Roxanna EldenAmong the many demands of teaching is a tremendous pressure on educators to “stay positive!”

Sometimes, though, after a demoralizing faculty meeting, or shouting directions on three hours of sleep while 4th graders open and close their binders as loudly as they possibly can, a little commiseration can be just what teachers need. Some complaints even lead to productive discussions about how to make things better.

On the other hand, complaining can leave you feeling worse. It can also make you look bad if you do it in the wrong place, at the wrong time, or in the wrong company. In other words, complaining about work is a little like drinking: It is best done with certain words of caution in mind.

Do it in moderation. You may feel like you are letting off steam, but if you complain constantly and never quite get it out of your system, you may be dragging yourself down without realizing it. Avoid this by setting limits on the timing and duration of emotionally draining conversations. As with drinking, if you start complaining right after work and keep going until bedtime, or if it’s the first thing you do when you wake up, it’s time to admit you have a problem.

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