Teachers’ experiences of stress and their coping strategies during COVID-19 induced distance teaching
Florian Klapproth 1 * , Lisa Federkeil 2, Franziska Heinschke 2, Tanja Jungmann 2
More Detail
1 Medical School of Berlin, Germany
2 Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany
* Corresponding Author


Mastering distance teaching imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging for many teachers. In the present cross-sectional survey, we assessed the level of stress that teachers experienced during the lockdown of schools in Germany, their strategies to cope with it, and external and internal barriers for distance teaching with an online questionnaire. Teachers were recruited for the study on the basis of nationwide professional networks (e.g. Eduserver – Education in Germany, The German Education Union (GEW)) as well as by advertising the study on homepages of associations for different special educational needs and in social networks (e.g. Facebook, Instagram). A total of 380 teachers from different school forms participated. They experienced medium to high levels of stress. More than 50 percent of them spent more than four hours daily on remote teaching, with secondary grammar school teachers experiencing significantly more stress and working more hours daily than special education teachers. The vast majority of them experienced technical barriers, but most of them felt able to cope functionally with the stress. Female teachers experienced significantly more stress, but coped with it more often in a functional way; teachers used more functional coping strategies when they expected external factors as barriers for distance teaching. The results imply that teachers’ digital skills should be developed, schools should be better equipped with the necessary computer hard- and software, and more research on psychological factors contributing to teachers’ willingness to use technologies for remote teaching in the pandemic and beyond should be done. 



  • Al-Fudail, M. & Mellar, H. (2008). Investigating teacher stress when using technology. Computer & Education, 51, 1103-1110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2007.11.004
  • Anger, C. & Plünnecke, A. (2020). Homeschooling und Bildungsgerechtigkeit. IW-Kurzbericht 44/2020.
  • Bol, T. (2020). Inequality in homeschooling during the Corona crisis in the Netherlands. First results from the LISS Panel. (Working Paper). 10.31235/osf.io/hf32q
  • Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F. & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267-283. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.56.2.267
  • Cheema, J. (2012). Handling missing data in educational research using SPSS. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University. https://hdl.handle.net/1920/7840
  • Drossel, K., Eickelmann, B., Schaumburg, H. & Labusch, A. (2019). Nutzung digitaler Medien und Prädiktoren aus der Perspektive der Lehrerinnen und Lehrer im internationalen Vergleich. In B. Eickelmann et al. (Hrsg.), ICILS 2018 #Deutschland. Computer- und informationsbezogene Kompetenzen von Schülerinnen und Schülern im zweiten internationalen Vergleich und Kompetenzen im Bereich Computational Thinking (S. 205-240). Münster: Waxmann.
  • Eickelmann, B., Bos, W., Gerick, J. & Labusch, A. (2019). Computer- und informationsbezogene Kompetenzen von Schülerinnen und Schülern der 8. Jahrgangsstufe in Deutschland im zweiten internationalen Vergleich. In B. Eickelmann et al. (Hrsg.), ICILS 2018 #Deutschland. Computer- und informationsbezogene Kompetenzen von Schülerinnen und Schülern im zweiten internationalen Vergleich und Kompetenzen im Bereich Computational Thinking (S. 113-135). Münster: Waxmann.
  • Eickelmann, B. & Drossel, K. (2020). Schule auf Distanz. Perspektiven und Empfehlungen für den neuen Schulalltag. Eine repräsentative Befragung von Lehrkräften in Deutschland. Düsseldorf, Germany: Vodafone Stiftung Deutschland.
  • Fryer, L. K. & Bovee, H. N. (2016). Supporting students’ motivation for e-learning: Teachers matter on and offline. Internet and Higher Education, 30, 21-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2016.03.003
  • Goetz, M. (2020). Distance Learning in der Covid-19 Krise: Ein Praxischeck. Medienimpulse, 58, 1-21. doi: 10.21243/mi-02-20-19
  • Greenglass, E. R. & Burke, R. J. (2003). Teacher stress. In M. F. Dollard, A. H. Winefield, & H. R. Winefield (Eds.), Occupational stress in the service professions (pp. 213-236). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
  • Harwardt M. (2020) Digitalisierung in Deutschland – Der aktuelle Stand. In M. Harwardt, P. J. Niermann, A. Schmutte & A. Steuernagel (Eds.), Führen und Managen in der digitalen Transformation (S. 17-34). Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28670-5
  • Huber, S. G. & Helm, C. (2020). COVID-19 and schooling: evaluation, assessment and accountability in times of crises—reacting quickly to explore key issues for policy, practice and research with the school barometer. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 32, 237–270. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11092-020-09322-y
  • Kember, D. & Leung, D. Y. P. (2006). Characterising a teaching and learning environment conducive to making demands on students while not making their workload excessive. Studies in Higher Education, 31, 185-198. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070600572074
  • Klassen, R. M. & Chiu, M. M. (2010). Effects on teachers’ self-efficacy and job satisfaction: Teacher gender, years of experience, and job stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102, 741-756.
  • Kyriacou, C. (2010). Teacher stress: Directions for future research. Educational Review, 53, 27-35. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131910120033628
  • Leopoldina-Stellungnahmen zur Coronavirus-Pandemie (2020). Available under: https://www.leopoldina.org/publikationen/detailansicht/publication/leopoldina-stellungnahmen-zur-coronavirus-pandemie-2020/ (Access: 23.07.2020)
  • Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., Liao, J. Y.-C., Sadik, O. & Ertmer, P. (2018). Evolution of teachers’ technology integration knowledge, beliefs, and practices: How can we support beginning teachers use of technology? Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 50, 282-304. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2018.1487350
  • Pithers, R. T. & Soden, R. (1998). Scottish and Australian teacher stress and strain: A comparative study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 68, 269-279. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8279.1998.tb01289.x
  • Pittman, T. & Gaines, T. (2015). Technology integration in third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms in a Florida school district. Educational Technology Research and Development, 63, 539-554. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-015-9391-8
  • Quezada, R. L., Talbot, C. & Quezada-Parker, K. B. (2020). From bricks and mortar to remote teaching: a teacher education programmes’s response to Covid 19. Journal of Education for Teaching. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2020.1801330
  • Skaalvik, E. M. & Skaalvik, S. (2018). Job demands and job resources as predictors of teachers’ motivation and well-being. Social Psychology of Education, 21, 1251-1275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-018-9464-8
  • Travers, C. J. & Cooper, C. L. (1996). Teachers under pressure. New York: Routledge.
  • Wildemann, A. & Hosenfeld, I. (2020). Bundesweite Elternbefragung zu Homeschooling während der Covid 19-Pandemie. Landau: Zentrum für Empirische Pädagogische Forschung.
  • Wrase, M. (2020). Schulrechtliche Herausforderungen in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie. Die Deutsche Schule, Beiheft 16, 105-116. https://doi.org/10.31244/9783830992318.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.