elementary students. Individual interviews allowed participants to discuss and explain their experiences concerning methods, materials, time commitments, and communication with colleagues, parents, and students. They also discussed how they used feedback to alter their teaching. The interviews were conducted during the closures instead of after the closures, without the benefit of hindsight. They provided insight to challenges and hopes for future changes. The research is conducted within a P-20 context. Educators were required to be innovative as they gathered and created resources to meet the needs of their rural students. Educators demonstrated leadership in communicating needs and working together with parents, colleagues, and stakeholders to provide educational requirements of students. Educators were able to implement new technology and structure to their teaching. The educators were in a position that allowed them to understand the diverse situations and needs of their students as they worked in the challenging COVID-19 response. Some educators were able to shift their pedagogy to meet the dynamic situation, others were not. This study does not discuss the effectiveness of the response, it examines the experience during the response.
Year manuscript completed
Year degree awarded
P-20, COVID-19, distance education, elementary educator, phenomenology, interview
Dissertation Committee Chair
Randal H Wilson
Melissa A Chapman
Pryor, Jessica and Pryor, Jessica, "UNDERSTANDING EDUCATORS’ EXPERIENCES DURING LONG-TERM SCHOOL CLOSURES" (2020). Murray State Theses and Dissertations. 179.
Curriculum and Instruction Commons, Educational Leadership Commons, Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration Commons, Elementary Education Commons, Elementary Education and Teaching Commons, Online and Distance Education Commons