Kindergarten teachers often face stress and challenges which leave them vulnerable to burnout. There is growing interest in the association between mindfulness in teaching and burnout, yet little is known about the potential mediating role of emotional labor in this link. We explored the relationship between mindfulness in teaching and burnout among Chinese kindergarten teachers and investigated the dimensions of emotional labor (that is, surface acting, deep acting, and naturally felt emotions) as potential mediators of that relationship.
A total of 515 kindergarten teachers (Mage = 30.45, 95.5% female) completed self-report questionnaires assessing mindfulness in teaching, emotional labor, and burnout. The mediating effect was examined in a path analysis framework.
Results indicated that mindfulness in teaching was negatively correlated with burnout (r = − .47, p < 0.01). Naturally felt emotions (indirect effects: b = − .07, 95% CI = [− .11, − .04], p < 0.01) and deep acting (indirect effects: b = − .03, 95% CI = [− .07, − .01], p < 0.01) partially mediated the relationship between teacher mindfulness and burnout.
These findings highlight the mediating role of emotional labor, and suggest that kindergarten teachers’ mindfulness may facilitate their deep acting and naturally felt emotions which, in turn, may help reduce burnout.