Urban Teachers’ Perceptions of Remote Instruction in the Early Stages of COVID-19 Pandemic
Abstract: The threat of COVID-19 obliged public and government officials to grapple with the issue of how to offer education while keeping their community (students, families, teachers, management, and staff) safe. Infection rates in New York City and Northern New Jersey doubled daily. In order to prevent new infections and also to minimize the rate of spread of COVID, in mid-March, 2020 area schools closed down suddenly. This study aimed to capture the early stages of this transition. A mixed research design was used, collecting both qualitative and quantitative data to explore in service K-12 teacher’s perception about online teaching-learning during the COVID-19 crisis. Particular attention was placed on the personal and institutional preparedness for emergency remote teaching, technologies used, and lessons learned. The study involved 24 teachers from public school districts in New Jersey. The results indicate inadequate professional development prior to going online for emergency remote learning and limited online support regarding locating and using high-quality online resources. Data showed mixed results regarding impact of remote learning exacerbating inequities among low income students, mediated by issues of access to technology and increased opportunities for connecting with families. Respondents were more concerned with checking in on family and student mental health and maintaining a sense of normal routines than on engagement with schoolwork.