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“I was on an Island”: COVID-19 impacts on educator collegiality


Emerging research has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the working conditions of educators and led to increased levels of stress, burnout, and turnover. Few studies, however, have examined changes in collegiality during the pandemic despite scholarship noting that educators experienced isolation as support systems weakened and collaboration with colleagues in school settings was reduced. In this essay, we discuss the impacts of the pandemic on educator collegiality by drawing upon survey data gathered from 758 educators in 38 public schools in New York State. Survey results show that COVID-19 related disruptions negatively impacted educators’ collegiality although these impacts differed in intensity by educator gender, role, mode of instruction, and years of experience. As educator collegiality is related to a range of positive influences on educators and students and has been shown to potentially mitigate burnout and turnover, it is crucial to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on collegiality and discuss strategies to support educator collegiality in the future.

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  1. A detailed report on the methods and procedures used for this research is available on the researchers’ website (Wilcox et al., 2022b).


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Appendix: Variables and descriptive statistics

Appendix: Variables and descriptive statistics


M / %


Source and coding




"With which gender identity do you most identify?" Choices were: Male, Female, Non-binary, Transgender, Other, I prefer not to say. Dummy variable for female educators (equals 1 if female, 0 otherwise).

Log (Years of experience)



"How long have you worked in your profession?" Recategorized midpoints for 1.5 years, 4 years, 7.5 years, 16 years and 25 years. Years of experience were logged to adjust for skewness.

Classroom teacher



"What is your primary role?" Dummy variable for 1 = "classroom teacher" (e.g., Mainstream/classroom /Core subject area teacher, Special subject area teacher, Special Education teacher or English New Language/Bilingual Education teacher) and 0 = "other educator" (e.g., Teaching assistant, Social worker or counselor, or administrator).

Collegiality pre-COVID (α=0.882)



"How frequently did you have the following interactions with others in your school prior to the pandemic (before March 2020)" Scale is average of the following statements coded 0 = never to 5 = everyday:

I collaborated with my colleagues in planning and preparing instructional materials

I shared what I learned from my teaching experiences

I worked with colleagues to try out new ideas for engaging students.

My colleagues and I discussed struggling students

My colleagues and I shared strategies for communicating with students’ families

Collegiality COVID year 2 (α=0.891)



How frequently have you had the following interactions with others in your school in this school year (Fall 2020-present)? Scale is average of the following statements coded 0 = never to 5 = everyday:

I collaborate with my colleagues in planning and preparing instructional materials

I share what I learn from my teaching experiences

I work with colleagues to try out new ideas for engaging students

My colleagues and I discuss struggling students

My colleagues and I share strategies for communicating with students’ families

Mode of student learning COVID year 2^

 Fully remote



"I am currently working with students who are learning (select all that apply): Dummy variable for remote only (equals 1 if remote only, 0 otherwise)

 Mixed remote & in person



"I am currently working with students who are learning (select all that apply):" Dummy variable for a combination of in-person and remote (equals 1 if remote and in-person combination, 0 otherwise)

  1. The total number of educators who responded to the survey is 758

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Schiller, K.S., Wilcox, K.C., Leo, A. et al. “I was on an Island”: COVID-19 impacts on educator collegiality. J Educ Change 24, 1099–1110 (2023).

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