Teacher Self-Efficacy during COVID-19: A Qualitative Study on Experienced High School Teachers


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In March of 2020, every teacher's career changed when the impact of COVID-19 prevented students from coming to school in-person. With the entire structure of education forced to change because of schools moving to online learning, Bandura's research on self-efficacy can provide insight to how individual teachers' self-efficacy beliefs adapted during COVID. This qualitative study focused on individual teacher's experiences involving the four sources that are known to impact self-efficacy, including mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and physiological state. Given that research has found educators at the mid-point of their career are typically at their highest levels of teacher self-efficacy beliefs, seven teachers with at least ten or more years of experience in a public high school were interviewed for this research. This study observed that each teacher was impacted to varying degrees in each of the four sources of self-efficacy over the two years, between March 2020 and June 2022. The most notable self-efficacy impacts among all participants were with mastery experiences, social persuasion, and personal physiological state, as many teachers struggled with the loss of student interaction while teaching online. This study's findings suggest that the amount of support from schools and leadership played a significant role in teachers recovering their self-efficacy beliefs during COVID. In addition, results found that teachers who had an adaptable growth mindset toward teaching were more likely to easily rebound from self-efficacy loss. Based on these findings, school districts should evaluate what kinds of support they provide to teachers, both pre- and post-COVID. Focusing on what teachers need most, considerations should potentially address emotional adaptability and wellness opportunities to help teachers not only recover from the lingering effects of COVID, but also the everyday changes they face in the classroom.