The role of emotional labor in English language teachers’ professional identity

Dürüst, Sena
This case study aimed to examine four English language instructors’ professional identities regarding their emotional experiences and emotional labor behaviors. The study was carried out in the Department of Foreign Languages at a foundation university in Turkey. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and diary entries between December and April during the 2020-2021 academic year. The data were systematically organized, analyzed, and interpreted under emerging themes. The findings revealed that the participants experienced happiness, intimacy, caring, pride, love, hope, joy, empathy, satisfaction, enthusiasm, anger, boredom, sadness, disappointment, hopelessness, despair, worthlessness, and powerlessness arising from the level of student engagement, participation, and achievement at the classroom level. Emotions experienced at the institutional level were centered on interaction with administrators and colleagues, administrative support, teacher autonomy, job responsibilities, and institutional expectations that led to emotional experiences such as feeling worthy and supported, anxiety, fear, disappointment, anger, sadness, worthlessness, and guilt among the participants. Those emotions led the participants to constantly negotiate their instructional decisions and professional identities. In addition, it was revealed that emotional labor behaviors congruent and incongruent with teachers’ professional beliefs might also shape their perceptions of the profession and future selves as teachers. Within this scope, this study is expected to contribute relevant research in the field and provide guidance for the integration of teacher emotions, emotional labor, and professional identity in teacher education and professional development programs.
Citation Formats
S. Dürüst, “The role of emotional labor in English language teachers’ professional identity,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2021.