Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Diane Kern


The COVID-19 shutdown in March of 2020 moved teachers into emergency remote teaching. Emergency remote teaching (ERT), which is a temporary shift of instructional to an alternative delivery mode due to crisis (Hodges et al., 2020, p. 6), caused teachers to deal with a pedagogy they had never anticipated (Yildirim, K., & Elverici, S. E., 2021), often done with little guidance from administration (Trikolis & Papanastasiou, 2020). ERT also isolated teachers from their students and colleagues (Green et al., 2020; Hart & Nash, 2020) all of which led to a decreased sense of professionalism and efficacy (Reich et al., 2020). The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of secondary school teachers during ERT to see how they fostered their self-efficacy to better assist them during future moves to ERT. The research questions for this study were: 1) What were the meanings and understandings secondary school teachers gave to the experience of ERT during the COVID-19 pandemic? And 2) What impact did the move to ERT have on the experience of developing teacher self-efficacy?

This hermeneutic phenomenological study involved semi-structured interviews with nine secondary school teachers. The data was analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological analysis (Smith et al., 2021). Three major themes emerged: “Struggling to Maintain Relationships,” with four subthemes; “Struggling to Redefine Teaching,” with six subthemes; and “Struggling with their Own Feelings,” with two subthemes. This dissertation concludes with a discussion of the findings, recommendations for future research, and policy recommendations that could assist teachers in developing their self-efficacy during any future moves to ERT.



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