Tuesday, May 11, 2010

rights and responsibilities of ed blogging

Last week, as my fabulous co-teacher wrote in her own blog, we learned that other schools in our district cannot access blogs during the day. Although we currently can, we are a bit worried about how long that privilege will last. With an upcoming change in our administration we're feeling a bit nervous. Our previous principal was extremely supportive of our blogs and allowed us to use them as a collaborative reflection piece. Many of us use blogs to reflect on our classrooms and our daily practices. Some use blogs to reach out to their families. Others use blogs to communicate their education opinions with the wider education community.

I can see how blogging would be scary to a principal- particularly a new principal. How do you have control of what is being said and read? How do you protect your staff and children? How do you know what's out there? I think good leadership is about letting go of that control and giving it to others- which is what our old principal did. Hopefully we'll continue with that track.

All this has me thinking about our rights and responsibilities as education bloggers.
Do we have the right to blog about our jobs? Do we have the right to reflect using the internet? The right to connect with other teachers across the world? The right to add to the global conversation about what works and what doesn't work about education? I'd like to think we do, but of course, that all comes along with its own set of responisbilities.

Truthfully I've been mulling over my own set of rights/responsibilities for months now, but never getting them into writing. I'd love your thoughts- what do you see as our role? Do we have rights? A responsibility?

Here is my blogging promise to you, as well as to my future new principal:

Within my blog, I promise to try my best to:

*Never forget the greater picture of why I'm blogging. I will not write posts to gain followers, get attention with snarky comments, or harm either students of co-workers with my words. I blog to become a better teacher, hone my own insights, gain a better understanding of my teaching journey, connect with other educators who, in turn, can make me become a better teacher.

*Always write about a child in a way so that if their parent found the blog they would know I respected every aspect of their child's learning- although I may write weaknesses I must always show the child's true strengths & write to show how much I love and appreciate the child.

*Always write about my co-workers in a way that also reflects their strengths. I have amazing co-workers, which is truly a blessing. I value collaborating and believe that we are better teachers when we put our heads together. I never want to write anything that will in any way hurt our relationship, which in turn would hurt the students' learning. I don't want to use my blog to vent, in turn hurting the trust someone has put in me.

*I will work hard not to write anything that will prevent me from doing my job. I do not want anything I write to hurt my co-workers, students, or my school in any way. I have the best job in the world, and I would hate to end up having to leave teaching because I forgot the bigger picture in my blog.

*I try my best to stick to these, but I'm sure you can find posts I've written that don't follow these 4 rules. But I try. Sometimes I might think I'm following them and I don't, and later I can see where I made my mistake. Know I'm trying, and if you feel I haven't done one of these let me know.

So, here's what I see as our blogging rights-

*We have the right to reflect on our teaching journey on-line.
*We have the right to collaborate with educators from all over the world.
*We have a right to wonder what is best practice, debate education policies/practices/teaching styles, and question what is not working in an on-line forum.
*We have a right to use our blogs to process a difficult day, as long as we stay within the lines of the responsibilities listed above.

The combination of the Rights/Responsibilities allows us to:

*Communicate & collaborate with educators from all over the world
*Become more reflective in our teaching
*Improve our teaching practices to best benefit our students
*Find the silver linings inside the most frustrating of days & know that we are not alone
*Keep a sense of humor, which, in turn, allows us to be stronger teachers who come back to work day after day inspired, energized, and ready for a challenge


TeachEnEspanol said...

This is really great. There are a lot of people (administrators especially) who are very insecure about school/district information being available publicly on the internet. I know it's bitten me in the butt in a major way before. This list is a great reminder to all educators about why we do what we do here, how it can make us better, and the things we truly need to be careful of in order to maintain integrity.

timstahmer said...

In addition to continuing to write your wonderful blog, I hope you will encourage your new principal to start one. I don't see how a principal can claim to be a leader in the school neighborhood unless he/she is using social media to connect with the members of that community. Not just parents but also the other people who pay the bills and in other ways support our schools.