School for Social Work
This study explores the classroom emotional experience of five teachers. It is based on the assumptions that teaching is an emotional enterprise; that teaching necessarily involves "emotional labor," or the work of emotion management; that attending to and working through emotions (a form of emotion management) can influence how teachers teach; and that doing this emotional labor in a group setting can be useful to teachers. An additional assumption is that psychoanalytic concepts can help frame teachers' emotional experiences. The study looks specifically at how teachers' awareness and understanding of emotions affect their experience of teaching and what it is like for teachers to develop this awareness and understanding in a group setting. The study's participants were five self-selected teachers ranging in professional experience from pre-service to 20 years, from the elementary through high school levels, who voluntarily joined a teacher support group. The support group's express purpose was to explore the emotions involved in teaching. The support group met for 1.25 hours weekly for three months. Each participant answered a pre-group questionnaire and a postgroup evaluation and underwent four semi-structured interviews: three to collect stories of critical emotional incidents in their teaching and one to ask the research questions after the teacher support group had ended. In addition, the teachers kept an Emotion Diary in which they listed emotions they felt during the week, ranked the intensity of each emotion, and told the story of one or more of the emotional incidents.
Burris, Elizabeth D., "Emotions in the classroom" (2008). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.