Understanding Midwestern US Teacher Socialization during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kevin Andrew Richards, Nicolette Smith-Suchon, Christopher J. Kinder, Benjamin D. Kern, Kim C. Graber, Amelia Mays Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has had both short- and long-term impacts on the institution of schooling, as well as on teachers and students who experienced it. While much has been learned about the impact of the pandemic, including in physical education, less is known about how physical education teachers navigated the sociopolitical realities of their work as they were socialized through the pandemic. Adopting occupational socialization theory, the purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of Midwestern US physical educators during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lasting implications for their careers. Participants were 30 in-service physical education teachers (20 female and 10 male) from one state in the US Midwest who each participated in a semi-structured interview. Semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded and analyzed using a multiphase collaborative qualitative analysis method grounded in analytic induction and deduction and focused on thematic development. Data analysis resulted in four themes: (a) changing instructional modalities was challenging but prompted creativity and growth; (b) resources were scarce, and marginalization was intensified through the pandemic; (c) recognizing and responding to changes in teacher and student health; and (d) stressors associated with COVID-19 may influence teachers’ career trajectories. This study not only adds to the literature related to COVID-19 but also is important for understanding how the schools’ culture changes through times of crisis. It is likely that other local, regional, national, or international events will cause disruptions in teachers’ work and the nature of student learning in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Physical education
  • marginalization
  • occupational socialization theory
  • qualitative research
  • school sociopolitics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding Midwestern US Teacher Socialization during the COVID-19 Pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this