PLC: Professional Learning Community or People Love Complaining?

By: Jennifer Griffin, IPLI Mentor, Merrillville School Corporation

In education, the acronym “PLC” often creates two very different reactions. For some, it represents
the Professional Learning Community—a collaborative approach to improving teaching practices and
student outcomes. For others, it seems more like “People Love Complaining,” highlighting
individuals who focus on grievances rather than solutions.

Let’s start with the Professional Learning Community aspect. PLCs are designed to foster a culture
of collaboration among educators. They provide a structured framework for teachers to work
together, share best practices, analyze data, and continuously improve their instructional methods.
The emphasis is on collective learning and growth, with the ultimate goal of enhancing student

When PLCs are implemented effectively, the benefits outway any detriments. Teachers have the
opportunity to exchange ideas, receive feedback, and engage in reflective dialogue. This
collaborative approach can lead to greater innovation in teaching strategies, increased
accountability, and a stronger sense of professional satisfaction. With a PLC culture, students
often reap the rewards of a more effective instructional team.

You may see that having a professional learning community approach is a no brainer, but
unfortunately, in some cases, it is merely the concept of “People Love Complaining.” The focus
becomes a collaboration of teachers airing their grievances and negativity.
Complaints ranging from “We have to meet with our team too often,” “We don’t have time to do this,”
or even, “If we have to meet during our plan time then I have so much work to take home.”

So, how can we ensure that PLCs fulfill their intended purpose as Professional Learning Communities
rather than platforms for complaints?

As instructional leaders, we must be clear about the vision and purpose for the PLC, and facilitate
it effectively. Teachers need to understand “the why” behind coming together to help achieve a
common goal.

It is crucial that we ensure that PLCs remain true to a culture of collaboration and foster
a culture of trust rather than platforms for complaints.