The No Complaining Rule

I have recently become a big fan of Jon Gordon (No not Jeff Gordon).  He is a best selling author, speaker, and works with a lot of businesses, sports teams, and schools to help cultivate a positive atmosphere.  He is a great source for information for any educator at any level.  I just finished his book “The No Complaining Rule”.  The whole time I  was reading it I thought about how we could use this at our school.  The basic concept of “The No Complaining Rule” is if you have a complaint you better offer two or three potential solutions.  Jon describes it as “mindless complaining” compared to “justified complaining”.  Mindless complaining focuses on problems when justified complaining focuses on solutions.  It reminds me of a coach that told me “don’t tell me what the problem is, tell me how your going to fix it.”  The book also introduces a technique called the “But Rule”.  My kids at home laughed when I told them we were implementing the “But Rule” at home.  It is a simple technique that you use when you realize you are about to complain about something you say “but” and add something positive.  When I read it I immediately thought about school.  We, as teachers, constantly complain about students being lazy, the administration not doing their job, the cafeteria food not being good, or some other “mindless complaining”.  If we could implement the “But Rule”  we would create a better learning and working environment.  For example, when you hear yourself complaining about how much you don’t get paid or how hard a day you have had say “but at least I have a job.”  One of my biggest faults as a teacher is I probably tend to focus too much on the lower students and what they are not doing when I need to focus and recognize the students that are doing what I ask them to do and trying their best.  I am going to implement the “But Rule” in my classes to help me adjust my focus.  Everytime I hear myself complain about what some students are not doing I’m going to say “but” and find something positive that the other students are doing.  I am going to enlist my fellow math teachers to help me with it and maybe it will rub off on them and it could be a department initiative.  Maybe eventually it could grow into something that we can implement as a school.  If you have any further ideas or suggestions please reply with a comment.

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