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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Emotional Labor

Do you know this man?

This is Steven Slater, the man who has 28,000 fans on facebook for...quitting his job.

Though his flight exit was a bit theatrical, his plight was far from abnormal. Contrary to popular belief, Steven is not suffering from a breakdown-he's dealing with a part of his industry that many fellow airline employees are familiar with: Emotional Labor.

As teachers, we have equal amounts of academic and emotional labor. We have to physically and mentally instruct through our personalities-but which personalities? We are familiar with our many faces (the "parent" the "co-worker" and yes, the "teacher"). It's tough to always be friendly and attentive when our students are being anything but.

So should we pull the emergency hatch? No way. Be aware of the tasks you're performing-grading papers can be easier than keeping a smile on your face sometimes.

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