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E-motional Interaction Between Teaching Assistants and Students:Expressing emotions via WebCT
Unformatted Document Text:  Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 24 “emotional themes exhibited by TA’s in e-mails.” Certainly, showing disappointment is an act that is not only carried out through regular classroom communication. Being able to translate the attitude of “disappointed” or the role of “one who is disappointed” through computer-mediated communication is a skill that we argue is not only a job expectation; it is also could be an intensification of emotional labor and work. To narrow the discussed earlier concept of emotional ambivalence (Pratt & Doucet, 2000) toward the focus of this discussion, let us consider just one role of the graduate student: the teacher. As a teacher, graduate students try to achieve the perfect balance between dichotomous attitudes (or even roles). For example, consider some of the prevailing dichotomies associated with teaching assistants listed here: student / teacher; entertainer /informer; friend/superior (parent). These dichotomies underline similarities and differences students have with their teaching assistants. Often it is difficult to students to dissonance such differences. At he same time, some of them are practically impossible to overcome. For instance, a TA is always perceived as a superior and teacher, not as a friend and student of the same university. Although the list is not all-inclusive or prescriptive, it certainly suggests a spectrum of attitudes from which a teaching assistant must choose. Some may remain close to the left, others in the middle, and still others decidedly right. In spite of one’s teaching credo, it is clear that the balance is delicate, uncertain, and dynamic, especially in one’s first years as a teaching assistant teaching own course. Teaching is very much an environmental job, where one must adapt to the context and surroundings in order to survive day to day in the classroom. As Hochschild (1983) noted, the industry of service requires interpersonal and “people” skills, which very much summarizes the lecturing, student conferencing, public critiquing, and entertaining involved in teaching. However, technological “skills” (from which Hochschild saw the industry moving away)

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina., Bigam, Mellisa., Buford, Laura. and Chen, Xiaolei.
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Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 24
“emotional themes exhibited by TA’s in e-mails.” Certainly, showing disappointment is an act that
is not only carried out through regular classroom communication. Being able to translate the attitude
of “disappointed” or the role of “one who is disappointed” through computer-mediated
communication is a skill that we argue is not only a job expectation; it is also could be an
intensification of emotional labor and work.
To narrow the discussed earlier concept of emotional ambivalence (Pratt & Doucet, 2000)
toward the focus of this discussion, let us consider just one role of the graduate student: the teacher.
As a teacher, graduate students try to achieve the perfect balance between dichotomous attitudes (or
even roles). For example, consider some of the prevailing dichotomies associated with teaching
assistants listed here: student / teacher; entertainer /informer; friend/superior (parent). These
dichotomies underline similarities and differences students have with their teaching assistants.
Often it is difficult to students to dissonance such differences. At he same time, some of them are
practically impossible to overcome. For instance, a TA is always perceived as a superior and
teacher, not as a friend and student of the same university.
Although the list is not all-inclusive or prescriptive, it certainly suggests a spectrum of
attitudes from which a teaching assistant must choose. Some may remain close to the left, others in
the middle, and still others decidedly right. In spite of one’s teaching credo, it is clear that the
balance is delicate, uncertain, and dynamic, especially in one’s first years as a teaching assistant
teaching own course. Teaching is very much an environmental job, where one must adapt to the
context and surroundings in order to survive day to day in the classroom. As Hochschild (1983)
noted, the industry of service requires interpersonal and “people” skills, which very much
summarizes the lecturing, student conferencing, public critiquing, and entertaining involved in
teaching. However, technological “skills” (from which Hochschild saw the industry moving away)


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