This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Public school teachers during COVID-19: A study of performance using job demands-resources theory




Schell, David

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


This study examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public school teacher performance. The study uses job demands-resources (JD-R) theory to view the overall relationship between the positives and negative aspects of work for teachers, and additionally looks at public service motivation (PSM) and uncertainty reduction theory (URT). Utilizing qualitative respondent interviews, the study found that overall teacher productivity decreased during the pandemic due to an increase in job demands that were not typically present in an average school year. The study also found that the primary resources utilized by teachers to remain productive and counteract job demands included PSM, transformational leadership, effective organizational communication, communication with coworkers, and disassociation from the job. PSM was found to be an extremely pertinent aspect of teachers’ work, working as an effective job resource, and in some situations, as a demand. From an organizational standpoint, teachers most valued two-way symmetrical communication from their district, and URT was supported as an applicable theory in organizational settings.