Taking a Positive View on Creating Culture

I have always struggled with understanding the toxic culture that often exists on our school campuses and more specifically in our faculty/staff lunch rooms. But this toxic culture isn’t unique to education. As Elena Aguilar shares in Chapter 7 of Onward: In many work environments, complaining is culturally accepted. It is socially customary for people to get together and commiserate about problems, issues, and complaints. And she goes on to share how venting rarely makes us feel good, and often leads to cynicism.

So what can we do about it? A great place to start is with this from the Greater Good Science Center out of UC Berkeley: How To Stop the Culture of Complaining in Schools. The author shares how “Gratitude is an antidote to complaining as it enables us to change and reframe the way we look at and interact with the world. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of education, we replace this destructive viewpoint with gratitude and find the positive things about teaching. When we flip our own attitudes, we can also change the culture of our classrooms, which elevates students’ attitudes and increases learning and engagement. Fueling our teaching, gratitude can propel us into a positive flow in the classroom and spark our passion about education.”

The following practical strategies are shared in How To Stop the Culture of Complaining in Schools for bringing this in to our school systems:

  1. Create a no-complaint zone.
  2. Break the habit with a “Complaint Bracelet.”
  3. Challenge students with the “Complaint Challenge.”

So this gives me hope and makes me think about the transformational power of Building Resilience Through Gratitude.