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Teacher emotional intelligence crucial in the school environment

Emotional_Intelligence_in_the_SchoolTeacher emotional intelligence is as important as the professional skills in the school of the educator. Learners, teachers, and Heads of schools with diverse backgrounds and upbringing are continually interacting in the school environment with each other and there are bound to be friction.

(TI Journals, 2013) indicates studies on emotional intelligence have shown that, one’s IQ accounts for just 20% of one’s success in any endeavor whiles the remaining 80% is attributed to one’s emotional intelligence or emotional quotient.

It is proven knowledge that teaching and school work are among the most stressful occupations. This makes emotional quotient relevant in the school environment in the 21st century than before due to our informed knowledge of its effect on students, teaching, teachers, and the education industry. Emotions play vital roles in decisions teachers make in the school environment.

Moreover, a recent meta-analysis of over 300 studies showed that programs designed to enhance social and emotional learning significantly improve students’ social and emotional competencies as well as academic performance. Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2005, August).

Emotional Intelligence and Temperament of Teachers

Teachers and their learners have different temperaments, attitudes, locus of control and how they react to situations and disturbing occurrences in school. One’s temperament can influence one’s emotions to a large extent.

There are times in the school when emotions heighten up from the classroom to the head teacher’s office and amongst students and teachers. In all these gloom, anger, misunderstanding, confusion and tension, the emotional intelligence of the teacher is crucial in calming situations. Taking a deep breath, not responding or delaying a reaction in times of tension can go a long way to deal with the problem than quick hash words that only fuel the tension already visible.

Do not lose sight of the fact that, teachers are leaders who must first lead themselves, and positively influence their students and colleagues in school.

The tension in this beautiful work environment where knowledge gets transferred from the educator to the learner can become chaotic because of the lack of emotional intelligence.  (Northhouse, 2016) defined leadership as “A process whereby an individual influence a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.”

Leaders lead people and human institutions. This has implications for the management and use of emotional intelligence. “Emotional intelligence is the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions to enhance thinking” by (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2004, p. 197) as cited by (Mayer, 2004). The masterpiece on Emotional Intelligence by Goleman made this subject area famous and essential.

(Reynolds, 2012) Argues that, interpersonal relationships in organizations show the emotional side (Negative or Positive) of the organization and it impacts its way of doing things. Thus emotional intelligence involves regulating the emotions of one’s self and others and empathizing to understand others towards creating a productive ambiance in the school environment.

The stress in the field of teaching come from superiors, learners, work schedule, teachers personal life and nearly the complex and interrelated tasks of teachers. This means giving teachers the needed skills such as training in how to be emotionally intelligent is essential. The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned and masterd.

A cool-headed teacher, who is understanding, open to ideas and constructive criticism from others is worth having in a work environment than one that is causing trouble and is never ready to understand others, quick to get annoyed.


Types of  Emotional Intelligence needed in teachers

  1. Self Awareness implies the teacher is aware of his feelings. Be it moody, sad, anger, happy and the likes.
  2. Self Regulation means the teacher can manage his positive and negative feelings by controlling them from getting out of hand, especially negative emotions. You can tell your mood and its impact on your day as well as your work and those around you. Hence you subdue it to help you achieve your goals as a teacher.
  3. Motivation through the usage of one’s feelings to help him or herself achieve set goals and that of the learners.
  4. Empathy has to do with the teacher being able to tune into other peoples mood and know how they feel in a given situation. Example, if a teacher shouts at a pupil or learner or student who seems not to understand a lesson, the teacher should be able to tell how such a child feels and its implication on learning today and in the future each time that teacher o enters the class or that subject is mentioned.
  5. Social Skills are essential because teachers continuously use interaction to transfer knowledge. Their ability to handle their feelings well make it easy to interact with students and others on campus.

Emotional_Intelligence_in_the_SchoolA teacher who is annoyed right from home must know that he needs to work on his mood haven realized that his not in the best of mood for the day’s work, he or she must think about and be concerned with the learners to be taught in the day and their needs. The expected outcome must inspire the teacher to realign his emotions before entering the classroom. Have concern for the learner’s needs who must not suffer from the teacher’s negative energy.

Self-awareness is critical in being able to manage your emotions as a teacher. (Chhabra, 2006) in his book posited that emotional intelligence is crucial in the school environment for it aids teachers ability to understand their students. This enables the proper alignment of teaching methods and activities to the needs of the learner. This tends to positively impact the performance of the student.

Teaching is one tough profession to find one’s self in. The climate in the school environment may not be favorable and the presence of a student who causes trouble in class is enough to charge a teacher’s emotions in a second and end up getting the teacher exhausted in no time.

When the feelings are highly aroused and the situation demands a strong emotional reaction, self-regulation becomes extremely difficult as the teacher cannot simply excuse herself until she calms down. The teacher has to stay in the classroom with the students and sometimes coping with their own negative emotional response can be a major stressor for the teachers. 

Dr. Bindu Chhabra

Studies have shown that emotionally intelligent teachers are transformational leaders who put in extra effort to develop a healthy and positive relationship to solve problems in the school environment as well as put in place control systems, make correct inferences. They respect others and are responsible decision makers.

If you can healthily manage your emotions by drawing positive perceptions and thoughts from both negative and positive feelings, then you can shake off gloom to self-soothe. Positive self-talk and how quick you move out of the “bad mood”, last in the right mood and communicated better with followers are essential.

These and many more ground teachers to better understand those they work with, themselves, the school environment and the situation. This way, teachers can draw from their interpersonal skills and emotions to drive both positive and negative energies towards effective teaching and learning.

In our next related article, we shall explore further into models that can help teachers master and learn emotional intelligence to aid them in their work as educators.

Related: Teachers deserve better  || Teacher Motivation Key 


Chhabra, B. (2006). Role of Emotional Intelligence in Teaching

Elliot, J. (2012). Leading Apple with Steve Jobs. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Free Management ebooks. (2014). free-management-ebooks. Retrieved 2018, from free-management-ebooks: http://www.free-management-ebooks.com

Mayer, J. D. (2004). What is Emotional Intelligence. University of New Hampshire Scholar’s Repository.

Northhouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

TI Journals. (2013). Emotional Intelligence and its Necessity in Teaching Training. International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences, 899-904.


Wisdom is an ambitious optimist who believes in venturing out to create and to revolutionize the world a post at a time, writing to educate, inspire, entertain, influence and start thought-provoking debates on varied topics.

He loves writing, a skill he developed as a pupil at the University Staff Basic School, Legon, Accra. He has never looked back.

He authored "Returnees of the Dead Forest" in the UK with Xlibris Publishing House. in 2013

When others see the challenges of today, Wisdom sees the successes of tomorrow in a world filled with opportunities. He holds the belief that today's genuine efforts, dreams and aspirations will become rewarding.

Wisdom is currently studying Mphil. Leadership. He enjoys writing, blogging, playing football, public speaking and teaching.

Contact Ghanaeducationnews.com or Wisdom for your school's news coverage or promotion of school-related events, advertisements and publications.

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