I consider myself a teacher advocate. That means that I speak up for teachers and their causes. And I'm not shy about it. Sometimes that might mean that I risk saying something that could get me in trouble with various people or groups. That is a risk I am willing to take. This may be one of those times.
I try to make every decision based on the following order of priorities:
As you can see, teachers are high on this list. I try not to criticize them too much, but there is one thing that I do have to mention:
Teachers are complainers.
Teachers complain about everything. They complain about about their students. They complain about their administrators. They complain that it's Monday. They complain that they don't get respected. They complain about their salaries (see my last post). They complain that they are tired. And on and on.
I am not making these comments based on a small sample. Years of teaching, speaking, and communicating with teachers online all over the world have given me a good idea about how a lot of them think and act.
I am not saying that all teachers are this way. Obviously, there are some non-complainers out there. I try to be one of them. Of course, I am complaining about others teachers complaining, so maybe I can't even claim that. I want to help teachers as much as I can. That is why I wrote a book, speak at conferences, and write this blog. I want to help all four groups in my list as much as possible.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently about teachers (she does not work in education). She said that the ones she knew annoyed her because they were always griping about their vacations. If they weren't on vacation, they complained about how much time they had until they next one. If they were on vacation, they complained about the little time they had left. She knew enough teachers who acted this way that it was enough for her to form a general opinion about all teachers. Wow!
Complaining brings down the atmosphere of any environment. Students can tell if you don't want to be there. Other teachers get discouraged when they hear so much complaining. Excessive complaining can poison an entire school. If you hate it that much, there is probably something else that you should be doing. You would be doing your students and your school a favor, anyway.
So, try not to be a major complainer. Toughen up. A new year is coming soon. Remember why you got into the profession (hopefully to help kids). Try to do your best to focus on the positive things that you have going for you. Teaching is a tough job. There is no doubt about that. But you can make it much easier on yourself if you don't focus on everything that is hard about it.
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