My school doesn’t blog about me. Can I blog about it?

Posted: August 19, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So, I’ve been thinking about what I can and cannot say on this blog, not legally, but fairly.

I am not worried about writing about my classroom, even my faults in the classroom. I freely admit that I am a risk-taker as a teacher and a cook. I will try outrageous projects and recipes. (I personally believe the best time to try a new recipe is when other people are coming over. This is not how my husband feels.) I have tried all sorts of in-class activities or projects where the final products were spectacular-spectaculary good and bad. And, the students learned from all of them. Thankfully, my school does not expect perfection of me, and I return the favor. We are both working to be the best we can be.

However, I did not restart this blog to write exclusively about my classroom. While I thoroughly enjoy being a teacher (except when writing report cards and doing dismissal duty in the rain), the big picture is interesting to me, always has been. It not only interests me what the preK-12 social studies/history progression is at my school; I spend time thinking about it. I am interested in organizational structure, in curriculum development, technology integration, teacher evaluation, professional development, and how to get teachers working together across grades. These are issues I would like to write about in an effort to “solidify my thinking” on the topic (as @TeachPaperless said in his blog post).

The question now is, to what extent is it acceptable or appropriate for me to talk about those bigger issues when I teach in an independent school in an area with stiff competition for a shrinking student population? I am not looking in any way to blog as a way of complaining. I have no desire to discuss particular internal issues that are in any way private.

I do want to be able to talk about how my thinking is changing or developing around all those “big ideas” that I love. For example, say I have a big idea about how, if I were Queen of Everything, I would reorganize some roles to make a perfect job for myself. Could I write about that? Would anyone care? Would anyone read it anyway? I have already written something and then taken it down. I guess I will be making an appointment to meet with my division head.

I am interested in what other bloggers or nonbloggers think about this. Please comment away.

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Comments
  1. I think it is fine to write and therefore sort out your feelings about big picture ideas in education or changes that you would create if you were “Queen of the World”! You are a professional and should feel fine discussing your profession. I often find other teachers writing about things that am thinking about and enjoy other people’s opinions, ideas and comments. You know your school and larger community, you should be able to make the call if something is appropriate or not. Get input from you admin and go for it I say! I will be reading.
    Sarah

  2. You’ve raised a good question. When I blog, if it is a post that reflects on my school or school district I ask myself, “Would my principal/superintendent/district principal have problems with what I’ve written, and if so could I admirably defend it?” Something else to consider is having a disclaimer on your blog to the effect of, “This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer” (which I got from this article (http://www.blogherald.com/2007/10/01/does-your-blog-need-a-disclaimer/) on blog disclaimers.

  3. Maggie says:

    It is a provocative question you raise, to be sure. This blog and the communication and collaboration it can generate can serve to not only solidify your thinking, but “give birth” to new ideas and ways of teaching and learning that will wind up serving you, your students and the school all very, very well. And the possiblity to infect others with your big ideas is potent as well.
    As the previous poster said, there needs to be some filter. I think a disclaimer reiterating the obvious – that this is the view from your stylish shoes — is never a bad thing. Would I want my teachers, for example, to trash talk students, parents, colleagues or the school in any specific way? Absolutely not. But is it fair to give voice to your frustrations or, even better, your ideas for building a better mousetrap? Absolutely.
    We are lucky to work for independent schools. By and large, they are forward leaning institutions that encourage ingenuity in their teachers and students — and even celebrate it.
    So write on – but wisely. Don’t wallow (I don’t think you would!) as blog-solely-as-therapy is really only helpful to you, and even then, not so much. Be provocative… stimulate good conversations (like this one) among readers about what you see, hear and do that will elevate thinking and possibly improve the practice of teaching and learning for us all.
    The perspective that you share through your blog is very relatable, very real-world. Your vision is so valuable exactly because you ask the inspiring question, looking big-picture and wonder “what if?” You use the ingredients of real-life in interesting combinations to create powerful learning connections in your classroom.
    So just like when you cook up that unbelievably creative menu for your guests, be ambitious. Your school and your students would want for nothing less!

    • mseiteljorg says:

      Maggie, thanks for your (continued) support and for adding so much to the discussion. And, could you just write a few posts for me? Hoping that many more share your thoughts on the matter.

      • Maggie says:

        Just one more thought. Does the head of your school and your current immediate administrator (division head) know of this blog? You have nothing to be ashamed of — in fact, I would argue, you have loads to be proud of based just on your work here! – so I would encourage you to share this blog address with them. That level of transparency breeds trust and strength in the relationship from their end and from yours.

  4. mseiteljorg says:

    Maggie, my previous division head, you may know her, was aware of the blog. I have an appointment with my current division head set up for tomorrow. Once I have shared with her, I will follow up with an email including link to blog to head of school. And, I’m sending them to you if there is concern.

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