School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Kristy Motte


COVID-19, online learning, secondary education, technology, transition


Education | Online and Distance Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand secondary teachers’ experiences with an unexpected transition between in-person teaching and virtual modalities for secondary educators in New York public schools. The theory that guided this study was Schlossberg’s transition theory which provided a lens through which to understand the shared experiences of making an unplanned transition from face-to-face teaching to online platforms. The study was qualitative and followed a phenomenological research design. The setting for this study was multiple public school districts in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, New York. The sample was 10 secondary public school teachers from different content areas. I used Moustakas’ transcendental phenomenology procedures to analyze data collected from interviews, journal prompts, and a focus group. Findings showed the importance of support in the educational process, especially in times of emergency remote instruction. There was a continuous feeling of uncertainty throughout the transition pertaining to technology and how long remote instruction would last. A major finding of the study was that human connections are supreme in the teaching world, especially in times of crisis.