I’m finally making progress. Since my last blog, I’ve conducted three interviews with my colleagues, asking them about their experiences with hybrid, remote, and in-person learning during the pandemic. I’m still not sure how many more interviews I want to conduct, or whether I want to expand my study by interviewing teachers from other disciplines, but I hope that as I start analyzing the data, I’ll begin drawing out important threads that will guide my future processes.
For now, I’m feeling pretty productive, and I hope I can keep this energy up throughout the semester. The interview process has affirmed some of my prior beliefs about teaching during COVID, but a lot of what my coworkers have shared has surprised me as well, so I’m looking forward to continuing this data collection to see what other useful information I can glean. I hope to get another interview conducted this week, and maybe one or two next week before our school’s week-long fall break. I’ll be able to use that time off of work to transcribe the interviews and perhaps even start some preliminary analysis of the data.
Speaking of transcription, I’ve transcribed about three-quarters of my first interview. I think I’ll continue doing my own transcription rather than hiring someone to do it for me, because I find it useful to re-listen to the interview and then comb through it line-by-line to edit the spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It’s almost like a “pre-analysis” stage in which I’m familiarizing myself with the data and refreshing my memories of the original interview.
Since I’m going to do the bulk of transcribing interviews myself, I need to figure out a better system. Notability—the app I’ve been using to record—is convenient because I can take notes in the app with my stylus, and when the audio plays back, the notes I took are highlighted in real time so I can see exactly what I was thinking as my interviewee was speaking. However, the app can only slow the audio down to 0.7x speed. I’m a fast typer, so if I really wanted to, I could manage to keep up, but the faster I type, the more errors appear, and the more errors appear, the more I get flustered and stop typing to go back and fix any mistakes. So, to speed up the process, I’m going to need to slow down the audio.
My main goals for this week are going to be to get some more interviews and figure out a streamlined way to convert the audio from Notability into another format, but I’ve also started thinking about what else I can add to my thesis. The numerous news stories about workers striking and resigning in response to poor working conditions has me wondering how many educators are following suit. I’m toying with the idea of researching whether the pandemic caused teachers to leave the profession, but that might be too far out of the scope of my project because none of the teachers I’ve interviewed so far have indicated that they plan to resign or retire.
Like many of my thesis-related ideas, I’m going to put this one on the back-burner; maybe it’ll be relevant to add to my introduction or conclusion to demonstrate that asking for teacher’s input—i.e., the entire premise of my thesis—is an important part of keeping our education system functioning.