De Gruyter, Applied Linguistics Review, 0(0), 2023
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Abstract Emotion labor is a multidimensional construct that plays a key role in teachers’ emotional knowledge and emotional development. However, little empirical research has focused on such multidimensionality of emotion labor at personal, institutional, and sociocultural levels. The present study aimed to fill this gap by drawing on metaphors and integrating data from Iranian English language teachers through open-ended questionnaires, narrative frames, and semi-structured interviews. The analyses of the data revealed that the teachers used metaphorical language to display their negative emotions against the relational power that shaped their professional emotions and practices. Moreover, the teachers deployed such metaphors to represent the clashes between external power relations and their internal feelings. Our findings demonstrate the rigor and relevance of metaphor in capturing emotion labor. As a consequence, we present a taxonomy that can serve as a heuristic for institutional stakeholders to engage in closer scrutiny of teachers’ emotion work and the power relations that shape such work.