“You Can’t Teach ‘Em ‘til You Love ‘Em”: Emotional Labor, Bureaucracy, And Teacher Burnout In The American Education System

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Grayson Bodenheimer (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Pavel Osinsky

Abstract: Drawing on a series of interviews and a survey of North Carolina teachers, I examine teacher burnout in the American K-12 education system. I show how, because of the structure of education, teachers feel conflicted between the emotion norms of diverse professional expectations – including objectivity and affection – during interactions with students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. Ideologies shape teachers’ perspectives towards their roles: self-responsible teachers invested pride in student outcomes and struggled against the affective neutrality of standardized testing, while communal teachers’ dilution of educational responsibilities served as a beneficial negative case. Both ideologies expressed disillusionment over accountability measures that prescribed emotional labor in professional interaction. Self-responsible teachers were pre-disposed to occupational burnout due to their investment of pride into their role and student success. My findings suggest how low-level administrators have a fundamental role in shaping local organizational culture and teachers’ experiences with burnout, specifically by recoupling professional expectations of emotional labor with teachers’ day-to-day actions. This study exhibits the value of sociologically approaching interaction and burnout from the intersection of emotions and organizations.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Bodenheimer, G. (2017). “You Can’t Teach ‘Em ‘til You Love ‘Em”: Emotional Labor, Bureaucracy, And Teacher Burnout In The American Education System. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University. Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Burnout, emotions, education, ideology, organizations

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