School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Ellen Ziegler


Phenomenology, COVID-19, Teachers




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe teachers’ lived experiences with self-efficacy teaching face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic in a public school district in South Georgia. The theory guiding this study is Bandura’s (1977) theory of self-efficacy which was used to answer the following central research question: What are teachers’ lived experience with self-efficacy teaching face-to face-instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic? Twelve teachers from two schools provided a description of their lived experiences teaching in-person instruction amid the pandemic. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, teacher journals, and a focus group. Data analysis followed Moustakas’ (1994) transcendental methods of epoché, phenomenological reduction with horizontalization and thematic development to create a textual description of the phenomenon, imaginative variation to create a structural description of the phenomenon, and synthesis of textural and structural descriptions to present the essence of the phenomenon. The study produced four themes and nine sub-themes. The themes were perseverance, awareness, a need to socialize, and challenging. The findings revealed that teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching in-person instruction continuously fluctuated and was informed by their classroom experiences and perceptions of their classroom environment. Teachers experienced increased self-efficacy through mastery experience, vicarious experience, and verbal persuasion, which enhanced their commitment and relationships but experienced decreased self-efficacy through emotional arousal because they perceived their environment as challenging, which exacerbated stress.

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