Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Basically, it is all about being smart, and avoiding hassles.

My simple advice to you as educational bloggers is this:

Remember that a school is full of students, and those students have parents. As we all know, some of the parents often act in an irrational manner. This means that even if you change names, change classes, and the whole bit, they will still think that you are talking about their child or someone they know. Unless you basically detail the student to the world or give out confidential information, you are probably legally fine. However, we all know that dealing with these situations distracts from real teaching. It becomes a major hassle.

So what does this do to collaborating about classroom management? Well, I don't really know. It would seem to look like discussing classroom management in a public forum is not going to work because every parent is going to think that you are talking about their kid. Even if you aren't, it will become an issue and a headache that no one really needs. However, we also know that teachers discuss classroom management all the time. The wording will simply have to change. For instance (and no, this didn't happen today), if I were to describe a situation like this:

"Today, a student walked over and spit on another student. I had to give that student a referral and they had to be escorted out of class."

.....someone might know who you are talking about and raise hell. Try changing the statement and finding a why not to incorporate students at all. I know, it sounds crazy, but think about the hassles if you say "I have a class that has kids with IEP's" in it, and the problems that could cause with every potential person that thinks they know who you are talking about.

The other issue is blogging during school time, which you should be smart enough not to do. At our school we have silent reading and I have Prep time. During both times take time to read various newspapers and online news sites. I'm a Government/Economics teacher, reading news is a part of the job. If I find an article I like for the blog, I cut and paste the link into this browser and save for editing. The problem? The time at the bottom states that I blogged this when I opened the browser. I might have pasted the link at 6:30 in the morning, and then posted at 10 at night, but the post will say 6:30 in the morning. So it looks like I blog on my prep or during silent reading. Best advice, don't deal with the blog at all at school. Now the links I want go into e-mail and I deal with this back home.

As for the political end, you are protected by a multitude of organizations that are just dying to protect you in court. I don't know the issue of "teacher morality" in regards to blogging about something legal, but that has questionable morals. I think a teacher use common sense morality when it comes expressing opinions. At the same time, I don't think using profanity on a private blog on occasion is an immoral act. I don't act like Howard Stern on my blog, and I don't describe acts that would be considered indecent.

So you make the choice. As I stated before, I live for teaching so I'll adjust my blog.
blog comments powered by Disqus