Emotional Intelligence of Teachers Working in a Disadvantaged Environment
1Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Background: The primary objective is to provide answers to research questions about the way in which teachers working in a deprived environment, experience and manage their challenges, and the characteristics they display. Methods: This was a qualitative investigation. The participants came from the schools of a disadvantaged township and were selected by means of purposive sampling, meeting a set of pre-determined criteria. The data were collected through drawings and narrations and then analysed into themes, according to the steps of Tesch. An independent researcher confirmed the findings via re-coding and consensus. Findings: The following themes emerged from this study: The teachers working in a deprived environment experience even more context-related challenges than other teachers. They display a specific approach to their teaching. The maintenance of their efforts is based on their personal strengths. They draw on their available assets and support. Discussion: When the findings are screened against the essential components of emotional intelligence, it becomes clear that the teachers, who work in this deprived environment, handle their specific teaching challenges in a mentally healthy way. This makes a comprehensible contribution to the existing theory on well-being, emotional intelligence and health psychology.