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Front Psychol. 2014 Dec 11;5:1442. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01442. eCollection 2014.

Teachers' emotional experiences and exhaustion as predictors of emotional labor in the classroom: an experience sampling study.

Author information

1
Department of Empirical Educational Research, University of Konstanz Konstanz, Germany ; Department of Empirical Educational Research, Thurgau University of Teacher Education Kreuzlingen, Switzerland.
2
Secondary and Middle Grades Education, Kennesaw State University Atlanta, GA, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Munich Munich, Germany.

Abstract

Emotional exhaustion (EE) is the core component in the study of teacher burnout, with significant impact on teachers' professional lives. Yet, its relation to teachers' emotional experiences and emotional labor (EL) during instruction remains unclear. Thirty-nine German secondary teachers were surveyed about their EE (trait), and via the experience sampling method on their momentary (state; N = 794) emotional experiences (enjoyment, anxiety, anger) and momentary EL (suppression, faking). Teachers reported that in 99 and 39% of all lessons, they experienced enjoyment and anger, respectively, whereas they experienced anxiety less frequently. Teachers reported suppressing or faking their emotions during roughly a third of all lessons. Furthermore, EE was reflected in teachers' decreased experiences of enjoyment and increased experiences of anger. On an intra-individual level, all three emotions predict EL, whereas on an inter-individual level, only anger evokes EL. Explained variances in EL (within: 39%, between: 67%) stress the relevance of emotions in teaching and within the context of teacher burnout. Beyond implying the importance of reducing anger, our findings suggest the potential of enjoyment lessening EL and thereby reducing teacher burnout.

KEYWORDS:

experience sampling method; intra-individual vs. inter-individual analyses; teacher emotional exhaustion; teacher emotional labor; teacher emotions

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