Exploring the Lived Experience with Emotional Labor of Female Health Champions


This hermeneutic phenomenological study explored the lived experience of five female Health Champions as they navigated through periods of flux and systemic instability while implementing Comprehensive School Health initiatives. The purpose of this study was to discover the immediate emotional and embodied experiences identified by five change agents having horizontal differentiation of roles including: pre-service student teacher, educational assistant, teacher, school leader, and system leader while undertaking educational reforms introduced between 2009 and 2016 in Alberta, Canada. This study uncovered insights into their common understanding of emotional labor as they experienced this phenomenon while implementing the Comprehensive School Health framework, a reform to Physical and Health Education that coincided with the Inspiring Education movement. The findings of the study define the unique nature of the emotional work of change agents in educational settings, create a storied common lived experience, and suggest some implications and areas of future study for leaders interested in implementing Comprehensive School Health initiatives.


Emotional Labor, Complex Adaptive Systems, Innovation Champions, Hermeneutic Phenomenology


Educational Organization and Leadership


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Dr. Astrid Kendrick
    • Adjunct Professor, Undergraduate Programs in Education, University of Calgary, Canada Canada
    • Astrid Kendrick has been a classroom teacher in Alberta, Canada for the past nineteen years. She has taught across the K-12 spectrum with a focus on Physical Education and English/Language Arts. In July, 2018, she completed her Doctor of Education from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, and has been teaching in their undergraduate program for three years. Her research focus has been on the lived experience of Health Champions with emotional labor while implementing school reform.