Teachers' Emotion Regulation

  • Rosemary E. Sutton
  • Elaine Harper
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

Teaching is an emotional endeavor. Teachers may experience happiness when an instructional objective is met, pride when students accomplish an important task, frustration when students cannot grasp a concept, anger with misbehavior, disappointment with lack of effort, and anxiety when competence is challenged. Teachers report trying to regulate these emotions frequently because they believe it helps them achieve their goals (Sutton, 2004).

Over the past two decades, emotion regulation in everyday life has become an increasingly important topic in psychological research. Surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of American adults regulate their positive and negative emotions consciously (Gross, Richards, & John, 2006) and it may be that emotion regulation is so common that we typically only notice its absence. The recent research on teachers' emotion regulation is built on the empirical results and theoretical models of this psychological research that assumes everyday emotion regulation is typically adaptive. For example, Mischel and Ayduk (2004) said, “an absence of will leaves people the victims of their own biographies,” but also acknowledged that excessive postponing of gratification can become “a stifling joyless choice” (pp. 122–123). In contrast to the predominantly positive view in psychological research, a negative view of emotion regulation has permeated the sociology of work literature under the term “emotional labor” (Granley, 2000). In The Managed Heart, Hochschild (1983) argued that emotional labor takes effort and may result in stress and burnout, as well as feelings of inauthenticity and compliance. Both approaches acknowledge benefits and problems associated with emotion regulation but the relative emphasis varies.


Emotion Regulation Negative Emotion Positive Emotion Emotion Intelligence Emotion Regulation Strategy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary E. Sutton
    • 1
  • Elaine Harper
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and FoundationsCleveland State UniversityCleveland44115
  2. 2.Office of Doctoral StudiesCleveland State UniversityCleveland44115

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