Surviving or Thriving? Experiences and job satisfaction of language instructors in the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic




pandemic, job satisfaction, teacher experiences, teaching challenges, online language teaching, USA


The COVID-19 pandemic meant fast changes for language educators. Understanding how teachers experienced online language teaching during the recent pandemic is crucial for the language teaching profession in order to better prepare instructors for future scenarios in which a move to online instruction may be necessary again. Language instructors’ experiences can help inform administrators and program directors about potential gaps in teacher training or support needed for effective language instruction. This study investigates the experiences and challenges that increased or decreased language teachers’ feelings of satisfaction with teaching online. As an exploratory study, both quantitative and qualitative methods are included in order to capture a broad picture of teacher job satisfaction. The results indicate common challenges faced by teachers during online instruction, and the qualitative analyses of correlations between pre-identified factors impacting job satisfaction allowed us to measure the strength between these factors and job satisfactions; pre-defined factors included familiarity and ease of technology, relevance of training, and expectations of how long online/distance education would last. We conclude this study with a discussion of how these findings can be used to better prepare for future shifts to online teaching, including strategic use of training, programmatic changes in teaching load, and the role of technology in facilitating the delivery of content and interaction between instructors and students.


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Author Biographies

Daniel Walter, Oxford College, Emory University

Daniel Walter (Ph.D.) is Assistant Professor of German and Linguistics at Emory University’s Oxford College. His research focuses on the intersection of second language acquisition, morphosyntax, and psycholinguistics, with an emphasis on instructed second language acquisition and German as a second language. He serves as the reviews editor for Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German and on the editorial board at Language Development Research. He teaches courses in German at all levels, as well as courses in second language acquisition, syntax, and psycholinguistics.

Theresa Schenker, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University

Theresa Schenker (Ph.D.) is a Senior Lector II of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. She joined the German Department in 2012 as language program director. She teaches all levels of German language as well as advanced language/culture courses. Her research interests are computer-mediated communication, telecollaboration, intercultural competence, and study abroad. Theresa currently serves as co-editor of Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German and as software review editor for CALICO.


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How to Cite

Walter, D., & Schenker, T. (2022). Surviving or Thriving? Experiences and job satisfaction of language instructors in the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Language Teaching, 2(11), 1–14.



Original Research