So I’m not sure how this plays out in other career fields, but as a teacher I have noticed that there is a single unifying factor among all teachers. It isn’t love of students or passion for content… It’s trash talk.
Seriously. I have never met a teacher who didn’t have a lot to gripe about. And I guess I always knew this was true, but it’s become especially clear to me in recent weeks.
See I’m just coming out of a pretty nasty bout of post-partum depression and I’m making a new concerted effort to be positive and optimistic. So far, it hasn’t actually been that hard. We have a new curriculum this year that I actually love, we got an awesome new tech panel to use in our classroom that is totally useful, I’m teaching a super exciting elective class, and I just have a whole new lease on life. I feel good about my job and my life in general.
I’m also being required to attend some extra training days this year regarding English language learners in the classroom. It stinks that I have to take days out of the classroom, but I am actually really enjoying the training. It’s interesting and really useful.
So I’m like, asking questions and actively participating in the training when I realize… Holy crap. I’m that girl. You know, the one who keeps us all late in class when nobody else cares… And I leave the training and am chit chatting with another person in the training and I start to say how I’m enjoying it… This other teacher looked at me funny and said the training was BS. A few expletives (from her) later and I say something to the effect that it’s a bummer to have to miss out on work for it and she begins to nod her head and rip into how terrible it is to have a sub.
Apparently I was not supposed to be positive. You know the phrase “misery loves company”? I think that person was probably a teacher. Since I’ve been paying attention, I’ve noticed that teachers love to complain about everything from principals to pencils. Interruptions to IEPs. Trainings to technology. Parents to placement testing. (Alliteration!)
Now. Teachers have to put up with a ton of garbage just to do their job. In fact, at this very moment I can think of about twenty things that are hindering me from actually doing me job well. There’s so much policy, bureaucracy, and legislation that I can even send a kid to the office without being afraid of a lawsuit. And the moment I learn a new grade book system or technological device it seems like I have to learn something else. Oh and by the way, the first thing never did work right and I still don’t have a working teacher computer.
Even with that though, I still love me job. I love my students. And you know what? All of the new stuff we have to use just means we’re at least trying to keep up with the changing times.
I say all that to say this: I am not a positive person. My personality tends very easily toward cynicism. So when I’m the most optimistic person in a group… It’s a problem. We as Americans, as teachers, as humans in general, are so lucky. We are so incredibly blessed. We live in an incredible time and place in history.
Teacher especially – it is our duty to influence our students for good. If we hate everything, what are they supposed to do? I want my students and their parents to be proud of the school they attend. I want to be a bright spot in dark times.
I admonish us all, but specifically educators, to work hard at being positive. Even when everything sucks, which it often does, complaining doesn’t help. I’ve learned that first hand. Last year was a super easy year for me as far as workload, but I complained about a lot. This year is insane and crazy and difficult and busy… But I’m loving it. And the biggest change is my attitude.
Take it from a generally negative person… Negativity sucks. Choose to be excited and your circumstances will become exciting. Like my dad always says – right actions follow right emotions.
That is all.