I love to write. That’s why I decided to throw this thing up there on the Internet. Maybe some people will read what I write. Maybe nobody will. Regardless, I will write because it is what I love most of all. Tied with reading, that is.
I read a number of other blogs. I will admit — sometimes I am jealous of what other people write. I would love to have the freedom to write whatever I want, but I can’t. I am held to a different standard, and I just can’t figure out if it’s fair or not.
I’m a teacher. That means I have to be careful about what I say and do publicly. For instance, if I have a rough day at work, I need to not say anything about it in a public forum. I can’t do anything that might appear to be critical of the students I teach or their parents or my colleagues or my superiors. Teachers in other parts of the country have been disciplined and even fired for doing just those things. Mind you, sometimes I’ve read stories where teachers deserved it! Check this one out: http://digitallife.today.com/_news/2012/07/05/12581309-teacher-compares-student-to-orangutan-on-facebook-could-lose-license?lite This teacher definitely screwed up! But I fear that if I have a bad day at work — say I caught some kids cheating on a test — and I write about how disappointed I am in those kids, I could get in trouble for that, even if I don’t mention anything that can identify the students. It could be said that I am presenting students in my district in a negative light or that I am displaying a poor attitude toward students for expressing disappointment. Is that fair? It doesn’t feel fair. In fact, we were even told that it would look unprofessional to post things online that say things like, “Looking forward to summer vacation!” or, “I don’t feel like going to work.” The thought was we would look negative about our job and therefore the kids we teach. I get on Facebook every day and see lots of people post equivalent statements — “I hate Mondays!” or, “Only one more hour then it’s Miller time!” or even, “So tired of my boss getting on my case.” Why can’t I say those things if I want to?
I do write an education blog (http://renbog.blogspot.com/), and I can assure you that I am sometimes nervous about what I write because yes, some things I say could be construed as negative or complaining about my job. I hate feeling like I have to act a certain way or avoid saying or doing certain things just because I am a teacher. Obviously, I know that I need to use common sense — I’m not saying that I need to be naming names in online posts blasting students, parents, or colleagues. But if I want to write about a frustrating day at work, should I be able to do that without fear of punishment? I think so.
What do you think? Should teachers be held to a different standard simply because of what they do for a living?