Understanding the factors that influence teacher engagement is critical for enhancing both the teaching process and student learning outcomes. This article discusses a recent study that explored the role of emotional intelligence in moderating the impact of stress on work engagement among teachers. The study employed the job demands-resources and emotional intelligence theories to conceptualise a moderated mediation model.
The researchers hypothesised that emotional intelligence would buffer the impact of emotional demands on work engagement through self-appraised stress. In simpler terms, it was expected that teachers with higher emotional intelligence would be better equipped to manage emotional demands, subsequently reducing their perceived stress and promoting work engagement.
The study involved two independent teacher samples. The first sample consisted of childhood and primary educators (N = 351), while the second sample comprised secondary educators (N = 344). This approach ensured a comprehensive understanding of the impact of emotional intelligence across different educational levels.
The results of the study provided interesting insights. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, emotional intelligence did not moderate the relationship between emotional demands and self-appraised stress. In other words, higher emotional intelligence did not directly lessen the perceived stress resulting from emotional demands.
However, emotional intelligence did play a significant role in buffering the relationship between self-appraised stress and work engagement. This means that teachers with higher emotional intelligence were better able to manage their stress, which, in turn, positively affected their work engagement. This pattern was consistent across both teacher samples.
The findings of the study suggest that emotional intelligence has a specific buffering effect affecting intrapersonal (within oneself) and interpersonal (between individuals) processes. Essentially, emotional intelligence helps teachers manage their stress, which subsequently enhances their engagement at work.
These findings have important implications for teacher training and development. Incorporating emotional intelligence training in teacher education programs could potentially equip teachers with the skills necessary to manage their stress effectively. This could not only enhance their work engagement but could also positively impact their overall well-being and job satisfaction.
In conclusion, while the emotional demands of teaching can be high, the role of emotional intelligence in managing stress and enhancing work engagement cannot be overlooked. Future efforts should therefore focus on fostering emotional intelligence among teachers to help them deal with the detrimental effects of stress on work engagement.