I just finished reading a book I repeatedly heard Dave Ramsey recommend on his radio show: QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and Life.
I am shocked and amazed. And disgusted.
This book is about nothing more that trying to teach people to look at what they can do to fix their own problems, or perceptions of problems. This book is trying to steer people away from blaming others (i.e.,"Why can't they ever get it right/do their jobs/give me things I want or need to do my job?"), and toward figuring out what they can do to be more productive, and figuring out what they can do to fix their own problems.
I will admit I got a bit frustrated, when I started teaching. Our campus email system didn't work, the textbooks sucked, the kids didn't understand the first thing about writing an essay, and my colleagues wouldn't stop complaining about admin, equipment, facilities, the shared adjunct office, turnaround time for the copy center...you name it.
I thought about it...then gave my students my personal email address. I tried making do with the textbooks I could find for a few years...then stopped teaching from a textbook (then wrote my own when I stopped teaching in a classroom). It's not the kids' fault they come to us not being able to write--that is the whole point of our job. Admin is admin, and they always have their heads firmly planted somewhere dark and fragrant, so it's best to just figure ways to work around it, I never had issues with any equipment issued (I actually prefer blackboards to whiteboards or smartboards), I quit using the shared office in favor of the library coffee shop, turned in stuff to the copy center way earlier than I needed to...
I also quit hanging around with the whiners. Students were a lot more fun to spend time with.
I have higher ratings than most of the other Composition teachers in the department. I have the highest ratings in the department in the online sections.
All I can affect is my class and class materials. I ask for feedback from my students and revise the class accordingly. I learn new ways to present the material, and incorporate them. I figure out better ways to incorporate the use of technology into my electronic classroom and my textbook (screen captures, anyone?).
I find problems, or have problems brought to my attention, and I fix them. I don't wait to be told what to do, and I don't whine about how it's not my job, or how I don't have things I'd like to have to make my job easier. I just figure out what needs done and do it. I've got it nailed with work, and I'm trying to set up habits to do better with that in my home life. I know what needs done, and I'm working on changing myself (the only one I can change) to do it.
Which is the whole point behind the book.
Why the hell is this such a foreign concept?!?
32 minutes ago