Ontario Teachers’ Policy Leadership During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Beyhan Farhadi York University
  • Sue Winton York University


policy leadership, teacher leadership, policy enactment


In this article, we combine theories of teacher leadership, policy leadership, street-level leadership, and policy enactment to inform our novel conceptualization of teachers’ policy leadership. We draw on data collected through a series of 3 focus group interviews with 31 secondary school teachers in Ontario between July 2020 and February 2021 to show how the dynamism of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted this aspect of their work. Specifically, our findings show the influence of administrative support and the shifting external, situated, and spatial contexts on teachers’ policy leadership. The findings also highlight the role of refusal and creative reinterpretation of educators who prioritized student well-being during the pandemic as schooling transitioned from more flexible emergency remote learning to a less flexible “business as usual” approach.


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