Jay Mathews writes-up some blogging censorship of a California teacher blogger as a case of heavy-handed administrators and political correctness run amok. But I think the episode actually points to a deeper problem. Despite all the talk about professionalizing teachers, they’re mostly still infantilized by those in authority. For instance, from the story:
…after the program’s director, Rachel Lotan, said some of her fellow teacher trainees found her “domineering and intimidating” and didn’t want to sit next to her in class.
Seriously? Leave aside the academic freedom issues, isn’t the thing to do here to gently explain to them that part of being a professional is successfully working with people you may not like or even find domineering and intimidating?
This is not a trivial issue. This undercurrent is essentially often offered up as to why more rigorous evaluations or use of data isn’t a good idea. It might not always be fair! Or why we can’t differentiate pay for teachers. They won’t understand if some people are paid more or less for teaching some subjects! It’ll make the workplace tense! Or why only teachers’ union officials can speak for teachers, etc…
3 Replies to “Mean Girl?”
An alarming article for any educators that have their own blogs. One must be careful about what they say, and all schools will have to start drafting policies on blogs if they are to enforce consequences on employees they feel have violated their professional responsibilities.
I briefly read over the article and can see both sides of the story. I agree that being professional means that you need to get along with everyone, regardless of the disagreements. I also feel that if you are a new educator you also need to watch what you say. This doesn’t mean that you can speak your mind on a blog, but there is a time and a place for some issues.
I fear that teachers will not be free to post their honest thoughts. We should do everything that we can as educators to encourage honest blogging, even if it means ruffling feathers.