Every classroom has rules and practices. They should be clear and simple.
One of the practices in my classroom is - No Complaining!
Now don't get me wrong...I complain from time to time about things that are happening around me. But these days, it does not happen very often and I certainly I do it FAR less than I used to in life and here is why...
It doesn't solve problems
It does not provide solutions
It does not create a positive and engaging environments
It is certainly NOT a conversation
It zaps all the good energy from the room
If you are a teacher or know a teacher, or have school-aged children, I have no doubt that at some point over the last few couple of weeks, you have been witness to some seriously good complaining!
It is that time of term for teachers, where the to-do list seems endless, assessment is upon us and reports are looming. It is also that time of term for parents where kids start to feel more tired, the mornings are darker and colder here in Australia as we move into Winter and everyone is feeling the last few weeks of term moving very slowly...
And with all of this...both parents and teachers are attempting to keep their sanity intact!
The last couple of weeks have been a little crazy at school. We are trying to fit it all in, keep our sanity, continue teaching and being the best we can be in our classroom for our students.
But here is what I am noticing - complaining is on the rise. It is happening more than normal and it usually happens at this time of the year that does it. I used to be one of those people that complained about everything to do with reporting, marking, assessing, having to take work home, fitting it all in, admin giving us more things to do, not having a life at this time of the year, kids being tired, and why oh why won't they just listen and do their work!
It has been a lot of personal development and rethinking of how I use my time to try and decrease the amount of complaining I actually do but I have started wondering if perhaps some people like complaining as much as they enjoy doing nothing about it. I know I was definitely one of those people!
It was easier to complain than do something because it allowed me to pass the control of the situation to someone that was not me!
If you don't like something, change it. If you cant change it, change your attitude about it. Don't complain!
As teachers, we can't change the fact that we have to assess and report and that the work at this time of the year feels never-ending. Complaining about how much work we have to do does not get the work done or make it easier and it doesn't change our timeline either!
So, maybe it's time for us to try something different! We are not in control of the work we have to do BUT we are in control of our attitude towards it!
A negative mind will never give you a positive life.
Teachers, parents and kids alike! We already know that our thoughts determine our actions. Wouldn't you prefer a positive and joyful life over a negative and frustrated one?
Don't complain about things you are not willing to change.
If you are not prepared to do something different to make life a little easier or to find more joy in the day - even though it's crazy busy - then you are not allowed to complain about it!
We all want more joy in our life. I do not doubt that for one moment.
Sometimes, it is really easy just to get caught up in the moment when everything feels like it is on your shoulders and you feel like you have limited time to get things completed and our natural go-to is to complain about with other people who understand what we are going through.
So I thought I might share some tips that have helped me personally and in my classroom with my little humans.
Identify your problems but give your energy and power to solutions
If there is a problem in our classroom - great! It means we get to problem solve, find a solution and work through it. We use our language and our strategies to find a better way of figuring it out.
As adults, it is okay to acknowledge the number of things we have going on in our day - whether you are a parent or a teacher. But once it has been acknowledged, then refocus on what you can do next and how you can make it work best for you. Remember, where focus goes, energy flows!
We are grown-ups! Maturity is learning to accept what is happening around us without complaining.
We set the rules for our own life. We are big people now! We have control of how we react, what we say, how we choose to respond to people and situations. We are also the role model for the little humans in our care.
We don't always have to like what is happening but that's life! It's a bit like that! But that's ok! However...we can choose to react and respond in a way that brings us more calm, we can do things that keep us more centred and bring us more joy.
What are you doing today, in amongst your busy, to bring more joy into whatever you are doing?
Be thankful and celebrate where you are at.
Life is busy. It's that simple. But we can all celebrate the moment we are in, what we have achieved today/ this week so far.
What can you be thankful for and appreciate even more today, even while you are working on your crazy to-do list?
If we change your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly
We have a habit of 'expecting' things to be a particular way and when things don't happen that way, we feel frustrated, annoyed, stressed! It could be an expectation of work or even of ourselves and how we think we are supposed to be doing.
Either way, let's get rid of the expectation of what we think should be happening and focus on appreciating the moment, what we have achieved so far, what is happening for us and see how that will change your day.
The way we communicate with others and ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives. (Tony Robbins)
Be mindful not to fall into the trap of group complaining. It is SO easy to do because it is how we connect with each other.
CHALLENGE: Try and go ONE day without complaining about anything or anyone and see what happens in your day. Bring some appreciation into your day and be mindful of how the quality of your day will change.
A few final questions for you and your little humans when things are getting hectic:
Is the complaining helping?
Do you have control over what is happening?
What might be a better reaction or response to help us feel more appreciation or joy?
What have you done so far that is great?
Is there a problem that needs solving?
What is our next step/ thing to do?
How can you bring more joy into this moment, right now?
Until next week....have a beautiful week!
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