The didactic profession is a highly emotional work, which requires special intellectual and emotional resources, because the roles played by the teacher are multiple: colleague, friend, evaluator, mediator in solving different conflicts, support person, the one who ensures discipline, the one who guarantees academic success, etc.
The didactic profession involves complex social interactions, with very different pupils, often vulnerable in many ways, who have different personalities and different needs. It also assumes interactions with parents who have different demands and claims, interactions with colleagues and management teams that in turn have more or less developed social and emotional skills.
In addition, the teaching profession is carried out in a professional context that requires a series of rules for the display of emotions, also requiring adequate emotional control. The school, the classroom, the chancellery, the places where we meet up with parents, are all places where the teacher is required to express positive emotions regardless of the situation, to deal with negative emotions, to feel and to understand the emotions of others, to influence and to control the social interactions of other people, and at all times to efficiently manage the dissonance between the emotions they live and the ones they express.
These are just a few of the issues on which teachers benefiting from REC training in Bacau have mediated and worked, and they also practice strategies to manage difficult, emotionally demanding situations in classrooms. During the training sessions we have tried to develop our abilities to understand, manage and express different social and emotional aspects of the teaching profession in ways that allow us to deal effectively with stressful and emotionally charged situations.
Most of the emotionally challenging situations that Romanian teachers have identified in the training activities and discussions within the REC project, can be reminded:
- lack of motivation for learning or for certain disciplines on the part of students;
- the disruptive behavior of some students, coupled with the low autocotrol capacity of the behavior;
- students who experience feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, etc., and who can not manage their emotions;
- overcrowded classrooms;
- parental pressures, unjustified claims, poor communication, poor involvement in children’s education;
- many children who are left to care for their relatives for long periods of time, as parents go abroad to work, and this children feel emotionally negative parental absence;
- low socio-economic status of the school and the impossibility of having access to quality material and educational resources;
- organizational rigidity, low access to decisions on the development of the school organization
- insufficient and inadequate sources of income,
- excessive workloads, sometimes aberrant and with unrealistic deadlines;
- inadequate training of teachers in addressing students’ discipline issues and the special approach that children with special educational needs integrated in mass education need.
Faced with such a diverse range of external and context factors that can underpin the creation of emotionally challenging situations for teachers, we have attempted in the training activities to identify together the possible steps that they should take we follow in the emotional regulation, in the class, steps like:
- accepting that emotions are an integral part of didactic activity;
- correct knowledge and labeling of our own emotional reactions and judgments about the contexts that trigger negative emotions in class;
- re-evaluating the behavior of colleagues, pupils, parents with whom they interact, to give new meaning to their goals and meaning so as not to trigger negative emotions;
- adopting effective coping strategies to regain calmness and pro-activeness towards classroom problems.
More emotionally competent teachers who feel emotionally comfortable and are able to provide a stimulating atmosphere that support the harmonious development of their students – this is the desideratum, this should be the goal of consistent programs training for all teachers. We believe that it should be an integrated goal in the national vision and national policies of vocational training in Romania, in the mission of the schools, in the organizational culture of all educational institutions.