‘Maslow before Bloom’: Implementing a caring pedagogy during Covid-19


The speed at which the novel coronavirus, known as Covid-19, spread around the world in early 2020, has been well-documented. Countries closed their borders, cities and regions went into lockdown, schools and businesses closed and hospital geared up for an influx of patients (Cameron, 2020; OECD, 2021; UNESCO, 2020). On March 25, New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown, the most restrictive of the government’s alert level system. The school holidays, due to start on April 9, were brought forward two weeks to give the Ministry of Education and schools a chance to prepare for school-led home learning. A survey of schools highlighted that only half the schools in the country felt they could deliver learning fully online, with lack of devices and limited Internet connectivity being the major problems (New Zealand Government, 2020). Most schools moved into home learning on April 15 and continued until after May 18, when the country moved down to Level 2. On return, schools needed to alter their approaches to comply with social distancing and hygiene requirements until the country returned to Level 1 in June. In August 2020, Auckland schools closed again  and yet again several times in 2021 (Author, 2020; Cameron, 2020; Education Review Office [ERO], 2021; Henrickson, 2020; Ministry of Education, 2020). The arrival of the Delta variant in Auckland communities, in late August 2021, led to further regional lockdowns, some of which are still in place at the time of writing.

This article draws on in-depth qualitative interviews with 20 teachers in either late 2020 or mid-2021, as part of a larger study of New Zealand schools’ responses to Covid-19. The article begins with a short synthesis of research literature on teachers’ responses to lockdowns overseas and in New Zealand. The methodology for our study is briefly outlined before describing the ‘caring pedagogy’ theoretical framework that underpins the approach to this article. The findings are presented in a semi-chronological order, from teachers’ preparation, to implementation, to returning to school. The findings are interspersed with ‘found poems’ created from verbatim transcripts to highlight teachers’ voices. The discussion section revisits the concepts in the article’s title, that is, ‘Maslow before Bloom.’ The overall purpose of our article is to portray the tension between teachers’ willingness to adopt a caring pedagogy and the toll that it took on them, personally and professionally.


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How to Cite
Mutch, C. (2021). ‘Maslow before Bloom’: Implementing a caring pedagogy during Covid-19. Teachers’ Work, 18(2), 69-90. https://doi.org/10.24135/teacherswork.v18i2.334