Monday, September 12, 2005

Some Food For Thought

Dana Huff has some thought-provoking insights about Teachers who write blogs:
I have noticed two interesting trends in educational blogging. First, most the the teacher bloggers I've come across are new teachers with less than three years experience. Second, educator blogs tend to be complain fests in the manner that my old teachers' lounge was. Before you get upset with me, let me explain that I don't think there's anything wrong with either trend, necessarily. I just think educational blogging could be more.
There is much more. Consider reading the whole post.

Dana makes several valid points, among them that a number of teacher-written sites do often tend to dwell on the negative, with an "us versus them" viewpoint; the "them" being school/district management.

Even though we don't usually write about our own day-to-day trials and tribulations in the classroom, (That's about to change with the re-emergence of TeachWonk.) many of our own posts about the "happenings" in the education world do have a negative tone about them.

Interestingly, when we do profile
someone who does good in the education world, it draws little or no feedback from readers. Perhaps the reason why may be found in the mantra coined by journalist John B. Bogart:
When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.
After all, there are a lot of people who are making outstanding contributions in the continuing effort to provide every child in America with the opportunity to obtain a great public-school education.

One of the things that I've observed through my years in the classroom is that many public school teachers (including yours truly) are denied any type of forum for the airing of their professional concerns. As is often the (unfortunate) case in our public schools, complaining about one's school management is thought to be hazardous to one's future job prospects. (And it very well could be.)

This is the probable explanation for the high percentage of teacher-written blogs that are authored under pseudonyms. (Including the one your reading.)

Perhaps posting the follies and foibles of one's school administration produces a cathartic effect for the writer. Just maybe it fulfills the need to tell somebody what is going on in the schools in which we work.

Barring any other alternative, the internet provides a ready (and relatively anonymous) venue for "getting it off your chest."

For the most part, public school systems still tend to cling to a very hierarchical management model, with much "top-down" decision-making and little meaningful "bottom-up" input or feedback from those serving in the classroom.

When so many teachers feel that they have no venue or forum for the airing of their concerns regarding practices and policies that have been implemented for the education of our young people, it speaks volumes about what is wrong with our traditional system of school leadership and the decision-making process.

There's a lot of food for thought...

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