Oh there are times when I want to share things with you, my (very) few loyal readers. Through my yearlong courtship with the independent school system, I’ve come to absolutely love what it has to offer, but there are also individual moments of supreme surrealism. Where you are confronted with something — be it an email, a conversation, a policy — that makes you do a double take and go “whaaa?”
Today I had just one such moment, that made me take up a variation of the old man’s trope: “When I was in public high school, it would have been unthinkable for…”
And I have this blog, and I desperately want to share these moments with you, because… well, they’re really, really funny. Actually they’re usually a mixture of being comical and somewhat upsetting simultaneously. Because they reveal a world so different, full of people so different, that you sometimes wonder if you’ve wandered onto the wrong set, and you’re waiting for someone to say “cut. WHAT THE HECK IS THAT GUY DOING HERE?”
But unfortunately, a post on this blog beginning with “Even if you tried, with the help of a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters, you wouldn’t be able to predict what just happened today…” can never be. I vowed to myself to never write about specific students or specific situations — no matter how much the emotional side of me wants to. The reasonings are many and sound (I followed this story closely), and I’ve outlined them briefly before:
I think a lot of value can be had by sharing these stories, getting advice from others, and just commiserating about the difficult moments that come up in the day-to-day. But doing so publicly makes it harder, because specifics have to be pitched out the window. (I don’t want a student coming across my blog, knowing a post is about him or her, and feeling uncomfortable.)
It’s not fair to those you want to write about, because when push comes to shove, you don’t want them doing the same to you. I hate ratemyteacher.com. It’s the most malicious form of this.
But I’m sad about my self-imposed policy, especially with school ramping up, just days away. Because I love to vent. (I think venting is cathartic and healthy and absolutely necessary in teaching.) Because I love reading good teaching tales. (Some of my most favorite blogs are all about spinning good student yarns.) Because I think we can learn a lot about other schools, other teachers, and how to deal with our own situations, by hearing these stories.
And because yet another absurdity happened today.
On this blog, the farthest I’ll go on this is to make generalities about the performance of my classes as a whole, and consequently, I’ll be forced to take my own teaching tales to the local watering hole.
So yes, this post is a proxy of the one that I can’t write, but so desperately want to. In other words, I’m just giving myself a little reminder to stay true to the original purpose of this blog — a personal archive of my professional growth as a teacher, a form of communication with other teachers, and a place to reflect upon teaching practice.
Tell your principal, and let him know that you have a blog. At the very least, it’s a good way to shift some liability.
Thanks for the suggestion.