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Teaching Through a Global Pandemic: COVID-19 Insights from the Tennessee Educator Survey

With the unprecedented school closures due to COVID-19, Tennessee educators had to fundamentally alter how they do their jobs. To understand more about how educators across the state have addressed the challenges related to the closures, TERA asked teachers and school leaders to report on their experiences as part of the 2020 Tennessee Educator Survey.  This brief analyzes educator responses to the questions specific to COVID-19, and provides insights on how teachers and principals worked to support their students while school buildings were closed this spring. 


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Key Findings
COVID Brief  
  • Student Access: More than half of teachers identified access to remote learning or access to crucial services, like meals and counseling, as among their biggest concerns about students amid school closures.

  • Technological needs: More than three-quarters of teachers selected technological supports for remote learning (e.g., internet access and reliable devices) as the most helpful supports needed to promote educational access, and educators discussed the need for these supports to address educational inequities. 

  • Guidance and Resources for Remote Learning: Schools and districts were identified as important sources of guidance for teachers in planning remote learning. Teachers described additional instructional needs, such as teacher training on virtual learning and guidance for supporting special education students and English learners.

  • Student Engagement: More than two-thirds of teachers reported regularly sending electronic learning resources to promote remote learning, while less than one-quarter reported regularly planning virtual classes. This engagement varied across different types of districts.