Tips for Teachers: Put Up Or Shut Up.

There is plenty wrong with education.  I don't imagine that comes as news to any reader.  Show me a school district, and I can show you multiple issues that prevent the place from functioning as well as it could.  No matter how well run the place is, the underlying structure of public education in this country leads to issues...and usually the place isn't all that well run. Teachers are (largely) intelligent folks.  Most of us are able to see the flaws that pervade our working life and most of us are only too happy to whinge about the stupidity of the particular policies and practices that adversely affect us doing our jobs.  But here's the thing:  whining without action is pointless.

In my time in the leadership of my teacher's union, I have been constantly beset by people who are only too happy to prattle on at me about some specific problem or other.  My approach is always the same, listen patiently and then inquire what exactly it is that the person would like me to do about it?  More often than not, there is no answer to my question.  People just like to bitch.  This may serve some sort of psychological function, but outside of that it does absolutely nothing in relation to improving the situation.

To look at another example, consider the klatsch of teachers who invariably clot together in the faculty cafeteria to whine about this particular student or that particular practice.  Spend some time to see how many of those individuals move on to actually doing something to rectify their issue.  If your building is like mine, you will be surprised at how few do.

Why should this matter?  To go back to my initial comments, we work in a job that is far from perfect.  If you want to whine, that's great, but remember that whining without offering alternatives is not helping anything.  Pretty soon, the biggest problem you'll have in your district is your faculty of moaning invalids.