For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas will need over 82,000 new teachers by 2008 (as noted in Justice & Espinoza, 2007). Many teachers are leaving the profession within five years of being employed. In order to reduce these numbers, schools are now looking more seriously at teacher preparation programs. In one study described by Justice and Espinoza (2007), 160 beginning teacher candidates were surveyed using the Emotional Skills Assessment Process. According to the Emotional Intelligence Scale, the candidates needed to strengthen skills in assertion, comfort, empathy, decision making, drive strength, time management, commitment ethic, self-esteem, stress management and deference. The skills leadership, aggression, and change orientation were current strengths. To face the challenges of a diverse classroom, teachers needed to develop or strengthen specific skills if they were going to have a longer teaching career.
Goleman (1995) is credited in Emotional Intelligence with encouraging many educators to think about intelligence in two parts, IQ and emotional intelligence. Because of his theory, many educators began to realize that emotions play an important part in a person's ability to succeed in life. Goleman says "at best, IQ contributes about 20% to the factors that determine life success which leaves 80% to other forces." (Goleman, p.34). He believes that these other forces may be influenced by emotions. According to Goleman, the more emotionally intelligent have, "abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope"(p.34). Emotional intelligence is essential.
Nelson and Low (2003) state that emotional intelligence is the single most important influencing factor in individual achievement, career success, leadership and life satisfaction. They feel that an emotionally capable person needs to be able to identify, understand, experience, and express human emotions in healthy and productive ways. All of the areas of teacher instruction could use some intervention in order to make teaching students more confident and emotionally prepared to enter the classroom. If beginning teachers knew what skills to apply when they faced challenges, they may stay in the classroom longer than five years. Obtaining important and useful emotional knowledge about themselves and developing emotional skills to guide and support lifelong emotional learning can only strengthen their performance in the classroom and improve student achievement.
Hayes (2003) ended his study stating that although the participants' extracts later showed that some of their worst fears were eliminated once their placement began, the emotional turmoil that some of them experienced prior to the assignment meant that "too much of their mental energy was directed towards concerns of the heart rather than practical preparation for the job." Nevertheless, Hayes concluded that learning to cope with the emotions attached to changing circumstances and stressful situations is, as his research confirmed, an integral dimension of teachers' lives. The development and honing of the intern teachers' emotional literacy is an essential element of their preparation for teaching and too important to be left to chance.
This is definitely a true concern. There are many teachers, especially the newer ones but veterans as well, who are overwhelmed with all the goals they have to meet, the fast-paced and ever-changing environment in which they work, and the ever-increasing personal, emotional and intellectual needs of their students. It takes a special person to be a "good" teacher, not just a run-of-the-mill teacher. It would be very helpful if colleges and universities placed a greater stress on emotional intelligence in their classes for teacher instruction as well as make it a consistent part of the intern process. Further, once teachers enter the school system, there should be other ways to support them, either through further instruction, support groups, or mentoring.
Teachers are a much-needed profession, and it is unfortunate that the turnover is so high. However, as noted by Hayes (2003) in his article, steps can be taken to help teachers adjust. Perhaps, with time, educational systems will realize the importance of helping their teachers' build emotional intelligence.
Calderhead, J. & Shorrock, S. (1997) Understanding Teacher Education. London: Falmer
Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Dunlop, F. (1984) the Education of Feeling and Emotion. London: Allen & Unwin.
Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam.
Justice, M, and Espinoza, S. (2007) Emotional intelligence and beginning teacher candidates. Education. (Summer) [electronic version]
Hayes, D. (2003). Emotional preparation for teaching: A case study about trainee teachers in England. Teacher Development. 7: 153.
Mertens, D.M. (2005). Research methods in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative and qualitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.