Exploring How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Teacher Expectations in Schools

  • Author / Creator
    Flanagan, Agnes MH
  • Expectations are beliefs that someone should or will achieve something. Expectations influence performance—positive expectations improve outcomes, whereas negative expectations worsen them. We know very little about how teacher expectations changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study used a descriptive qualitative approach to explore the impact of the COVID-19 public health measures on expectations in schools. Specifically, teacher expectations for students and for themselves, as well as teachers’ perceptions of their administrators’ expectations for them. Twelve teachers were purposefully sampled across Canada and interviewed in the spring of 2021. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Five categories were identified. Expectations for students and teachers changed. Students were still expected to do their best but what they were doing looked different. Participants set healthy boundaries and prioritized their well-being due to burnout looming. Administrators made some efforts to be supportive and realistic during this time; however, many participants felt it was not enough. Participants described it was more difficult to develop relationships with students and certain groups of students struggled more than others during the pandemic; both impacting how much teachers could expect of them. The findings contribute to the literature by providing suggestions for future research and proposing an expanded version of a conceptual model for expectations in schools. More importantly, the findings can inform school leaders on how to best support teachers, and how teachers can support and advocate for themselves, during high-stress situations or extreme circumstances, such as a pandemic.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.