Monday, July 27, 2015

#flipclass Flash Blog: Emotional Labor

Wow...this is a toughie.

We had a #flipclass reading assignment about emotional labor - and its worth - tonight. Then we began exploring what emotional labor might be involved in teaching.

As was tweeted by a participant, I believe emotional labor is part of the job description of a teacher.

Or maybe it's a part of the job that takes one by surprise. I don't think one knows going in how much emotional labor is involved.

There is all SORTS of emotional labor in teaching.

I worry about lessons, wondering if I've taught the right thing the right way.

I worry about students. Their academic success. Their emotional well-being. Their lives at home.

I stress over extra paperwork and deadlines.

I get excited. When a lesson works. When a student's light bulb comes on. When students "talk math" to each other.

I experience joy. When a student or parent says thank you. When a student's effort pays off.

It's exhausting.

How do I deal with it?

I find it's important to let my brain decompress.

I try to take one day a week - usually Saturday - and make it a school-free day. No grading, no planning.

I try to leave school on time one day a week (that is one of the most difficult things I try to do).

The spa tub helps. Getting an appropriate amount of sleep help. Music helps. Laughing helps.

There will always be emotional labor in teaching. And it will always be hard to deal with it effectively and efficiently.

But it's most often worth it, and I guess that's why I keep laboring.


  1. One of the most difficult things for me is to have energy left for my own children. Sometimes I feel as if my kids at school get more of my attention than my own do. So many times I don't get my lessons perfect or tests graded as quickly as I would like but that's OK. I have to make my kiddos a priority.
    Good for you getting out of school on time.That is impossible for me to do. I have to work on that one. Great post.

    1. Oh, I don't usually get out on time, but one day a week is the goal. :) The topic of "emotional labor" really hit a nerve with the chat participants. I think it's something dedicated teachers struggle with. Thanks for reading!