Why do people continuously complain?
I often wonder about this - why do (some) teachers continuously complain about the school, the students, their duties, their day, the fact that they're "done" before the day has started, etc. Surely if you are so unhappy in a career, you should leave? Yes, I have bad days - days where I am unhappy about things - but to complain continuously and bring everyone down around you is not right! I listen to colleagues moan from the time they walk in until the time they leave, and it concerns me that our students have to be with a teacher that doesn't actually want to be there. I've always maintained, teaching is a calling, not a job. If you want a job - don't teach because unless you REALLY want to do it, you are going to be unhappy. Am I being unreasonable?
It sounds like you're complaining.
Complaining is often a bonding thing. It is all about misery loves company. The majority of people do have issues with their jobs. This is partially because our realities never match our ideals.
People complain because it is part of how they have learned to behave. Essentially, it is human nature. Additionally, complaining is a way of resolving problems. It either gets you some advice, a comforting listener, or a sense of relief.
Try not to confuse workplace grumbling with a hatred for the actual position held. Listen carefully, and you will be able to differentiate between the two.
Last year, I was one of those people who complained continuously. In reality, there was a lot going on outside of school but there was no one I felt confortable taking to about that so I joined in with the complainers at school.
Over the summer, every thing in life fell back in place and I was ready to start the year with a new outlook. This year has been great and I find myself rarely complaining.
Maybe some of the people who are complaining about school are also venting frustrations about other things they do not feel comfortable discussing.
Well, everyone complains to some extent, but maybe carrieSAtoUSA just wants to meet a few more proactive people? Many people do complain as a bonding thing, but having had a few rough experiences is the past with no one to talk to and actually having true support now, I don't complain much. However, even before I became a teacher, I was always proactive and couldn't stand complainers then.
For many folks it is a venting thing. Some folks just need to vent and be heard and some folks want solutions and hear no complains. It's a funny thing.
Sometimes folks just don't want to be around the negativity in general, and we are all so busy these days that we may not want to use whatever free time we have for that.
There is a dude at work that bothers me. He complains and gossips, and I have never heard a lesson plan idea come out of his head EVER. This is his first year as a teacher through an alternative certification program, and he is in the school the correct number of hours and out the door when it ends. He never discusses lessons or ideas or creative projects. He never discusses strategies that work or not. He is so laid back, jokes about everything, and is impatient and rude in meetings. I know the first year of teaching is always a shock factor, but goodness. He won't stop talking at meetings with his snide comments, and if forever mumbling under his breath for people not to ask any questions to get out as soon as possible.
I will listen after hours if there is food and drinks in front of us, but school time is proactive time.
Food and drinks is always a good incentive!
I think that jsfowler may be right about the displacement of complaining. Some people do express frustrations about hte small stuff because the big stuff is just too big.
MsCoffeeLover, I hear what you're saying. I know people like the guy you described. Whenever they start to annoy me, I switch from supportive to spinning the situation. I say things like "Well, that challenge makes you stronger. So, it isn't really a bad thing. You just have to focus on what to do not what has been done."
A few of us on staff have begun going out Fridays for happy hour after school. The first hour or so is always venting, and I think that's healthy. We get frustrations out of our system. Then the convo moves to other things.
There was one particular teacher on staff last year who complained in the computer room, complained in the hallways, etc. She would never stop complaining. I distanced myself from her - she was too negative. You may want to do that, and stay away from the complainers. Some people would rather bitch and moan than change things.
I think carrieSAtoUSA has a point ... provided she is distinguishing between the need for people to sometimes vent and people who appear to have little thunderclouds over their heads wherever they go.
Case in point ...
I once spent several years working for an oil company in Saudi Arabia. I taught at an American school which had been established for the American and English speaking children of the company employees.
Would you believe that I was raking in over $6500 NET INCOME each month ... and this was back in the 90's. The company also gave me $7500 in annual vacation allowance. I had full medical benefits and a 401K plan. Life was pretty darn good.
A newly hired teacher from the states arrived and sheesh ... the complaints! Her house was too small - never mind the fact that she and her husband HAD a company house that included a garage and a fenced back yard. As a bachelor I was living in a tiny apartment. I didn't have a garage and had to share a common parking lot with other tenants. I didn't have a yard.
The woman complained that we had to work 11 months out of the year ... that she couldn't get doctor appointments at the corporate hospital as quickly as she would like. The imported food, hello - name brand products from the states and USDA beef was expensive. The weather was too hot and dry. The corporate landscapers should have planted more flowers ... never mind the fact that we even HAD flowers since other companies didn't bother landscaping or irrigating the desert at all on behalf of their foreign employees ...
The woman complained that the local shops in the neighboring city of Al-Khobar were of poor quality, the quality of restaurants were dreadful, and the houseboys who were available for housekeeping service were "expensive" (charging about $4.50 an hour.)
Our faculty had a full hour for lunch with no duties as all children were bussed home (in air-conditioned buses no less.)
Many teachers ate at the school, heating their meals in the faculty microwave ... but as time passed and this woman continued to complain, one by one, most of the other teachers disappeared. Some went home for lunch. Others ate in their rooms.
In time, there were just two teachers in the lounge. One was the incessant complainer and the other was her one and only friend.
Speaking for myself, I did not enjoy hearing the constant litany of complaints. The woman was making good money. She had the annual opportunity to travel around the world at company expense. As American employees overseas, our foreign income was tax excluded. Although we had to file a tax return, our income wasn't taxable ... and since the Saudis didn't tax our income, this had the actual affect of increasing our earnings by about 33%.
Yes, the heat was excessive - but we lived in a corporate community and since the company paid for utilities, I kept my A/C at a crisp 70 degrees.
Yes brand name products were expensive. They had to be imported to Saudi Arabia so as consumers we had a choice. We could purchase local foods at a lower cost or suck it up and pay the higher price for USDA grain feed beef and such favorite products as Ragu spaghetti sauce.
For every complaint the woman had, there was always a flip side ... and what bothered me was that she always went for the negative. She was a my glass is half empty sort of person instead of appreciating the fact that her glass was also half full.
I found this person to be incredibly annoying and avoided her as much as possible. Insofar as she wasn't on my grade level, that wasn't particularly difficult.
I can't imagine what it would have been like if I had had to work with her.
Again, I am not a teacher, but I can answer this from a parent's prospective:
It's as simple as one who becomes a teacher knows that she has chosen to deal with children. Children require constant supervision, they continuously try limits, and between the talking, arguing, refusal to listen, high activity levels and uninvolved parents........they're automatically catalysts for high levels frustration.
It's the same as someone choosing to become a proctologist. If that's the profession you've chosen, you really can't complain about what it involves.
As humans you have a right to be frustrated and frazzled, but as a professional you don't have the luxury of showing the emotions.