The present study examines how teacher self-efficacy and emotional stability are related to teachers' and students' perceptions of classroom disruptions, teacher–student relationships, and classroom management. The majority of research on teacher self-efficacy in classroom management relies solely on teacher ratings of student misbehavior. Only a few studies take into account both teacher and student perspectives (e.g., ). Furthermore, as far as we know, there are no studies on self-efficacy that consider the different roles of class teachers and subject teachers.
Teaching is demanding
Teaching is a very demanding task. Teachers have to cope with highly complex social situations that involve many students, in which events happen simultaneously and often take unpredictable turns [2, 3]. Simultaneously they have the task to organize and structure the classroom to trigger successful teaching–learning processes and foster students' social, emotional, and cognitive development, to promote meaningful learning and student growth [4, 5].
These high demands may cause teacher stress. Within the classroom, teacher stress arises primarily from social-psychological aspects of education, such as difficulties with classroom management and problematic teacher–student relationships, rather than from instructional teaching problems . Studies show that one of the significant strains in the teaching profession are classroom disruptions [7, 8]. When faced with a classroom disruption, the teacher has to react immediately, and the whole class witnesses the teacher’s actions . Dealing with classroom disruptions is one of the most salient sources of stress experienced by teachers within the classroom . High classroom demand levels (e.g., classroom disruptions) become particularly stressful when teachers appraise the demands as exceeding their resources for coping. Following , stress is not an external event itself but rather an interpretation and response to a potential threat. A psychosocial situation is stressful when it was appraised as such . Lazarus and Folkman  postulated that such stress appraisal has two stages: primary appraisal and secondary appraisal. In the primary appraisal stage, potential threats, the demands of the situation, and goals and values are evaluated. In the secondary appraisal stage, the resources to deal with those requirements are assessed. Thus, according to transactional models of stress, teachers are vulnerable to stress when they appraise their coping resources as insufficient for classroom demands . Teachers' perceived incompetence in managing student misbehavior leads to higher levels of stress .
Teacher self-efficacy and emotional stability are considered crucial resources
Teacher self-efficacy and emotional stability are considered crucial resources for coping with classroom demands . They may buffer the adverse effects of classroom stressors such as classroom disruptions  and facilitate coping with these stressful events . Thus, in research on teacher strain, a high sense of teacher self-efficacy and emotional stability are considered central prerequisites for successful teaching and teacher health preventing teacher exhaustion .
Self-efficacy can be defined as "beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the course of action required to produce given attainments" . In the beginning, teacher self-efficacy was regarded as an overall, fixed construct, as a global personality trait. There is a growing consensus that these beliefs are very context-specific and related to specific activities [15, 16]. Consequently, researchers examined efficacy in critical subareas and developed different scales for the assessment of teacher efficacy. The Scale for Measuring Teacher Efficacy in Classroom Management and Discipline  distinguishes three subscales: classroom management and discipline, external influence, and, finally, personal teaching efficacy. The Interpersonal Self-Efficacy Scale  comprises the subscale perceived self-efficacy in classroom management. Self-efficacy in classroom management is defined as "teachers' confidence in their capabilities to manage student behavior to achieve order and cooperation in the classroom" . The Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale (OSTES)  covers the three efficacy for instructional strategies subscales: (e.g., “To what extent can you use a variety of assessment strategies?”), efficacy for classroom management (e.g., “How much can you control disruptive behavior in the classroom?”), and efficacy for student engagement (e.g., “How can you get students to believe they can do well in school work?”).
Emotional stability refers to the resistance to psychological distress or the ability to cope with stress. In contrast, emotional instability  is a common predictor of teacher exhaustion . Individuals low in emotional stability tend to express more negative emotions and may generally apply nonfunctional coping strategies. Ineffective coping strategies like denial or distancing themselves from the problem make them even more vulnerable to burnout . Teachers with low levels of emotional stability are prone to psychological stress and easily experience unpleasant emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Emotionally unstable individuals tend to interpret neutral or even positive social encounters as threatening and have difficulties handling even minor frustrations . Empirical findings showed that severity ratings of undesirable student behaviors were associated with high conscientiousness and emotional instability. Kokkinos et al.  found a positive association between emotional instability and severity ratings for interpersonal sensitivity behaviors. It may be that individuals low in emotional stability feel more interpersonally challenged by children who are more suspicious, distrustful, and sensitive than other children.
Studies show that one of the major strains in the teaching profession are classroom disruptions . They can impede the teaching and learning process in many ways and are considered a significant risk factor for teacher exhaustion [7, 8]. Classroom disruptions are defined against the backdrop of an interactional perspective as disruptions of the teaching–learning process . Disruptions in the classroom may emanate from students, as well as from teachers. Nonaggressive (agitation, cutting in) and aggressive student disruptions (threatening, excluding) and lack of organization of the instruction or even aggressive behavior of the teacher (shaming, ridiculing) impair teaching and learning processes. Classroom disruptions can extend over the entire methodological-didactic setting and lead to a working atmosphere marked by many interruptions and restlessness. Classroom disruptions may lead to the emotional exhaustion of the teacher and negatively affect instruction quality, teacher–student relationships, and student achievement .
Positive teacher–student relationships and good classroom management performance are crucial factors in preventing classroom disruptions . Classrooms are inherently social contexts. Developing and maintaining good teacher–student relationships is essential to both preventing classroom disruptions and fostering student learning . Positive teacher–student relationships make a unique contribution to students' social and cognitive development. Appropriate teacher–student relationships are characterized by a rather high degree of teacher influence and proximity to students . Therefore, teachers should establish caring relationships with students and create settings in which students feel secure to explore and learn . Positive teacher–student relationships are related to several positive social, emotional, and learning outcomes . Teachers' socioemotional support is one of the strongest correlates of student adjustment [28, 29] and reduces children’s risk factors . Students misbehave less when relationships with their teachers are positive, and a good teacher–student relationship prevents classroom disruptions [31, 32].
Good classroom management performance is one of the most substantial factors preventing classroom disruptions. Classroom management is broadly defined as "the actions teachers take to create an environment that supports and facilitates both academic and social-emotional learning” . Classroom organization is generally perceived as a domain of classroom processes related to how well teachers manage students’ behavior and instructional time and whether they provide lessons and materials that maximize learning opportunities .
Class and subject teachers
In Switzerland, already at the primary level (primary school), students are taught by a class teacher and different subject teachers. At the primary level, in contrast to secondary levels I and II, there is a more definite role-specific division between class teachers and subject teachers. The class teacher bears the primary responsibility for the class, introduces classroom rules, takes on most of the teaching, and is the primary contact person for students, parents, and school authorities. Students are also taught by subject teachers, who teach individual subjects to this class. So far, only a few studies are available on the teaching of subject teachers at the primary level. Observational studies  and questionnaire-based studies  indicate that more classroom disruptions generally occur in classes given by subject teachers than in those of class teachers. By their different roles in the classroom, students and teachers may perceive classroom processes differently. Any of these different perspectives may have specific benefits and disadvantages.
How do teachers perceive teacher–student relationships, classroom management, and classroom disruptions? It can be assumed that teachers' perceptions are influenced by two different sources. On the one hand, their ratings may mirror objective features of the classroom, like those perceived by students, which represent rather objective classroom features. On the other hand, the teachers' ratings may also be influenced by psychological variables such as their self-efficacy beliefs and self-assessed emotional stability.
Teacher self-efficacy and emotional stability can basically fulfill two functions. At best, these valuable coping resources have a real "objective" impact on teacher behavior, reflected in the students' perception of classroom characteristics. In the worst case, teacher self-rated self-efficacy and emotional stability merely serve as a "subjective" lens through which teachers evaluate their teaching behavior without impacting their behavior and, consequently, without affecting students' perception. However, this is not an all-or-nothing question. It can be expected that teacher perception is influenced gradually by both "objective" and psychological factors, depending on the construct that is measured.
Some studies emphasize rather “objective” influences of emotional stability and teacher self-efficacy on teachers’ behavior in the classroom. Hüfner  suggest that, potentially, “teachers’ perceived ability to cope with challenging students may partly determine which classroom management behaviors, strategies, and styles they ultimately adopt.” Results from studies of the consequences of teacher self-efficacy in classroom processes indicate that high-efficacy teachers “[…] tend to effectively cope with a range of problem behaviors; use proactive, student-centered classroom behavior strategies; and establish less conflictual relationships with students” . Several studies show that teachers with high self-efficacy report coping more effectively with student misbehavior [37–39]. Hüfner  state that they use more proactive behavioral management strategies. Teachers who express high self-efficacy beliefs report being more tolerant of problematic students, less likely to perceive children as problematic, and less likely to exclude students with behavior problems from their class . Also, they tend to be more patient, make better use of class time, criticize students less, encourage student autonomy and responsibility, and persist longer when dealing with challenging students [40, 41].
In contrast, teachers with low classroom management self-efficacy beliefs are more likely to give up easily when faced with disruptive behavior, believing that their actions have little influence [11, 15]. However, these results are based solely on teacher perception, and it remains an open question if teachers’ high self-efficacy beliefs also have positive effects on their behavior in the classroom. This teacher behavior could be indirectly made accessible by assenting students’ perceptions of teacher behavior. Emmer and Hickman  found a positive correlation between teacher efficacy in classroom management and self-reported preference for positive strategies (r = .30; p = .05). However, no significant association was found between teachers' self-perceptions and the judgment of external observers. Based on the apparent lack of correspondence between the judgment of teachers and that of other observers, the authors formulated the following thesis: "It may be that for these teachers, high self-efficacy is a form of denial and permits them to avoid the negative feelings that an honest self-assessment could produce" . Following this point of view, teacher self-efficacy and emotional stability could be conceptualized not as having any objective, measurable influence on teaching behavior but rather as psychological variables that represent only self-serving bias and a subjective, benevolent lens through which teachers perceive classroom processes more positively, without any impact on classroom processes. Following this point of view, teacher self-efficacy and emotional stability could represent the lens through which teachers view their classroom environments and students . A high sense of self-efficacy and emotional stability would lead to a more positive perception of classroom features and therefore protect teachers against stress . However, following this line of argumentation, we would not expect any influence of high teacher-efficacy and emotional stability on students’ ratings of classroom characteristics.
Teachers’ and the students’ perspectives differ in their perception of classroom processes. Due to their training and professional experience, teachers potentially have the pedagogical-didactic expertise for a valid assessment of the classroom . The complexity and simultaneousness of the processes taking place in the class, however, make self-assessment difficult. Besides, it cannot be ruled out that teachers' judgments are subject to self-serving biases, which put the instruction in a positive light . The students’ perspective has a series of advantages. Students observe lessons from a perspective that is mostly free of the burden of action and thus have, unlike the teacher, an observation advantage . Students judge their teachers based on a broad base of experience over many class hours. In most cases, students' perceptions are more consistent with the observations of external observers than are teachers' judgments .
Research questions and hypotheses
Class and subject teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs (Research Question 1). Do class and subject teachers vary in their self-efficacy beliefs and emotional stability? We expect that class teachers and subject teachers do not differ significantly in their self-efficacy beliefs and emotional stability (Hypothesis 1). Both class teachers and subject teachers evaluate their self-efficacy based on their specific roles in the class. Subject teachers are aware that they have limited contact with the class. They know that they do not have the same influence as class teachers. Therefore, they rate their self-efficacy against the backdrop of their specific role.
Teachers’ judgments (Research Question 2). How are teacher beliefs about their self-efficacy and emotional stability related to their perception of classroom disruptions, teacher–student relationships, and classroom management? For class teachers, we expect that a high sense of teacher efficacy and emotional stability is associated positively with their judgment of classroom management, teacher–student relationships, and disruptions of the methodological-didactic setting. These domains are predominantly under the control of the teacher. By contrast, we do not expect any relation with aggressive and nonaggressive student behavior, which emanates predominantly from the students (Hypothesis 2a). We presume a similar pattern for the subject teacher, except for their ratings for classroom management. Subject teachers have only a minor influence on the classroom management practices of a given class. Rules are established primarily by class teachers, whereas subject teachers must adapt themselves to the already established classroom management rules of the class teacher. Furthermore, subject teachers are less familiar with individual students. Both factors may hinder efficient classroom management. We consequently do not expect any relation between subject teachers' self-efficacy beliefs and their perceptions of classroom management (Hypothesis 2b).
Students’ judgments (Research Question 3). How are teacher beliefs about their self-efficacy and emotional stability related to students' perceptions of classroom disruption, teacher–student relationship, and classroom management? It is hypothesized that teachers' self-efficacy and emotional stability do not merely represent self-serving bias and at least partially reflect positive classroom features. We expect that these objective classroom features show up in student ratings to some degree. Consequently, we expect positive correlations between class teachers' self-efficacy, emotional stability, and students' perceptions of teacher–student relationships and classroom management, as well as negative association with classroom disruptions (Hypothesis 3a). We assume a similar pattern for subject teachers. However, due to their limited influence on establishing classroom rules, we do not expect significant correlations for classroom management (Hypothesis 3b).
To what extent do psychological variables predict teacher perceptions? (Research Question 4). We expect two different sources of influence on teacher perceptions. On the one hand, these ratings may mirror objective features of the classroom, like those perceived by the students, which represent predominantly objective classroom features. On the other hand, psychological variables may also influence teacher ratings, such as their self-efficacy beliefs and self-assessed emotional stability. We expect that both subjective and objective factors of classroom features contribute to teacher perceptions. However, we hypothesize a more considerable influence of psychological variables on constructs, which from the teacher's perspective, depending on their teaching behavior. Regarding the different roles of the class and subject teachers, especially in classroom management, we expect two different patterns of influence of teacher-efficacy and emotional stability on the different perceptions. For class teachers, we predict an association between teacher-efficacy and emotional stability and their perception of setting disruptions, classroom management, and teacher–student relationships. In contrast, we do not expect any influence on their judgment of nonaggressive and aggressive student disruptions (Hypothesis 4a). For subject teachers, we expect an effect on their perception of setting disruptions and teacher–student relationships. We assume not any association for their evaluation of classroom management (which is primarily under the control of the class teacher) and nonaggressive and aggressive student disruptions (Hypothesis 4b).