An article by Richard James Rogers
Illustrations by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongohati
Are you a moody moaner? If you are, then join the club because schools all over the world; no matter what the ethos or demographic, all contain their fair-share of moaners.
But what do teachers moan about and is it justified? Let’s answer the first part of that question.
Top 3 grumbles of today’s teachers
In my book, 45 Secrets That All High School Teachers Need to Know, I outlined dynamic and practical ways in which every educator can address problems associated with paperwork, parents, students and colleagues. In my research for that book, and my subsequent investigations since, I’ve determined the top 3 teacher grumbles to be:
Paperwork: “There’s too much pen-pushing and not enough time to do real teaching”, “How the hell am I supposed to prepare my lessons properly when I have to do all of this ridiculous paperwork” and “All of this red-tape is just an exercise in jumping-through hoops” are expressions I’ve heard time and time again over the past 11 years of my career. It is true that the demands of school inspectors, parents, governing bodies and exam boards have placed an increased demand for accountability squarely on the shoulders of teachers over the past decade, and this accountability is usually expressed as more forms for both teachers and senior management to fill in, as well as more documentation to prepare. However, doesn’t this documentation revolve around things that help the students? Planning documents, for example, are great for letting you see the long-term goals of the course being taught, and keep you on track on a weekly basis.
Students: “He just doesn’t listen” or the infantile, pathetic “They just can’t…..” are phrases I have heard on an almost constant basis since I started teaching. The expectation to differentiate content to a variety of abilities, culture-backgrounds, motivations and maturities has also increased in the teaching profession over the past decade. This places more work in the hands of the teacher in the form of extra planning and preparation time needed to deliver effective content. This issue still, unfortunately, causes lots of resentment and frustration among educators. Let me tell you very bluntly – teacher’s who say “He/she/they can’t” are almost always wrong. I’ve had the fortunate experience of turning around kids who were simply ‘written off’ by other teachers, just by using the rapport-building strategies outlined in my book.
Parents: I’ve heard them all in my time as a teacher. From the “She’s just mad” to “People like him shouldn’t be allowed to have kids”. Staffroom banter on this subject can be unnecessarily cruel and biased towards the teacher who has the issues with the parent, and many teachers often reciprocate in this fashion out of plain sympathy for their colleagues. This can lead to a dangerous climate of negativity around the issue, which is often disproportionate. In my book, I explain how you should see every parent as a valuable customer, who you can work with productively to make things work for your students.
Why we should stop complaining – always and forever!
#1: Complaining about anything acts like a “crap magnet” in your life
I was recently very fortunate to receive a signed copy of T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of The Millionaire Mind (ISBN 978006133645-4). In that book, the author very eloquently and directly outlines the devastating effects that complaining has in our lives on daily basis. The following extract really woke me up, and I hope it will do the same for you!
Complaining is the absolute worst possible thing you could do for your health or your wealth. The worst! Why?
I’m a big believer in the universal law that states “What you focus on expands.” When you are complaining, what are you focusing on, what’s right with your life or what’s wrong with it? You are obviously focusing on what’s wrong with it, and since what you focus on expands, you’ll keep getting more of what’s wrong.
Many teachers in the personal development field talk about the Law of Attraction. It states that “like attracts like,” meaning that when you are complaining, you are actually attracting “crap” into your life.
Wealth principle: When you are complaining, you become a living, breathing “crap magnet.”
Have you ever noticed that complainers usually have a tough life? It seems that everything that could go wrong does go wrong for them. They say “Of course I complain – look how crappy my life is.” And now you know better, you can explain to them, “No, it’s because you complain that your life is so crappy. Shut up…and don’t stand near me!”
Which brings us to another point. You have to make darn sure not to put yourself in the proximity of complainers. If you absolutely have to be nearby, make sure you bring a steel umbrella or the crap meant for them will get to you too!
T. Harv Eker, Secrets of The Millionaire Mind. Harper Collins 2007.
#2 Complaining goes hand-in-hand with gossip. Gossip will kill your job and your career.
Here are some extracts from my book which make it clear why gossip is destroying so many teacher’s careers, all over the world:
Remove complaining and gossiping from your life, and watch the success and happiness flow in!