Just read this little newsbite:
In case you're not inclined to follow and read the link, the article refers to a teacher, Natalie Munroe, who has been suspended from teaching because of what she posted on her blog. She didn't refer to herself OR her students by name. She used a little profanity. She ranted a bit. And she got nailed for it. Huh.
When I blog, I'm aware of the fact that my full name is listed. This blog is easy to find. I figure that very few people will look for it, and if any of my students find my blog, they won't be too interested in what I have to say...but perhaps I should rethink this mindset.
I don't really post about work. One time I posted from parent-teacher conferences, after being inspired by a plaid poncho, but I didn't think that someone would find my blog, realize I blogged FROM the school ABOUT someone in the school, and get upset. But maybe this could happen.
If anything, I think of blogging as an exercise to keep me in touch with the writing part of my job. I should practice what I preach. I should write. I should publish. I should put something out there that anyone, including my students could read (if they really wanted to). I should show people that anyone can write, everyone has something to say, and even a little bit matters.
So, for the record...I love my job. Even though I do get frustrated sometimes, I know that this is a great place to be. I try to convey this attitude to my students. I wasn't always so chipper, but after I had the twins and Andy was laid off, something clicked (panic?), and for the past couple of years, I've felt more positive than negative about work, about my district, about public education in general. I get to do something that matters and get paid for it. This thought, this fact strikes me as amazing again and again.
As for my students? If they seem disengaged, I try to look at the whole picture. Have I shown a genuine interest? Do I know what's going on in that kid's world? It would be great if school could be the #1 priority for each and every kid, but for some, it's just a blip on their radar. Some of these kids are already critically enmeshed in the activity of just surviving. A few are amazingly talented...but not in any single activity covered in our curriculum. But most of them will respond, are willing to learn, have amazing potential. I know this, I close my eyes and remind myself of this on the bad days, I beat my head against the wall trying to figure out the key that will unlock that potential.
It has to be a workable key, after all, for both the student and for me. I know I'm not Michelle Pfeifer in Dangerous Minds, showing off karate moves and showing up at students' homes. Nor am I Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, whispering and yawping as I lead eager young lads running triumphantly through their formative years. I am who I am--a fairly laid-back teacher, mom, and wife without a lot of theatrics up my sleeve. Not a lot of razzle-dazzle in my routine, and let's face it, it's hard to compete with all the flashy acts out there today. I have to work with who I am, navigate the constraints on my time and energy, and still try to connect with these kids. That key is an elusive fit.
I hope they back off of poor Natalie Munroe. First of all, she was 8 months pregnant. As any mom knows, she was a saint for even showing up for the job, at that point. Also, I do think she has very likely learned her lesson. It's a lesson we're all supposed to teach our students: anything you put on the internet is irrevocable; anyone can find it. It's a good reminder for this blogger, as well.