1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

A culture of moaning.

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Toosh2013, May 17, 2016.

  1. Toosh2013

    Toosh2013 New commenter

    Since entering the teaching profession having worked for a considerable period of time as a frontline children and families social worker, I regularly have days where I find myself standing in disbelief at just how fantastic it is to be a primary school teacher. No two days are ever the same, we have great fun and I get to teach interesting and exciting lessons about weird and wonderful subjects. Don't get me wrong, the paperwork side of things can get a bit frustrating however I constantly feel that the perks far outweigh the drawbacks.

    Over the last couple of years I have spent time in a number of staffrooms and the overwhelming similiarity between all of them is the culture of constant moaning - not just about school but about everything and anything. I enjoy the staffroom buzz when moods are high, however, such occasions are sadly limited and I tend to bite my tongue and passively observe when the moaning starts. Why is it that teachers love such a good moan? And before anyone tries to argue otherwise, it is not 'venting' (the apparently healthier alternate version), it's just plain old-fashined moaning.

    Yes, teaching has changed considerably over the years and there is far more bureaucracy. Yes, pressures to perform are far greater than ever before. Yes, managerialism is all-pervasive and filling the profession with weasel words and short-term, poorly thought out local and national educational policies but surely we can see beyond all of that as a profession?

    Teaching is inherently a utopian profession, we want to make the future better. We also get to share in some pretty special moments with children, not to mention the incredible holidays (which I very much accept are needed, particualrly by the children). Why then does a culture of moaning appear to be so prevalent? What has happened to make teachers so bitter and what can be done to stop the rot?

    Perhaps I am just naive and have yet to take my rose tinted specs off. I can however testify having re-trained from another profession that the grass really is greener on the other side.
  2. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    So just to be clear, you're moaning about moaning?
  3. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul Occasional commenter

    Please stop moaning.
  4. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Pipped you to it, WP ;)
  5. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul Occasional commenter

    Only just :)
    nick909 likes this.
  6. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    While a classroom teacher I never really had the time to sit around in the staffroom (or anywhere else for that matter) moaning, most lunches were taken in my room with students finishing work or students and or staff coming to see me to resolve issues or queries from a variety of sources, not to mention the time it took me to prep for the next series of lessons, report writing, parental contact, trip arrangements and marking, then there were duties, meetings, detentions and extra curricular clubs to run and or supervise... moaning?
  7. Toosh2013

    Toosh2013 New commenter

    Perhaps I should have been a little more explicit: What do people do to boost, as well as maintain, a positive atmosphere within their staff rooms?

    Suggestions so far:

    1. and 2.: Stop moaning about moaning. It looks like the abject pessimism that I have experienced in my staffrooms is beginning to rub off on me without even realising.

    3. Never take a break.

    Anyone else with any suggestions?
  8. Toosh2013

    Toosh2013 New commenter

    I'm going to start moaning about you suggesting that I was moaning about moaning! Tried my best to attract positive discussion but looks like I missed the mark - oh well. I'm away to the staff room to start moaning about the responses I've had on this thread so far.
    dnm likes this.
  9. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Being explicit would help as having re-read the OP it actually was a moan about teachers moaning and was not actually asking anyone how they can or do boost morale or motivation while promoting a positive atmosphere in their staffrooms. That said thanks for reviewing your posts.

    Having worked in both state schools and the private sector for a number of years my approach remained the same in both situations. Perhaps it may help if you spent less time in the staff room, since you cannot really hope to influence peoples mindset if they have had a particularly difficult morning, have done their best and are still left feeling like they need a rant. That said the most productive rants in staffroom are those that rally others to explain or support change to eradicate the cause of the rant.

    An example from my early classroom days is when I walked into the staffroom looking particularly bedraggled after trying to elicit some work from a student who was pretty well unresponsive despite my best endeavours and arsenal of behavioural management techniques. A more experienced and in my view emotionally well balanced member of staff spotted me across the room, came over and asked if I was ok. I briefly went through the details of the mornings events; his response was priceless. All he said was "oh xxxx*students name don't worry he is like that with all of us at the moment, there are some home issues but you might want to have a quick word with XXX *HOY. That short, perceptive and effective conversation lightened the load, signposted me to appropriate action and didn't really include a moan. I walked away feeling that I could be more proactive and didn't feel as bad about the mornings events and lack of output from said student.

    Perhaps now it is because we don't always have time for such implicit support in the staffroom for and from colleagues (and perhaps the issues being moaned about are out of our hands) that the staff room appears to be a hot bed of misery.
  10. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I personally don't go to the staffroom much, other than to get a drink. I prefer to spend my lunchtimes catching up on work. Either that or I'm in meetings or running a club. On the rare occasions I find myself needing a break from the classroom, I'd rather nip out and get some fresh air. I get on with my colleagues but I'm not one for staffroom chatter. So, this isn't really something that affects me. I'd suggest that moaning is inherent in all jobs though and is a cycle I very much doubt you'll break.
    needabreak likes this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    We have some expert moaners in our staffroom.
    But usually the ones with the least work to do or the least commitment to the school.
    Everyone else is too busy getting on with doing what the moaners are moaning about having to do.
    Claire McCabe and sabrinakat like this.
  12. Toosh2013

    Toosh2013 New commenter

    Personally, I find it really depressing that people don't feel it beneficial to promote or contribute to a healthy and happy staff room environment. Surely hiding away and beavering on contributes to feelings of unhappiness in a staff group?

    I also get the impression that taking a break is frowned upon and viewed as a sign of weakness/of being work shy?

    Needabreak gave a great example of a more experienced staff member helping out a less experienced colleague. It's a shame that this would appear to be an exception rather than the norm going by the responses to this discussion.

    Having spoken with a number of (happily) retired teachers I get the impression that staff rooms used to be a lot more fun - fair enough, times have changed and you can't get away with boozing on the last day etc., but surely the profession hasn't changed that much, or has it?

    Why do people feel so unwilling/unable to influence change within their staff groups?
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  13. Lord Snooty

    Lord Snooty Occasional commenter

    All schools are different.
    All staff rooms are different.
    Life's a real bummer isn't it?
    When you first start a school you can never quite get the feel of a staff room until you've cracked a joke about the Head's taste in say trousering .......
    Or you jokingly decry the impossible targets set for year 5 in writing......
    It can be oooops or whoooops.

    PS: I am not moaning.
    dnm likes this.
  14. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Because I'm not really that interested. These people are my colleagues, not my friends. It's a job, not a social club.

    I get along with them and will pass the time of day quite happily if I bump into them, but if working in my lunch hour means that I can get home earlier and spend more time with my family, and have more time on the weekend to spend with my real friends, then I'll do that.

    Nothing to do with taking a break being frowned upon. I couldn't care less what anyone else does.
  15. Toosh2013

    Toosh2013 New commenter

    Is such an individualistic stance not contributing to low moral within staff groups?

    I would never suggest that staff members be best of friends, merely that they make time to share break times and use it as a time to support one another and/or have a bit of a laugh.

    If the aim of certain senior managers is to divide and conquer, it would appear that they have been more than successful in certain instances. I wanted to start this discussion as it would appear that now, more than ever, teaching staff need to stick together in the face of potentially unrelenting cuts - particularly in England.
  16. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    No, staff morale is good at my school. Our SLT recognises our hard work and praises accordingly. I don't get the connection between staff morale and spending time in the staff room.

    I'm not sure what your point is, with respect. You are implying things that are not true. People are free to use their lunchtimes how they wish. Some staff choose to take a lunch break, others prefer to work through it. Nothing to do with dividing and conquering.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If, as you imply at the beginning, staffrooms are full of people moaning, then surely staying away aids one's own morale?
  18. thehawk

    thehawk Occasional commenter

    Sometimes a good moan can be positive as it gets things off your chest.
  19. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Indeed that can be true, but if it grows to epidemic proportions it can be quite destructive both in terms of workplace productivity not to mention damaging to ones reputation; should one care about reputation.

Share This Page