When I started my blog a year and a half ago, I wanted nothing more than for people to read. I wanted friends, family, and complete to read. However, I did know of one group of people that I desperately did NOT want to read: my students.
As a teacher, it is ingrained into me not to mix business with pleasure. In the 21st Century education model, students are no longer people– they are the statistics that determine how effectively I do my job; they are clients that need to be served; they are customers, and the customer is always right. They are not to be tampered with. We are strictly instructed not to get too personal with students because it could be misconstrued. Of course, we are told to watch them and report any odd behaviors and lack of motivation, but we are told to keep our distance. The days of formulating a familial relationship with the family are long gone. Education is a business, and we need to treat it accordingly.
Personally, I struggle with this disconnect. Last year, every time I wrote an amazing post and felt the adrenaline race through my body, I wanted to share it with my students. I am an English teacher, I teach writing and technique. On these such occasions, I wanted to share my blog and say to my students, “See, I write well because I write often. Give yourselves a chance. You can all be better writers, too.” I would always deliver the message about writing more, and I would allude to the fact that I enjoyed writing myself, but I never told them to Google me.
Last academic year, I did have a class that I could not look at as widgets and sprockets. They were not my statistics nor my clients. They were a group of vivacious, heart-felt, intelligent students, and whether I intended to or not, I got to know them as people. Even though I loved this class, I still did not tell them about my blog. To no avail, however, because on a whim, I was Googled, and they discovered it all on their own. I wavered on feeling elated and horrified. I knew that these were not the types of kids who would want to get me in trouble, but what if some of their friends were? I have heard numerous horror stories of teachers being terminated for behaviors that would go unnoticed in normal society, and with the strict moral cold that teachers are held, terminations happen solely on “conduct unbecoming to the profession.” Knowing that they were reading, I politely asked them to keep my writing under wraps, and because they are mature young adults, they understood and granted me this favor.
Most students became bored within a few days, but a couple became regular followers. Not only do I not mind that they read, I enjoy that it has sparked interest in blogging within one young lady. She has recently started to set up her own blog page, and she will be delving into the world of writing. As of yet, she has not written a blog, but I know by what she turned into me this year, they will be good! She wants to major in journalism in college, and what better way to start finding a voice than by blogging? The greatest part is that she has emailed me asking tips about how to get followers and how to set up a page. I have added information about widgets and pictures and tags— things that took me weeks or months to really understand.
The teacher has become…. the teacher– not the objective robot of the 21st century, though.