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The Functions of Teacher Emotions: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


by Ken Winograd — 2003

This is a self-study of an elementary teacher's emotions during the year he took a sabbatical from a position as an education professor. He worked as an elementary classroom teacher, and he kept a journal of his daily experience as a teacher of a nongraded primary class. With the journal as a data source, the study examined the feeling "rules" for teachers, the functional and dysfunctional dimensions of teacher emotions, and the strategies teachers use to engage in emotional labor. The findings show both functional and dysfunctional dimensions of the teacher's emotional experience. The article suggests that the self-accusatory stance of teachers diverts teachers' attention from structural problems in their working conditions and, instead, focuses attention on the inadequacies of teachers as individuals. Furthermore, the paper suggests that it is from the collective naming and examination of emotions that teachers may be able to learn to accept and understand the darker emotions of teaching, to understand the relationship between emotions and social structure, as well as learn to use emotions such as anger and disgust as catalysts for social activism and change.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 9, 2003, p. 1641-1673
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11560, Date Accessed: 12/13/2017 4:16:04 AM

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About the Author
  • Ken Winograd
    Oregon State University
    E-mail Author
    KEN WINOGRAD is an associate professor in the School of Education at Oregon State University. His interests include elementary literacy teaching and learning as well as teacher learning and work from sociological perspectives. In another study of his teaching when on sabbatical, Dr. Winograd published ‘‘The Negotiative Dimension of Teaching: Teachers Sharing Power With the Less Powerful’’ in Teaching and Teacher Education (Vol. 18, 2002, pp. 343–362).
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