The Challenges of Remote K–12 Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences by Grade Level

Nancy L Leech, Sophie Gullett, Miriam Howland Cummings, Carolyn A Haug


The transition to remote teaching in K–12 schools during the spring of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) presented new challenges to teachers across the United States. This survey-based mixed methods study investigates these challenges, as well as differences by grade level, to better understand teachers’ experiences remote teaching. A total of 604 teachers who had completed the survey were included in this study. Findings indicate that some challenges were experienced by teachers across grade levels, with common challenges including student engagement, adjusting curriculum to the remote format, and the loss of the personal connection of teaching. Differences were also found by grade level, with elementary teachers struggling more with varying attitudes of parents regarding remote learning and adjusting their curriculum to an online format, and secondary teachers more often reporting student engagement and a general feeling of being lost or unsupported in their teaching as challenges. These challenges provide important context around the experience of remote teaching, as well as what supports teachers need to continue remote teaching.


remote teaching, challenges of teaching, teaching during a pandemic, online teaching

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