Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sick of Complaints...So I'm Complaining!!

Okay, so I need a place to vent and I couldn’t think of a better place! It has nothing to do with my school, CT, or students. The issue is with my cohorts in my year-long student teaching program. I feel like this is the whiniest group of girls I have ever worked with!!!! They complain about everything from the new math curriculum (which I think is quite wonderful!), our methods course work, our methods textbooks, having class in the morning, having class in the afternoon, reflections, reflections, having classrooms in which some students do not speak English at all, and the list most certainly goes on. I guess my frustrations stems from the belief that as student teachers, we are professionals. I understand that sometimes you just want to get things off of your chest, but when every meeting turns into a total bash about some aspect of our experience, it starts to get a little old.

One of the most annoying points of complaint comes from one girl who is so upset that she got a new student from a French-speaking country in Africa and speaks no English. First off, she refers to him as the “African kid”!!! I’m sorry, but that just sticks out to me as totally offensive…how about using his name or saying the new student?? Just a thought. Anyways, she talks about how frustrating it is that he doesn’t understand anything, doesn’t know how to walk up the stairs or in a line for that matter. I wonder if she has ever stopped to think that maybe his life experiences in his home country did not lend themselves to walking up stairs or walking in quiet lines not touching the walls or talking. Just a thought. I just feel that as educators, we have to be tolerant and understanding of experiences that differ from our own. It doesn’t make us stupid or incapable of learning, it simply means we have a different wealth of experiences to bring to the table. I did speak up a little, but sometimes you just can’t win. Ignorance is bliss for far too many. I do pray that they get it together for the sake of the children; they cannot afford to be exposed to such narrow-minded views.

Based on these last few weeks, I know it will be a long year. Hopefully the constant complaining and inability to accept the diversity of learners is not contagious. To make sure I don’t catch this virus, I am committed to reflecting on my own beliefs, comments, and practices and making sure they exhibit the compassion and desire to make change that dwells in my heart. Maybe my peers will be infected with those instead!! Hopefully that turns out to be more than just a thought!


  1. Good for you to being above the complaining and recognizing that should act professionally. I think every cohort must be like that in some way--or at least there are always a few. When I did my master's there were a lot of complainers as well. They didn't like the teacher, the grade was unfair etc etc.

    With regards to the student from Africa...that teacher should realize the luck of having to grapple with that challenge! Often the student teaching experience does not introduce some of the real challenges of teaching. I completely agree with what you said about it and she should feel happy to have the chance to make a different in this student's life. Isn't that what teaching is about? I have a really hard time with the way teachers label students and I think her use of the Term "African Kid" in the way she is using it is definitely not necessary.

    Hang in there. You have the right attitude for sure!


  2. Yeah- no matter where you are there are going to be lots of complainers! I know they are in my faculty as well!
    As for the kid, Katie is right that she is lucky to have this experience during student teaching because it will CERTAINLY come up during teaching. However, having had this experience many times I can tell you it is very frustrating to have a student who can't follow routines or understand English. In my experience it affects the whole class and makes it so difficult to get everyone else to do the right thing. This is not to say I would ever complain endlessly about it or call him the "African Kid" but it can be frustrating. The great thing is, when they do learn English and the routines etc- it is very rewarding!