Onderwys as emosionele arbeid: 'n Verkennende studie
Schools, parents and learners have certain expectations of teachers, including their expectations regarding the emotional behaviour of teachers in the classroom. This implies that teachers are occasionally required to project emotions that they are not really experiencing, thereby affecting and influencing their own identity and integrity as teachers. It is with this phenomenon in mind that the influence of feeling rules that form part of emotional labour was researched: the experiences of teachers, and the support that schools provide in this regard, as well as the impact of emotional labour on different teachers. The problem studied is the role that emotional labour plays in the high school educator’s classroom. This problem was researched specifically in the context of the teachers’ personal experiences and opinions. The study focused on how teachers experience emotional labour in their classrooms and working environment, and the influence that it has on them. The primary objective of this research was to analyse and describe the teachers’ perceptions and experiences of emotional labour in the teaching environment. On the one hand, teachers must be aware of the role that emotional labour plays in the classroom. On the other hand, it is particularly important that the management of schools should provide teachers with the required recognition, support and development relevant to this important concept. The purpose of this study is therefore, to sensitise awareness of this concept and to contribute to improved insight into it, so that the feelings and perceptions of teachers regarding the effort that emotional labour demands from them can be better understood. This study has a generic qualitative perspective in the use of the research approach and methods that embrace a phenomenological point of view, where reality is based upon the perceptions of teachers –in the field – that participated in the study. The result is of a descriptive nature. A non-probability sampling technique was adopted, specifically the convenience sample, on the basis of which ten participants were selected according to their availability and willingness to participate in this study. Data was generated by means of semi-structured interviews with two focus groups and four individual interviews recorded on tape and transcribed verbatim. Data processing was done by means of the constant comparative method of analysis. The coding of data according to certain selection criteria led to the identification of themes, categories and sub-categories. The relationships between the themes were integrated into a conceptual model. These themes describe the possible elements that influence the role of emotional labour in the classroom of the educator. The results illustrate that teachers identify the elements that play a role in how the teachers in this group experience emotional labour in the classroom: their identity as teachers, their work context, the feeling rules, the support they receive or the lack thereof, the extent of their practical experience in education, the strategies they use in handling emotional labour, and lastly, the consequences of emotional labour. This implies that the ability of teachers to experience emotional labour positively in the education environment is largely dependent on the support, guidance and leadership that they receive from their schools.
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