Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Human Sciences and Education

Document Type



This study examined the dilemma ESL teachers experienced as the educational system shifted from the usual modus operandi of in-person lessons to the uncharted virtual learning environment (VLE). ESL teachers, in one of the largest urban districts in Louisiana, accumulated additional roles and responsibilities that were unique to the teachers of the English learner (EL) population enrolled at their schools.

Data collected to answer the research questions were the product of single and focus group’s interviews with five ESL elementary and middle school teachers in Freedom District. State and district emergency response to COVID-19 guidelines, along with instructional artifacts, were collected to establish internal validity. Data analysis indicated: (a) the 2020-2021 school year district and school leadership plans to reopen schools were chaotic and lacked the necessary tools and resources to support teachers in the VLE; (b) an overwhelming account of the additional roles and responsibilities ESL teachers adopted while teaching in the VLE; (c) an intimate view into their ELs’ daily lives and a lack of resources available to them; and (d) a description of individual attempts to continue providing linguistic and academic support to their students.

This study displayed the responses ESL teachers, throughout pandemic teaching, displayed as they continued providing access to grade level content while supporting English proficiency acquisition, even when participants felt unprepared to effectively perform their job duties in the VLE. Additionally, it became clear that ESL teachers need increased support staff to close the developmental, academic, and linguistic gaps participants noticed even after a full year of in-person instruction.



Committee Chair

Barrera, Estanislado