Navigating through Turbulent Times: U.S. Secondary Teachers Share Their Experiences as Online Learners and the Implications for Their Teaching Practice

Jioanna Carjuzaa, Kayce Boyd Williams
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This Participatory Action Research project was a collaborative endeavor designed to identify the challenges secondary in-service teachers face as learners in a virtual context and the implications their participation in graduate synchronous remote coursework had for them as middle and secondary classroom teachers teaching online. In this article we highlight the obstacles schools have been facing amid the coronavirus pandemic, present the fears consuming teachers, parents and students, describe the frustration with remote learning, summarize the pre- and post-coronavirus teacher stress, burnout, and attrition occurrences, outline preventative measures being taken to make schools safe and secure, and discuss how supporting teacher self-care, in turn promotes student wellbeing. We share lessons learned from identifying teacher stresses in the online virtual learning context and redesigning our graduate courses for our participants by modeling best practices for coping with technostress, incorporating technology tools, modifying pedagogical procedures and integrating various resources to enhance virtual instruction. Using thematic analysis we identified the following themes which impact the e-teaching-learning experience: a) juggling multiple demands in the home environment while learning online is distracting; (b) balancing work-life responsibilities is challenging; (c) teaching and learning in a virtual context is isolating; (d) dealing with technostress is overwhelming and (e) practicing self-care allows teachers to support student wellbeing. We summarize the findings from this project where the teachers reflect on their personal experiences while enrolled in online graduate  courses and describe how the teachers’ experiences as learners, informed their teaching practice

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