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Emotional exhaustion (EE) is the core component in the study of teacher burnout, with significant impact on teachers' professional lives. Yet, its relation to teachers' emotional experiences and emotional labor (EL) during instruction remains unclear. Thirty-nine German secondary teachers were surveyed about their EE (trait), and via the experience sampling method on their momentary (state; N = 794) emotional experiences (enjoyment, anxiety, anger) and momentary EL (suppression, faking). Teachers reported that in 99 and 39% of all lessons, they experienced enjoyment and anger, respectively, whereas they experienced anxiety less frequently. Teachers reported suppressing or faking their emotions during roughly a third of all lessons. Furthermore, EE was reflected in teachers' decreased experiences of enjoyment and increased experiences of anger. On an intra-individual level, all three emotions predict EL, whereas on an inter-individual level, only anger evokes EL. Explained variances in EL (within: 39%, between: 67%) stress the relevance of emotions in teaching and within the context of teacher burnout. Beyond implying the importance of reducing anger, our findings suggest the potential of enjoyment lessening EL and thereby reducing teacher burnout.
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE
published: 11 December 2014
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01442
Teachers’ emotional experiences and exhaustion as
predictors of emotional labor in the classroom: an
experience sampling study
Melanie M. Keller1,2 *, Mei-Lin Chang 3, Eva S. Becker1,2 , Thomas Goetz1,2 and Anne C. Frenzel4
1Department of Empirical Educational Research, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
2Department of Empirical Educational Research,Thurgau University of Teacher Education, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland
3Secondary and Middle Grades Education, Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, GA, USA
4Department of Psychology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany
Edited by:
Barbara McCombs, University of
Denver, USA
Reviewed by:
Katrina Liu, The University of
Wisconsin-Whitewater, USA
Sung-il Kim, Korea University, South
Korea
*Correspondence:
Melanie M. Keller, Department of
Empirical Educational Research,
University of Konstanz,
Universitaetsstrasse 10, Fach 45,
Konstanz, Germany
e-mail: melanie.keller@
uni-konstanz.de
Emotional exhaustion (EE) is the core component in the study of teacher burnout, with
significant impact on teachers’ professional lives. Yet, its relation to teachers’ emotional
experiences and emotional labor (EL) during instruction remains unclear.Thirty-nine German
secondary teachers were surveyed about their EE (trait), and via the experience sampling
method on their momentary (state; N=794) emotional experiences (enjoyment, anxiety,
anger) and momentary EL (suppression, faking).Teachers reported that in 99 and 39% of all
lessons, they experienced enjoyment and anger, respectively, whereas they experienced
anxiety less frequently. Teachers reported suppressing or faking their emotions during
roughly a third of all lessons. Furthermore, EE was reflected in teachers’ decreased
experiences of enjoyment and increased experiences of anger. On an intra-individual level,
all three emotions predict EL, whereas on an inter-individual level, only anger evokes EL.
Explained variances in EL (within: 39%, between: 67%) stress the relevance of emotions
in teaching and within the context of teacher burnout. Beyond implying the importance of
reducing anger, our findings suggest the potential of enjoyment lessening EL and thereby
reducing teacher burnout.
Keywords: teacheremotions, teacher emotional labor, teacheremotional exhaustion, experience sampling method,
intra-individual vs. inter-individual analyses
INTRODUCTION
It has been recognized that being a teacher is a demanding and
sometimes even exhausting job. High dropout rates and the early
retirement of teachers (see Macdonald, 1999) have caused some
societal alarm in recent years, prompting studies focusing on
teacher burnout as a potential cause for teacher attrition (Chang,
2009; see also Ashforth and Lee, 1990). Compared to other pro-
fessions, teaching in fact poses a relatively high risk of burnout
(de Heus and Diekstra, 1999;Brouwers and Tomic, 2000; see also,
Maslach et al., 2001). Burnout, defined as “a psychological syn-
drome in response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job
(Maslach et al., 2001, p. 399), is conceptualized in scientific studies
via three dimensions: emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonaliza-
tion, and reduced personal accomplishment. EE, considered the
core facet of burnout (see for example Maslach et al., 2001;Chang,
2009), refers to having depleted one’s emotional resources and
therefore feeling emotionally overextended (Evers et al., 2004).
Beyond being related to teachers’motivation, for example job satis-
faction (Wolpin et al., 1991) or enthusiasm (Kunteret al., 2011), EE
has also been shown to impact teaching quality (Klusmann et al.,
2008). Thus, teacher burnout is a relevant factor in the study of
teachers’professional lives; yet our understanding of the emotional
processes in the classroom is still limited (Chang, 2009).
Besides workload and lack of resources, emotional labor (EL)
and negative emotions have also been found to be contributing
factors in explaining EE (Morris and Feldman, 1996;Abraham,
1999;Chang, 2009,2013). However, only a few studies have estab-
lished empirical relationships between these factors in studying
teacher emotions (Carson, 2006;Chang, 2009), many of which
have relied on cross-sectional and one-time survey data (e.g.,
Hakanen et al., 2006;Skaalvik and Skaalvik, 2007). In Emotion
in Education,Schutz and Pekrun (2007) argued for the need to
study emotions in real-life contexts and to use multi-method
approaches, so that the complexities of emotional processes could
be fully understood. In the present study, we examine the links
among teacher emotions, EL, and EE with momentary data,
utilizing the experience sampling method (ESM).
RELEVANCE OF TEACHERS’ EMOTIONS TO EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION
Being a teacher, and teaching in particular, is described as an
emotional practice (Hargreaves, 1998), and emotions are charac-
terized as being “an integral part of teachers’ lives” (Sutton and
Wheatley, 2003, p. 332). However, scientific studies of teach-
ers’ emotions have only surfaced within the last 15 years. Since
then, it has been established that teachers experience a variety of
discrete emotions in the course of their professional lives, partic-
ularly while delivering instruction (e.g., Nias, 1996;Keller et al.,
2014). Emotions are thought to be predictors of teacher behav-
ior in class, in terms of effective instructional practices, as well as
student behavior and outcomes (see theoretical model in Frenzel,
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Keller et al. Teachers’ emotional labor during class
2014). Emotions are also relevant within the context of teachers’
health and psychological well-being (for a general discussion, see
Fredrickson, 1998).
Outside the teaching profession, there is evidence that
burnout – in particular EE – is strongly associated with increased
negative affectivity; or conversely, decreased positive affectivity
(e.g., Brotheridge and Grandey, 2002). However, in teacher emo-
tion literature, studies addressing this relationship are sparse,
even more so when considering discrete teacher emotions in con-
trast to general affectivity (see Chang, 2009). Kunter et al. (2011)
found teacher enthusiasm (regarded as a highly positive affective
characteristic of teachers) to be negatively related to burnout (r=
0.74 for teaching-related enthusiasm). Similarly, Carson (2006)
showed higher levels of teacher burnout corresponded to less pos-
itive and increased negative emotions. Chang (2013) investigated
teachers’ episodic emotional experiences and how they relate to
appraisals, different coping strategies, and ultimately to burnout,
finding a clear relationship between teachers’burnout rates and the
increased intensity of negative emotions from disruptive episodes
in the classroom. Adding to this evidence, the present study aims to
deepen our understanding of the relationship between EE and dis-
crete positive and negative emotional experiences and investigate
them on intra- as well as inter-individual levels.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHERS’ EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION
AND EMOTIONAL LABOR
Previous research has identified precursors to teachers’ EE on the
class- and school-level, such as student misbehavior (Chang and
Davis, 2009) or school climate (Grayson and Alvarez, 2008), as well
as on the individual-level, such as self-efficacy (Dicke et al., 2014).
Beyond such precursors, EL has been recognized as a central factor
involved in the emergence of EE (e.g., Näring et al., 2006;Judge
et al., 2009).
Morris and Feldman (1996, p. 987) define EL as “the effort,
planning, and control needed to express organizationally desired
emotion during interpersonal transactions” and evidence suggests
that EL is something teachers report to engage in, on a regular basis
(see for example Sutton,2004;Meyer,2009) due to the display rules
in the classroom. Teachers have implicit rules about whether or
not, and when and how to display emotions during instructional
time (Sutton, 2004;Schutz et al., 2007), such as the need to show
enthusiasm or to remain calm even when class is disrupted. Con-
sequently, teachers feel the urge to regulate their emotions, thereby
engaging in EL. The pertinent, albeit dysfunctional, emotion reg-
ulation strategy in the context of teacher burnout and particularly
regarding EE is surface acting (Näring et al., 2006;Chang, 2013).
Surface acting refers to either suppressing the actual yet unde-
sired emotion (e.g., anger), or faking a desired emotion in order
to keep up the idealized image (e.g., Brotheridge and Lee, 2003;
Hochschild, 2012).
Research shows that the continuous effort of EL is a stressor on
teachers that draws on their regulatory resources (Muraven et al.,
1998;Muraven and Baumeister, 2000) and causes psychological
strain (e.g., Cheung and Tang, 2007;Diestel and Schmidt, 2011).
Carson (2007) found surface acting, that is, suppressing, faking,
or hiding true emotions, led to greater overall burnout for teach-
ers. Tsouloupas et al. (2010) found direct effects between teachers’
expressive suppression and their EE. More specifically, when teach-
ers reported engaging in expressive suppression, they also reported
experiencing increased levels of EE. These results are consistent
with those of Brotheridge and Grandey (2002), who found a sig-
nificant relationship between surface acting (e.g., hiding anger and
fear) and EE.
Despite substantial evidence, we still know very little about the
relationship between EL and EE when it comes to teachers’ emo-
tional experiences during instruction at the state-level – that is,
the level of an individual’s actual experiences at the moment. Yet,
teaching and interacting with students is arguably the most impor-
tant task teachers engage in during the course of their professional
lives. Furthermore, display rules primarily stem from beliefs about
what is appropriate around students; thus, we can assume teachers
largely regulate their emotions in class and that emotion regula-
tion plays a subordinate role when preparing lessons at home, for
example. Therefore, an investigation is needed that addresses the
emotional experiences and EL in the context of teacher burnout,
specifically during instructional activities.
ASSESSMENT OF TEACHERS’ EMOTIONAL PROCESSES
The majority of studies on teacher emotions and EL employs
teachers’generalized self-reports (t raits assessed via questionnaires
or interviews). However, theoretical considerations (Robinson
and Clore, 2002) and empirical investigations indicate that trait-
reports on emotional experiences can be biased and do not
necessarily reflect an individual’s actual – state-level – experiences
(trait-state discrepancy in teachers’emotion self-reports; see Keller
et al., 2014). Also, studies employing teachers’ trait-reports only
address inter-individual differences in teachers’ emotional expe-
riences, and not much is known about how the experiences of
emotions and EL are related on an intra-individual level. Further-
more, pertinent EL theories are based on intra-individual, that
is, situation-specific considerations, such as in a teaching situation
when teachers experience an inappropriate emotion, they suppress
that emotion, thereby draining their resources. That these rela-
tionships also extend to the inter-individual level, that is, between
teachers, is implicitly assumed, yet this may not necessarily be the
case.
Some research outside of the teaching profession has identi-
fied the relationship of state-level emotion labor with EE. Judge
et al. (2009) investigated customer service employees’ state-level
emotions (i.e., emotions are assessed directly at the moment when
they are experienced via the ESM (Scollon et al., 2009). Judge et al.
(2009) found the degree to which individuals engaged in surface
acting on a daily basis was related to their EE. They concluded
that “emotional labor is a dynamic process, wherein the use and
consequences of emotional labor vary between-individuals and
within-individuals” (p. 78).
Carson (2006, Study 2) pioneered the research on teachers’
state-level emotions, assessed directly at the moment they are expe-
rienced, and emotion regulation, using ESM. Teachers were asked
to report their state-level emotions at different times in a day of
teaching (e.g., in the mornings or during mid-day breaks), out-
side of instructional time in class. Findings indicated that teacher
burnout is related to teachers’ emotional experiences, as well as
the frequency with which teachers regulate their emotions.
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Keller et al. Teachers’ emotional labor during class
Although much published research focuses on teacher burnout
and its diverse antecedents and consequences,little is known about
state-level emotional processes (such as emotional experiences and
EL) involved in teacher burnout. Even less is known about teachers’
EE based on data drawn from the instructional time or situation,
or at an intra-individual level, from lesson to lesson.
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES AND HYPOTHESES
In response to the notable lack of research addressing teachers’
state-level emotional processes within the context of burnout, this
study aims to investigate the relevance of teachers’ state-level emo-
tional experiences (enjoyment, anxiety, and anger), EL, and how
the occurrence of emotions and EL in actual classroom situations
relates to EE. Particularly, we were initially – on a more exploratory
level – interested in determining how pronounced EL gets for
teachers during instruction time. This was done by drawing on
momentarily assessed EL (state). To our knowledge, ours is the first
study that attempts to assess EL and emotional experiences in vivo,
while teachers are in class. In addition, we investigated how teach-
ers’ trait-reported EE is related to their state reports of emotional
experiences. We therefore formulated our first hypothesis:
H1: Emotional exhaustion is negatively related to positive
emotions (enjoyment) and positively related to negative
emotions (anxiety, anger).
We also expect teachers’ emotional experiences in turn should
relate to their EL. We therefore formulated our second hypothe-
sis:
H2: Enjoyment is negatively related to EL, while anxiety and
anger are positively related to EL.
Lastly, we investigated how state emotional experiences, trait
EE, and trait EL jointly relate to state EL on an intra- and
inter-individual level and formulated our third hypothesis:
H3: Emotional exhaustion, trait EL and negative emotions are
positively related to state EL, whereas positive emotions are
negatively related to state EL.
The relationships pertaining to these hypotheses are depicted in
Figure 1.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
SAMPLE
The participants in the ESM study were 39 teachers (20 female,
16 male, 3 did not indicate their gender) from the highest track
of the German school system, the Gymnasium, which approx-
imately one third of students attend (Federal Statistical Office
[Statistisches Bundesamt], 2014). The participants were on aver-
age 44.14 years old (SD =11.33 years) and had been teaching
for an average of 16.16 years (SD =11.94 years), including the
induction phase.
PROCEDURE
After introducing the research projectin par ticipating schools’ staff
meetings, appointments were made with all interested teachers so
they could obtain more information about procedures and tech-
nical issues. The teachers were equipped with paper-and-pencil
questionnaires for the trait-based assessment (demographics, trait
FIGURE 1 |Figural representation of the study hypotheses. Relations
between state-reported variables were investigated both on an inter- and
intraindividual level.The dashed lines represent the testing of Hypothesis 3
in which a multilevel regression model was used to test the influences of
trait-reported emotional labor and emotional exhaustion and state-reported
emotional experiences on state-reported emotional labor.
EL, and EE), and handheld devices (Palm Pilot Z22) for the state-
based experience sampling assessment. They were instructed to
fill out the trait questionnaire in advance and then they used
the handheld device to report state-level data for two consecutive
weeks. Teachers were given a demonstration on how to operate
the Palm Pilots and were also equipped with a detailed instruc-
tion manual. Questionnaires and handheld devices were collected
3–4 weeks later, since teachers did not all start on the same day.
The handheld devices were programmed with experience sam-
pling software (PMAT; see Weiss et al., 2004), and data assessment
combined event and random sampling. Teachers were instructed
to activate the device at the beginning of each regular lesson (i.e.,
event-sampling). The device was programmed to randomly signal
(i.e., random sampling) once within that lesson and presented a
short questionnaire. A 5-min response window was programmed
into the PDA, so that teachers were not forced to interrupt their
lesson in the middle of a sentence. If the teacher did not answer
the question set within 5 min after the initial alarm, the PDA auto-
matically ended the question set and saved it as a “missed signal”;
this happened for about 10% of signals (mostly due to the sig-
naling noise being too low). Verbal feedback given by the teachers
after the ESM-period indicated that teachers were able to imple-
ment the ESM with relative ease into their teaching and overall,
they did not find it intrusive. Teachers activated their devices in
20 school lessons on average, and it took them approximately half
a minute (M=37 s, SD =21 s) to answer the set of questions.
Altogether, the experience sampling assessment yielded N=794
state assessments.
MEASURES
Trait-reported emotional exhaustion
Teachers’ EE was assessed using the respective subscale of the
Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach et al., 1996) which was
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Keller et al. Teachers’ emotional labor during class
translated into German by Enzmann and Kleiber (1989).Itcon-
sists of nine items which were rated on a five-point scale from
1(nottrueatall)to5(completely true), with a sample item
being “I feel fatigued when I get up in the morning and have
to face another day at school.” The scale showed good reliability
(Cronbach’s Alpha =0.87).
Trait-reported emotional labor
To assess teachers’ EL, a modified measure of the Frankfurt Emo-
tion Work Scale (Zapf et al., 1999)byNeubach and Schmidt (2006)
was utilized. Its five items were adapted to match the target group
of teachers (substituting “work” with “class” and “customers” with
“students”). A sample item was as follows:“How often do you have
to show feelings in class that you do not really feel?”The items were
rated on a five-point scale from 1 (never)to5(ve ry often). The scale
achieved high reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha =0.91).
State-reported emotional labor
To measure teachers’ state-reported EL, two items from the trait EL
scale were adapted to suit the momentary assessment. The items
were as follows:“At the moment I have to suppress my feelings” and
At the moment, I have to display emotions that do not correspond
to my inner feelings,” both of which could be rated on a five-point
scale ranging from 1 (nottrueatall)to5(completely true). The
items represent the two surface acting strategies, namely suppres-
sion and faking, and were highly correlated (r=0.63, p<0.001
for within-level and r=0.86, p<0.001 for between-level). Both
items were subsequently combined into on overall scale for further
analysis.
State-reported emotions
To represent teachers’ relevant emotional experiences, we chose
the most frequently experienced positive and negative emotions,
enjoyment and anger, respectively (Keller et al., 2014). Further-
more, we included anxiety as a particularly detrimental teacher
emotion (see Frenzel et al., 2009;Frenzel, 2014). Due to time
constraints for the ESM assessment, we relied on single items to
assess teachers’ state emotional experiences (for a similar single-
item assessment of emotions, see for example, Nett et al., 2011;
Goetz et al., 2013). The respective items were formulated as
follows: “At the moment, how strongly do you experience enjoy-
ment/anger/anxiety?,” and they could be rated on a five-point scale
from1(notatall)to5(very strongly).
STATISTICAL ANALYSES
Our sample represented a nested data structure with measures on
level1(N1=794) nested within persons on level 2 (N2=39).
To correctly estimate the standard errors in such a nested data
structure, we conducted multilevel regression analyses (random
intercepts and slopes) to test for our research hypotheses, using
the Mplus 7.0 software (Muthén and Muthén, 1998–2012). As
such, relationships could be modeled separately for the within-
and between-levels.
To test Hypothesis 1, we ran three random intercept models
with EE (as a between-level variable) predicting the emotional
experiences of enjoyment, anxiety, and anger (as within-level vari-
ables). The respective equations for these models were Level 1:
Emotionij =β0j+rij, and Level 2: β0j=γ00 +γ01 EEj+u0j.
Regarding Hypotheses 2 and 3, we ran three successive random
intercept and slope models. In Model 1 (M1), state EL is predicted
by emotional experiences both introduced as groupmean-centered
Level 1 predictors indicating the within-person effects of emotions
on EL, and aggregated grandmean-centered Level 2 predictors
indicating the between-person effects of emotions on EL. In Model
2 (M2), EE and trait EL (as between-level variables) predict
state EL. Finally, in Model 3 (M3), all predictors are simul-
taneously included. For this final model, the equations are as
follows:
Level 1 : ELij =β0j+β1jEnjij +β2jAnxij +β3jAngij +rij ;
Level 2 : β0j=γ00 +γ01 Enjj+γ02Anxj+γ03Angj+γ04 EEj
+γ05ELtraitj+u0j;
β1j=γ10 +u1j;
β2j=γ20 +u2j;
β3j=γ30 +u3j.
We recognize that the influences of the emotions and emotion-
related variables could go both ways in real-life situations.
However, given the limits in the methodology we have chosen
(administering survey before collecting ESM data), we did not
further test for directionality and the reverse effects among these
variables. Limitations due to the decisions for the analyses are
further discussed in a later section.
ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
The present study was conducted abiding by the ethical principles
provided by the German Psychological Society [DGPs] (2007) and
the American Psychological Association [APA] (2010). Guidelines
provided by these institutions state that formal informed consent is
not necessary when no potential harm or distress is to be expected
and/or when normal educational practices are followed as a goal
of the research. Prior to their participation, the participants of
the present research were informed of the research, duration, and
procedures. Participation was voluntary and participants provided
verbal informed consent prior to data collection. All data was
collected and analyzed anonymously.
RESULTS
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
The descriptive statistics of the study variables are given in Table 1.
As can be seen, the teachers in the current sample reported an
average EE of M=2.27 (SD =0.66). Enjoyment is the most
prominent emotion teachers reported experiencing while teach-
ing in 99% of the lessons, at least to some extent (rated 2 or
higher; M=2.81, SD =0.54), whereas they reported experienc-
ing anxiety only to a very small extent (M=1.09, SD =0.49);
however, anxiety cannot be neglected completely, as teachers indi-
cated feeling anxious at least to some extent in 8% of the lessons
(for similar results, see Frenzel et al., 2009). Teachers experienced
anger at least to some extent in 39% of the lessons (M=1.61,
SD =0.49). As indicated by the intra-class correlations [ICCs(1)],
emotional experiences appear to be quite situation-specific: only
about 20% of variance in emotions lies between teachers, with the
Frontiers in Psychology |Educational Psychology December 2014 |Volume 5 |Article 1442 |4
Keller et al. Teachers’ emotional labor during class
Table 1 |Descriptive statistics of study variables.
MSD%1ICC(1)
Trait
Emotional exhaustion 2.27 0.66 –
Emotional labor 2.33 0.80 –
State
Emotional labor 1.48 0.54 38/2820.39
Enjoyment 2.81 0.54 99 0.23
Anxiety 1.09 0.18 8 0.19
Anger 1.61 0.49 39 0.20
All variables were assessed on a rating scale ranging from 1 to 5.
1Gives the percentage of lessons, where the respective construct is rated 2 or
higher.
2The first value indicates the percentage of lessons for the suppression item, the
second for the faking item.
largest amount of variance being within teachers, in other words,
on the lesson-level.
Teachers engage to a moderate extent in EL (trait: M=2.33,
SD =0.80; state: M=1.48, SD =0.54). In the momentary assess-
ments, altogether with the 794 responses, teachers indicate that
they suppress their emotions more often (in 38% of the lessons)
than they fake emotions (28%). When compared to emotional
experiences, EL seems to be more person-specific; 39% of the
variance is between teachers, yet the largest amount is still within
teachers on the lesson-level.
Intercorrelations of all study variables are given in Tabl e 2 .
On the between-level, EE is positively related to trait EL, but
not to (aggregated) state EL (only having a marginally signifi-
cant relationship, p<0.10). Furthermore, the more exhausted
teachers indicate they were, the lower their aggregated state
enjoyment, and the higher the reported aggregated state anger
Table 2 |Intercorrelations of study variables.
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Trait
(1) Emotional
exhaustion
1 0.51*** 0.22 0.44** 0.14 0.40**
(2) Emotional
labor
1 0.48*** 0.44** 0.33 0.39**
State
(3) Emotional
labor
−− 10.08 0.51* 0.90***
(4) Enjoyment −− −0.35*** 1 0.04 0.14
(5) Anxiety −− 0.24*** 0.18*** 1 0.44
(6) Anger −− 0.48*** 0.42*** 0.13* 1
The values below the diagonal give the intercorrelations on the within-level, above
the diagonal for the between level.
*p <0.05, **p <0.01, ***p <0.001.
will be; no significant relationship was found with aggregated
state-anxiety. Aggregated state EL is significantly related to
aggregated state-anxiety and anger, yet not to enjoyment. Emo-
tions are not correlated significantly to each other on the
between-level, meaning that teachers reporting having experi-
enced enjoyment often do not also report less anxiety or anger.
Regarding within-level relations, state emotions are correlated
significantly to each other. Thus, in teaching situations where
teachers report having experienced some enjoyment, they also
report less anger and anxiety. Finally, EL is negatively related
to enjoyment and positively related to anxiety and anger on the
within-level.
RELATING EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION TO TEACHERS’ STATE
EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCES
According to previous empirical evidence, teachers’ EE should
be mirrored in the experience of diminished levels of posi-
tive and elevated levels of negative emotions while teaching.
To address this, we regressed teachers’ state emotional experi-
ences (enjoyment, anxiety, and anger) on their trait reported
EE (Hypothesis 1; see Table 3). As hypothesized, EE relates
negatively to teachers’ enjoyment (b=–0.35, p<0.05) and
positively to teacher anger (b=0.25, p<0.01). The effect
sizes are moderate (R2enjoyment/anger =0.20/0.16). There was no
significant relationship between EE and teachers’ experiences of
anxiety.
RELATING EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCES AND EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION
TO STATE EMOTIONAL LABOR
In order to untangle the relations of teachers’ emotional
experiences and EE and their state-reported EL (Hypothe-
ses 2 and 3), we ran three successive regression models (see
Table 4).
On the within-level (see M1), all emotions are predictive for
EL as hypothesized, with enjoyment being negatively related to EL
(b=–0.10, p<0.01) and anxiety and anger positively related to
EL (banxiety =0.30, p<0.01, banger =0.34, p<0.001). In turn, on
the between-level, only anger is predictive of state EL (b=0.88,
p<0.001). In total, 39 and 67% of variance in state EL are
Table 3 |Predicting teachers’ state emotional experiences by trait
reported emotional exhaustion.
Enjoyment Anxiety Anger
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Intercept (γ00) 2.76 0.08 1.09 0.03 1.61 0.07
Emotional
exhaustion (γ01 )
–0.35* 0.15 0.03 0.04 0.25** 0.08
R20.20 0.02 0.16
Unstandardized coefficients are shown. Emotional exhaustion was entered as a
grandmean-centered predictor into the respective model. The explained variance
R2refers to the explained variance on the between level.
*p <0.05, **p <0.01.
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Keller et al. Teachers’ emotional labor during class
Table 4 |Predicting teachers’ state emotional labor by emotional experiences, emotional exhaustion, and trait emotional labor.
Emotional labor (state)
M1 M2 M3
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Within
Enjoyment (γ10 )0.10** 0.03 0.11** 0.03
Anxiety (γ20) 0.30** 0.11 0.30** 0.11
Anger (γ30) 0.34*** 0.05 0.34*** 0.05
Slope variance
Enjoyment (Var u1j) 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
Anxiety (Var u2j) 0.06 0.06 0.03 0.03
Anger (Var u3j) 0.06*** 0.01 0.03* 0.01
Between
Enjoyment (γ01 ) 0.02 0.09 0.07 0.07
Anxiety (γ02) 0.63 0.36 0.43 0.30
Anger (γ03) 0.88*** 0.21 0.89*** 0.20
Emotional exhaustion (γ04)0.02 0.10 0.15 0.09
Emotional labor (trait) (γ05) 0.35** 0.12 0.22*** 0.06
R2
Within 0.39 0.38
Between 0.67 0.24 0.73
Unstandardized coefficients are shown. Level 1-predictors are entered groupmean centered into the model. The respective emotions as predictors on level 2 were
grandmean centered and introduced as the per-person aggregated emotions based on the level 1 data.
*p <0.05, **p <0.01, ***p <0.001.
explained by emotional experiences on the within- and between-
levels, respectively. Interestingly, the slope variance for anger is
small, yet statistically significant, indicating that the relationship
between momentarily experienced anger and EL differs between
teachers.
The relationship between EE and state-reported EL is close
to zero when controlling for trait EL (M2). Both trait variables
explain 24% of variance in teachers’ state EL. When comparing
explained variances on the between-level in M1, M2, and M3, it
can be seen that 6% of explained variance is unique to trait EL and
trait EE.
Introducing all predictors into the regression equation (M3)
leaves the coefficients for emotional experiences fairly unchanged:
on the within-level, all emotions are predictive of state EL; on the
between-level, only anger and trait EL are statistically significant
as predictors of state EL.
DISCUSSION
The purpose of the study was to investigate teachers’ emotional
processes, or their experiences of discrete emotions and EL, and
relate it to EE. The ESM was employed to tackle these emotional
processes on a state level and assess them during in-class instruc-
tion, thus allowing for intraindividual analyses. This is the first
studytodoso.
THE ROLE OF EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION FOR TEACHERS’
MOMENTARILY EXPERIENCED EMOTIONS
Regression analyses showed that teachers’ overall level of EE is
indeed reflected in their emotional experiences while in class: the
more exhausted teachers indicated they were, the less experiences
of enjoyment and the more experiences of anger they indicated.
The experience of anxiety was not related to EE. Only a handful
of studies have directly examined this relationship, and our find-
ings confirm the previously shown relationship between negative
emotions and EE (Carson, 2007;Chang, 2013).
The majority of previous studies on teacher burnout do
not examine teachers’ (discrete) emotions related to teaching in
class as either consequences of or antecedents (or both) to EE
as the core dimension of burnout. In one recent correlational
study, Chang (2013) tested both directions of the relationship
(burnout leads to negative emotions or negative emotions leads
to burnout) and concluded that the intensity of negative emo-
tions from one episode accounted for teacher burnout. Our
study adds new understandings of such a relationship by con-
firming that EE (trait-level) could contribute to the experience
of enjoyment and anger (state-level); we didnot test for the
reverse effect (emotional experiences on EE) because EE was
assessed prior to the ESM-period. Given the mixed findings of
the directions, we believe future studies could continue unpacking
Frontiers in Psychology |Educational Psychology December 2014 |Volume 5 |Article 1442 |6
Keller et al. Teachers’ emotional labor during class
this complex and dynamic relationship by employing a qualita-
tive approach (by interviewing teachers, for example) coupled
with a quantitative design that allows for determining causal
links.
THE RELATION OF TEACHERS’ MOMENTARILY EXPERIENCED
EMOTIONS TO EMOTIONAL LABOR
Analyses revealed that teachers regularly suppress or fake their
emotions. The teachers in our sample reported having engaged
in EL and employing surface acting strategies (suppression or
faking) to regulate their state emotions in about one third of
the covered lessons. In addition, EL is significantly related to
teachers’ experiences of anger on an inter-individual level. This
is congruent with previous results from inter-individual analyses
that indicated the prevalent relevance of anger within the con-
text of EL and EE (Sutton and Wheatley, 2003;Chang and Davis,
2009). Teachers’ experience of anxiety is only related to EL on an
intra-individual level, yet no such relation exists when comparing
teachers.
Regarding teachers’ experience of enjoyment, a negative rela-
tionship between enjoyment as the desired emotional experience
(as indicated by implicit display rules) and EL was anticipated.
Intra-individually, this was supported by the study results: a
teacher who experiences more enjoyment in a given teaching situ-
ation reports lower levels of EL. This conclusion cannot be drawn
based on inter-individual results; here, the relation between enjoy-
ment and EL is close to zero. One explanation for this finding
may be the differences of interrelations between emotions on the
intra- and inter-individual levels: whereas emotional experiences
correspond to each other on a situational basis (state correla-
tions; see Ta b l e 2), teachers who experience more enjoyment do
not necessarily also report less anger (lack of inter-correlations
on an inter-individual level). Thus, in a given teaching situ-
ation, the experience of enjoyment goes along with reduced
levels of anxiety and anger, thus also reducing the necessity
for engaging in EL. Lacking the inter-individual relationships
between emotions, this explanation cannot hold true for the
(lack of) inter-individual relationship between enjoyment and
EL. Future studies could address this issue and investigate the
relations between emotions as they are intra-individually expe-
rienced in situations, and to what extent these relations hold
true for inter-individual differences. Also, future investigations
could address the specific role enjoyment plays in EL and emotion
regulation in general, by, for example, including other emotion
regulation strategies than those considered within the present
study.
Regarding the strength of the relationship between teachers’
momentarily experienced emotions and EL, there seem to be
differences between teachers regarding the emotion of anger;
in other words, how strongly anger relates to EL on a situa-
tional level differs between teachers. This could be indicative
that, given a specific level of anger, some teachers regulate their
anger expression to a larger extent than do other teachers. This
might be due to teacher and/or situational differences in emotion
regulation strategies not covered within the present investiga-
tion (e.g., deep acting; Brotheridge and Lee, 2003;Hochschild,
2012) and would warrant further investigations in the future.
Given that EL is clearly associated with EE, identifying the
factors that lead some teachers to deal with their anger in a
given teaching situation more adaptively might be beneficial to
prevent exhaustion.
METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS ON THE ASSESSMENT OF
TEACHERS’ EMOTIONAL PROCESSES
To overcome several drawbacks from previous studies on teach-
ers’ emotional lives, we employed the ESM (Carson et al., 2010;
Keller et al., 2014) to assess teachers’ emotional experiences and
EL momentarily while they were in class and teaching. In partic-
ular, trait emotions, that is, emotions as assessed on a generalized
level, are assumed to be biased and do not necessarily reflect
the actual emotions as experienced in the situation (see Robin-
son and Clore, 2002). Thus, the present assessment of teachers’
state emotions instead of commonly used trait emotions can over-
come this methodological flaw and provide insight into teachers’
momentary emotional experiences in a highly ecologically valid
way.
Related to this, we found EL as assessed during a concrete
teaching situation to be only moderately related to EL as assessed
on a generalized trait-level. The question arises regarding how
reliably trait reports capture teachers’ emotion-related constructs
as they actually occur in a given teaching situation. This issue
should be addressed and explicitly investigated in future stud-
ies. We also found anxiety to be only of subordinate importance
when it came to teachers’ emotional lives in class. Two reasons
seem likely to explain this finding. First, the overall low values
of state-anxiety could be due to employing the actual emotion-
word for assessing the respective emotion. The word “anxiety”
implies high arousal levels, which presumably occur very seldom
during a lesson and would be captured by a random assessment
even less often; yet, anxiety as an emotion covers also low-arousal
states of anxiety, such as nervousness, which might not be cov-
ered by our assessment (compared with somewhat higher values
for teachers’ state-anxiety using the item wording: “I was tense
and nervous during this lesson” in Frenzel et al., 2009). Second,
and related to the previously mentioned trait-state ambiguity, is
the fact that trait emotions might reflect something other than
the actual emotions experienced in a concrete situation. Thus,
teachers’ trait-reported emotions differ in their magnitude from
state-reported emotions, including anxiety (Keller et al., 2014).
As such, the present findings of low anxiety levels while teaching
might be a first indicator that anxiety occurs less frequently in the
actual teaching situation, but more so in retrospect when evalu-
ating situations over a longer time frame and employing personal
beliefs when doing so.
Teachers spend the majority of their time teaching, and this can
be considered the central task in which they engage (OECD, 2011);
yet their emotional lives in the classroom have not been explicitly
addressed to date. Thus, the ESM allows us to tap into teachers’
emotional lives during instruction and covers an important —
perhaps the most important — aspect of teachers’ professional
lives. While in class, complex interactions with students require
teachers to constantly monitor and regulate their affective image,
thereby drawing on self-regulatory resources. Thus, addressing
emotions and EL while teaching is highly relevant.
www.frontiersin.org December 2014 |Volume 5 |Article 1442 |7
Keller et al. Teachers’ emotional labor during class
Lastly, the ESM assessment as utilized in the present study
allows for intra-individual analyses of teachers’ emotional pro-
cesses. Unraveling intra-individual functioning is a core goal in
personality psychology (Eid and Diener, 1999); yet, the majority
of research on teachers’ emotions focuses on inter-individual dif-
ferences. In the present study, we were able to separate differences
between teachers from differences occurring across situations, yet
within-teachers. As findings on the relationship between emotions
and EL indicate, the results that were yielded on an intra-individual
level are not necessarily transferable to the inter-individual level.
LIMITATIONS
Due to the ESM design, the present investigation is subject to
some limitations. First, all variables as implemented in the current
study were assessed via self-reports. While that may be justified,
as only the individuals themselves can report on their concrete
subjective affective experiences and stress-related variables, other
measures complementing self-reports, such as physiological mea-
sures of arousal, are called for and could be implemented in future
studies.
The teacher sample in the present study is rather small. The
ESM assessment yielded an adequate sample size on the within-
level, however, multilevel analyses demand between 30 and 50
units on the between-level for reliably estimating between-level
effects and differences (Maas and Hox, 2004). Thus, the present
sample of 39 teachers should yield reliable results, yet a replication
of study findings would be helpful. Also, the teachers participating
in the present study all teach in one school track (the Gymnasium
in Germany); future studies could also consider other school types
to gain a more comprehensive picture.
Strictly speaking, our cross-sectional design does not allow
us to model causal effects. In fact, regarding emotional pro-
cesses in the context of teachers’ stress and EE, effects are most
likely reciprocal. For example, given that EE leads to an increase
in the experience of negative emotions, these in turn would
necessitate an increase in EL efforts, thereby depleting resources
that could ultimately lead to higher levels of exhaustion. Future
studies could combine momentary assessment with a longitudi-
nal study design to unravel both intra-individual and long-term
processes and effects.
CONCLUSION
The present study fills a gap in the existing literature by inves-
tigating emotional processes within the context of teachers’ EE
(see Chang, 2009). It employs the ESM to assess teachers’ discrete
momentary emotions and EL while teaching. This approach allows
us to address intra-individual emotional processes and relate them
to inter-individual differences in teachers’ EE.
In investigating emotional processes as they occur in a given
teaching situation, the present study cannot draw any conclusions
as to what causes teachers’ emotional reactions in class. Previous
investigations have shown the paramount importance of students’
(mis)behavior in the context of teacher EL and exhaustion (Chang
and Davis, 2009;Tsouloupas et al., 2010). Thus, students’ lack
of adherence to stated classroom rules or obstruction of teach-
ers’ goals could cause teachers to experience anger (Sutton and
Wheatley, 2003;Sutton, 2007;Frenzel et al., 2009); the present
investigation shows that experiences of anger necessitate teach-
ers to engage in EL and are also a correlate of teachers’ EE. One
may speculate that exhaustion leads to more frequent experiences
of anger, or exhaustion is a consequence of increased experi-
ences of anger, or both. Thus, findings of the present study
imply the beneficial effects of anger reduction, which should
lead to less EL, and possibly over a longer time frame, also to
less exhaustion. Reducing one’s experience of anger might be
viable by so-called reappraisal strategies (see for example Gross
and John, 1998). Future studies could develop intervention pro-
grams for teachers based on reappraisal training for a reduction
of anger experiences during class and investigate the effects of
such training on EL and consequently, exhaustion or well-being
in teachers.
Beyond the prevalent importance of anger, the present study’s
results also indicate the potential of enjoyment in reducing teach-
ers’ EL: on a situational level, increasing the experience of positive
emotions might decrease teachers’ engagement in EL, thus reduc-
ing their risk of eventually suffering from exhaustion and burnout.
Positive emotions have previously been suggested to act as an
important resource (Fredrickson, 1998), yet empirical results
backing that theoretical claim have been missing so far. Beyond the
implication that enjoyment as an appropriate emotion (according
to implicit display rules) demands less EL efforts, the negative rela-
tionship between enjoyment and EE on an intra-individual level
points toward its importance as a possible resource in the teach-
ing context. Thus, increasing teachers’ experiences of enjoyment
could act as a buffer for teacher burnout.
Although our study hints at this possible relationship and its
implications, further efforts are needed to explicitly investigate
this link. Thus, future investigations should focus on emotional
experiences of teachers and how they — causally — relate to EL
and burnout on an intra-individual level, including the charac-
teristics of the situation and how it is perceived and appraised by
teachers (on the role of appraisals and coping strategies within
the context of burnout, see for example, Chang, 2009,2013).
Including situation characteristics and how they are perceived and
appraised by teachers would allow for identifying teaching situ-
ations (as characterized by student behavior, for example) and
how they influence teachers’ emotional experiences, which would
ultimately provide the means for interventions designed to shape
beneficial emotional experiences that reduce teachers’ risk for
burnout.
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Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors declare that the research was conducted
in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed
as a potential conflict of interest.
Received: 10 September 2014; accepted: 25 November 2014; published online: 11
December 2014.
Citation: Keller MM, Chang M-L, Becker ES,Goe tzT and Frenzel AC (2014) Teachers
emotional experiences and exhaustion as predictors of emotional labor in the classroom:
an experience sampling study. Front. Psychol. 5:1442. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01442
This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers
in Psychology.
Copyright © 2014 Keller, Chang, Becker, Goetz and Frenzel. This is an open-access arti-
cle distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the or iginal
author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited,
in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is
permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Frontiers in Psychology |Educational Psychology December 2014 |Volume 5 |Article 1442 |10
... In order to evoke positive feelings, something favourable indicating a movement towards one's goals must occur in this relationship regarding one's well-being and goals and affect refers to one's subjective and conscious experiences of that emotional encounter (Fredrickson, 2001;Lazarus, 1991). Teachers' emotions and affect in the classroom are influenced by situational factors; however, they also depend on their general well-being and teaching practices (Keller et al., 2014;Sutton, 2004). ...
... Higher burnout or exhaustion is also linked to teachers' lower positive affect at the individual level (Brackett et al., 2010;Taxer & Frenzel, 2015). Burnout also predicts emotions in the classroom, such as lower situational enjoyment (Keller et al., 2014). ...
... We interpreted a high positive affect in the middle of the working day (T4) as beneficial for teaching quality and interaction with students, as teachers' positive affect has been shown to be positively related to their teaching efficacy and enthusiasm in the classroom and negatively to their exhaustion (Burić, 2019;Burić & Moè, 2020;Keller et al., 2014). A steeper positive affect slope over the day was interpreted as healthy and instrumental, as this indicated that teachers' alertness and activeness had been higher at the initial level, but decreased by bedtime. ...
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Background: Teachers' stress, affect and general occupational well-being influence their teaching and their students. However, how teachers' daily physiological stress and positive affect are related in the classroom is unknown. To reduce teachers' stress and enhance their positive affect, it is crucial to understand how occupational well-being relates to stress and affect. Aim: The aim of the study was to examine the relationships between teachers' daily physiological stress and positive affect in authentic classroom settings and the roles played by teachers' self-efficacy beliefs, perceptions of school climate and burnout symptoms in daily stress and affect. Sample: The sample consisted of 45 classroom teachers. Method: Daily physiological stress was assessed by measuring salivary cortisol levels three times in two days. Positive affect was reported by experience sampling at the same time that cortisol was collected. Questionnaires were used to assess self-efficacy beliefs, perceptions of school climate and burnout symptoms. Three-level modelling with random intercepts and slopes was used to analyse the relationships between daily stress and affect and the effect of teachers' general occupational well-being on stress and affect. Results: No relationships were evident between teachers' physiological stress and positive affect or between daily changes of stress and affect. Self-efficacy beliefs were related to lower stress and higher affect in the middle of the school day. Having sufficient school resources were related to higher positive affect. Teachers' burnout symptoms were associated with lower positive affect. Conclusions: We emphasize the potential for self-efficacy and perceptions of school resources as targets for intervening in teachers' stress and affect.
... The results obtained from analysing the reflective diaries of 70 student teachers revealed that the practicum is, in general, an emotionally positive experience. This result is in line with those of Hascher and Wepf (2007), Keller, Chang, Becker, Goetz and Frenzel (2014), and Hascher and Hagenauer (2016). ...
... Other emotional responses, such as 'neglected', 'tired', 'disappointed', 'shocked', 'grateful', and 'bored' were also reported, albeit far less frequently than previously mentioned emotional responses. These results are confirmed by earlier studies, as well, which reveal that happiness is one of the most frequently reported positive emotions (Chen, 2016;Erb,2002;Hagenauer & Volet,2014), and that anger is the most frequently reported negative emotion (Goetz et al., 2015;Hosotani & Imai-Matsumura, 2011;Keller et al., 2014;Shapiro, 2010). ...
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p>This study investigates the emotional responses of EFL student teachers to various affective situations during practicum and their coping strategies to enhance positive emotions and reduce negative emotions. Seventy female EFL student teachers participated in this study. To collect quantitative and qualitative data, two instruments were used: an emotional reflective diary and semi-structured interviews. The results of the study revealed that the practicum is an emotionally positive experience. The frequency of occurrence of pleasant affective situations was more than that of unpleasant ones. In the decreasing order of frequency, the most frequent emotional responses were happy, angry, and stressed and the least frequent ones were lost, influential, and shamed. Furthermore, the results indicated that student teachers adopted many regulation strategies to manage their emotions. The study recommends that teacher education programmes increase the focus on teachers’ emotions and training student teachers to manage their emotions to build future professional identities.</p
... Strategies such as these can help teachers to manage the situation, despite their own emotional discontent, while they seek to comfort the child. In fact, Keller et al. (2014) found that teachers suppressed or 'faked' their emotions in a third of all lessons. However, in order to be able to understand and regulate emotions, in terms of maintaining and developing supportive relationships with students, teaching requires a person's attention and awareness (Chang and Davis 2009). ...
... It is well established that emotions are central to teaching (Hargreaves 1998). For example, Keller et al. (2014) reported that in almost 40% of all lessons, teachers experienced enjoyment and anger. How these emotions are handled by students and teachers is crucial for the co-regulatory process to take place. ...
... Therefore, emotion regulation strategies could be considered as an important teaching proficiency affecting teachers' psychological wellbeing and a myriad of classroom outcomes. However, teachers sometimes opt to suppress or neglect their emotions as workplace and power relations in schools may not assign much freedom to instructors, and in turn, affect their articulation of intense emotional suffering (Keller et al., 2014;Taxer and Gross, 2018). ...
... Emotions are considered multidimensional phenomena which comprise cognitive, expressive, affective, psychological, and motivational components (see Frenzel and Stephens, 2013). In the domain of teacher emotion, the concentration is mostly on the affective components of emotions, including feelings of nervousness and unease in anxiety (e.g., Keller et al., 2014) or on caring and love (Sutton and Wheatley, 2003). Teachers' emotions are considered in the current investigation since teaching is not only linked to cognitive experiences but it also involves emotional practices and teachers should regulate their emotions to have effective teaching. ...
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Because of the exacting nature of teaching, identifying factors affecting teachers’ mental health and psychological wellbeing are of paramount importance. Parallel with this line of inquiry, the goal of this project was to test a model of psychological wellbeing based on teacher self-efficacy and emotion regulation in an EFL context. To this end, 276 Iranian English teachers participated in this survey. First, the measurement models for the three latent constructs were verified through performing Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). Then Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to test the hypothesized model. SEM outcomes evince that both teacher self-efficacy and emotion regulation were the significant predictors of teachers’ psychological wellbeing, with teacher self-efficacy being a stronger correlate than emotion regulation. The findings offer significant implications for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers.
... In previous studies on subjective well-being, researchers have pointed out that teachers' subjective well-being is influenced by many factors (45) such as self-efficacy (46), emotional intelligence (47), work environment (48), and work engagement (49). Furthermore, because of the complexity of teaching (50), teaching used to be seen as a highly emotional profession that comes with challenges and stress (51). However, some studies have indicated that teachers' subjective well-being was negatively related to job burnout, anxiety, and depression (52). ...
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Background Online education has been conducted widely in higher education in recent years. While online teaching brings many opportunities, it also poses numerous challenges and issues. This is especially true for college teachers, for whom teaching is considered to be a profession with a high level of burnout and anxiety. The large-scale application of online teaching methods has put teachers in an even more challenging context, which may lead to teaching anxiety affecting their mental health. In online teaching contexts, the question of what factors affect college teachers' online teaching anxiety is worth exploring to help reduce their online teaching anxiety so as to promote their work performance. In this study, therefore, we conducted a survey of college teachers to develop a model of job environment (job demands and job resources), subjective well-being, and online teaching anxiety, and to explore the influences of job environment and subjective well-being on their online teaching anxiety, as well as the mediating effects of subjective well-being between job environments and online teaching anxiety. Method Of the 1,060 college teachers who participated, 524 were male (49.4%) and 536 were female (50.6%). An online questionnaire was sent to the teachers in January, 2022. Online teaching anxiety, subjective well-being, and job environment scales were adapted and developed. Descriptive analysis, reliability and validity analysis, and structural equation modelling were used to analyse the collected data. Results The study model showed an adequate fit (χ ² = 440.983, RMSEA = 0.070, GFI = 0.942, AGFI = 0.914, NFI = 0.949, and CFI = 0.956), confirming the relationships of job demands and online teaching anxiety (β = 0.310, p < 0.001), job resources and online teaching anxiety (β = – 0.086, p < 0.01), job demands and subjective well-being (β = – 0.411, p < 0.001), job resources and subjective well-being (β = 0.204, p < 0.001), and subjective well-being and online teaching anxiety (β = – 0.435, p < 0.001). Meanwhile, the results also proved the effects of the mediating role of subjective well-being between job demands (95% CI = [– 0.138, – 0.225]), job resources (95% CI = [– 0.119, – 0.064]), and online teaching anxiety. The model accounted for 33.8% ( f ² = 0.401) of online teaching anxiety. Conclusion The results of this study indicated that it is important to reduce job demands and increase job resources to alleviate college teachers' online teaching anxiety to maintain good mental health; while maintaining a high level of college teachers' subjective well-being is also helpful for promoting their work performance. Furthermore, the indirect effects of job demands and job resources on online teaching anxiety mediated by college teachers' subjective well-being were also significant.
... Sense of purpose, passion, and self-esteem seem to be the strongest when teachers are able to act in accordance with their values, have a sense of agency within the environment, and are intrinsically motivated, although the presence of demanding external pressures often results in the opposite outcome [36]. As such, teachers experience different emotions during their work [56], which are triggered by multiple factors and their interplay [57]. In this study, the results revealed that emotional experiences were found to be constituents of their teacher identity, and the participants experienced both positive and negative emotions: pride, self-blame, anger, fear, and sadness. ...
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