School Leadership

The Emotional Labor of Teaching

 August 3, 2019

By  Principal Tribe Editor

What is emotional labor? Why does teaching involve emotional labor? Why does teaching involve emotional labor? How can we support the management of emotional labor?

We previously published an article on teacher burnout and offered resources for you to use at your school. Today, let’s explore the concept of emotional labor, and we’ll offer some free resources that you can pass along to your staff this school year!

What is Emotional Labor?

Emotional labor is the management and excursion of emotions required to perform a job. In teaching, this can have a wide array of results such as teacher stress, alienation, joy, and job satisfaction.

Why Does Teaching Involve Emotional Labor?

It is commonly asserted that teaching involves relationships and human connections for optimum learning to occur. This can require teachers to be extremely flexible in evoking, suppress, and express a range of emotions throughout each workday.

How to Manage Emotional Labor

A recent article offered six ways to manage emotional labor:
1) Recognize What Emotional Labor Is
2) Learn Problem-Solving Techniques
3) Have Crucial Conversations
4) Remember the Rewards and Share Success Stories
5) Talk to Your Administrators
6) Take Care of Yourself

Resources for Managing Emotional Labor

Teach Your Heart Out!

This article tells the gripping story of one teacher's emotional labor in a second grade classroom. It also provides strategies and resources to manage teacher stress and emotional labor.

Emotional Labor of Teaching

This 2011 research article covers the misconceptions and misinterpretations of the emotional labor of teaching.

Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators

A practical framework to avoid burnout and keep great teachers teaching.

About the author

Principal Tribe Editor

Principal Tribe is connecting and amplifying the voices of principals and school leaders. Focusing on school leadership, educational research, and learning.


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