Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Marcia Bromfield

Second Advisor

Barbara Govendo

Third Advisor

Marya Levenson


In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the lives of educators across Massachusetts when schools closed their doors to in-person learning for the school year. Online teaching and learning became the norm as teachers quickly adapted their lessons for virtual classrooms. Student teachers were among these educators, finding themselves quarantined for the final months of their teacher education programs. Literature suggests that the student teaching semester and the relationships formed within it are integral to teacher education. How would these relationships fare through this interruption to the field experience? This qualitative case study examined the relationships between student teachers and supervising practitioners, and specifically explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these relationships. The case study tells the stories of seventeen individuals, selected using convenience sampling, participating in a student teaching practicum at a private university in Massachusetts. Through semi-structured interviews, the eight supervising practitioners, eight student teachers, and one university field placement coordinator discussed the importance of communication, trust, and hands-on experiences in the practicum. They identified the qualities of successful field placement relationships and shared personal perceptions about the impact of the pandemic on the teacher candidates’ overall readiness to teach. Examined through the lenses of Self-Efficacy and Cognitive Apprenticeship Theories, three important themes emerged from the data—the impact of professional resilience, importance of communication, and the positive effects of community and collaboration. The study’s participants shared the ways that the pandemic disrupted the practicum experience overall, while still providing valuable lessons for both student teachers and veteran educators to use well beyond the practicum.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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