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The Experience of Special Education Teachers During COVID-19

Howard, Nancy A. (2022) The Experience of Special Education Teachers During COVID-19. Undergraduate thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Background and Aims: COVID-19 dramatically changed the world we live in. Since 2020, studies have begun to report how COVID-19 has affected American teachers in mainstream education. There is limited qualitative research regarding how this pandemic has impacted special education teachers, those responsible for vulnerable student populations. The aim of this study is to explore and understand the experiences of special educators teaching during this very challenging time.

Method: Participants who have been teaching in special education prior to 2020 were recruited via convenience sampling (N = 5). All participants were special educators from a Michigan school district. The ages of the participants ranged from 27- 49 years. (M = 41.2, SD = 8.67) Questions regarding the participant’s experience teaching in special education during COVID-19 were asked during semi-structured interviews with each participant. The data was analysed by using the method of Braun and Clark’s (2022) phases of thematic analysis.

Results: Five key themes were revealed after the thematic analysis was conducted: (i) Unprepared for a changing work world, (ii) A workload of ‘many hats’, (iii) Personal effects of teaching during COVID-19, (iv) A passion for special education, (v) COVD-19 insights.

Conclusions: The experience of teaching special education during COVID-19 was a time of stress and uncertainty for these educators. Through the challenges and personal negative implications, the participants remained dedicated to delivering the best education possible to their students. The stress related to additional workload, and personal effects of teaching special education during this time must be evaluated to best prepare educators for future pandemics. It is critical the mental health and well-being of special education teachers be better supported to retain quality educators in this very challenging field.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Subjects: E History America > E11 America (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Teaching Personnel
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > Education for the Learning Disabled
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Stress (Psychology)
Divisions: School of Business > BA (Honours) in Psychology
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2022 12:25
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2022 12:25
URI: https://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5667

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