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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why should teachers have to hide behind their blog?



In seeking out beginning bloggers this year on my quest to encourage and help. I came across another great blog Reflection 2.0.

However, after starting to blog, the author says:

"Wow, yesterday was a huge one for me in blogging education. I cried out for help on whether I have a right as an educator to blog about my experiences, and was given many resources by my PLN."


And you'll have to read her blog for the cries of caution coming from the blogosphere and twittersphere.

Then comes the part that looks as if it were written behind the walls of a communist society:

"After reading all of this, my bravado fled and all the horrible images of being ushered into an administrator’s office and told I’m fired started flooding my mind. I tend to react to things fairly quickly, so I changed the name of my blog to Reflection 2.0 and changed the email address in the about section. The part that killed me the most was removing a bunch of the links (still some out there I didn’t have time to get) to my classroom blog - I’m SO proud of that, I hate not being able to link to it. I know there are still some things here that could lead back to a pretty definitive ID, but at least it won’t be quite so glaring. If you have a bit, check things out and do the legwork to try to hunt me down! Let me know how long it took :-)

For the record, though, I HATE doing it this way. I use this blog as a way to connect with my PLN and who knows, maybe make valuable career contacts for the future. I’d like to be known for my contributions to the blogosphere, and it just seems kind of wrong to be doing it without full disclosure. As you may remember, before all of this yesterday, I was all excited about putting my picture up on my About page! Now, I do know that if I were to change my content and just do a resource-sharing blog with one cool 2.0 tool a day it wouldn’t be such an issue. I don’t WANT to do that though. I probably wouldn’t blog at all if that was what I had to do. "

I highly encourage everyone to go over to Reflection 2.0 and Read her post "Hiding Behind My Blog."

Here is how I respond to this:

"I was up front with my administrators about my blogging and signed up the curriculum director as one of the first readers of my blog. I asked her to let me know if there was ever anything she was uncomfortable with me blogging and she never has.

It is important to remain a professional at all times and never give away the identity of your students. However, just remember that there is great opportunity on the positive side. I've gotten over $80,000 worth of grant money in the form of software and services from companies who believe in what I'm doing that have benefited my students!

There is an incredible benefit including the new students that have come to the school because they are particularly impressed with our technology program. Parents expect technological excellence and you can be proof of that.

As long as you keep private internal issues and don't air your "dirty laundry" you should be fine, however, I've been completely open with my administrators from day one. There is a lot of fear out there and I think it is unfounded IF teachers learn to blog as professionals."


I am extremely disturbed by having to go to the level of being completely anonymous in order to be a teacher-blogger.

If we are to model the future for our students and we have to run and hide, what is that. Notice, I do not blame the blogger. Instead I applaud her/him for opening up and talking about what is happening and the process of thought.

Free speech is a right for all of us, however, remember as a professional, I am to protect the privacy and sanctity of my classroom where the students are protected. I am to be a professional in my disagreements with administrators and represent my school well. I believe in on-campus accountability and set up e-mail blog subscriptions and signed up my curriculum director as one of my first readers.

When I became more popular, I went and talked to my administrators about it. When I spend a lot of time on a blog post, I print a copy for my peers who know that they will not find them mischaracterized in my blog posts. I have an unfair advantage in that their side wouldn't be told if I were to do such a thing. I take it very seriously how I act here and WANT to be held accountable.

Because I blog publicly, my school has been in numerous papers and magazines including the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Wired News, CNN Money, and countless others.

Does it make me nervous? Yes, especially at first. However, I believe we need teachers who can model how this can be done professionally. I hope eventually Reflection 2.0 will work it out with her administrators that he/she can blog "publicly" and not have to hide.

What do you think?

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