Dear Mrs. Munroe,
Just some words of advice about being an edublogger:
- Observe the Golden Rule. We all learned that in kindergarten, and no amount of college training or practical classroom experience doesn’t reinforce the concept. As I’ve learned from my friend and mentor Doug Johnson, praise locally, complain globally, and do it carefully and with tact. Adding my two cents, complaints should be accompanied by suggestions for improvement that are viable. After all, we want to make the workplace (and world) a better place. Instead of tearing down with complaints, let’s build it up with optimism in the form of positive actions.
- Don’t put things into writing (literally on paper or in an electronic format such as a blog) that could be taken out of context or used against you. Be prepared to defend it if you choose to do that. As I’ve been told time and time again, everything you put in writing in your teaching context is a legal document that could appear in court–in your favor or against it.
- If your blog was directed at your seven readers, then make it PRIVATE. Privacy means no chance for parents, community, or media to “stumble” upon it or misinterpret.
One issue I do find troubling has to do with who your target audience is–who the blog in general is for. In your blog you said….(and apologies for possibly taking this out of context)
“….So I took the opportunity for myself and the possible amusement of my friends–since I was content and expected for everything to stay low-key with only my 7 pals reading my ramblings….I was just being pithy when I made that joke.”
You mention Blogger as your platform so I am assuming you are using it, even from your own domain. Even so, all blog platforms have settings to tweak how you want the blog viewed. In Blogger, all one has to do to protect their blog from anyone “stumbling” upon it is in the Dashboard–>Settings–>Permissions. Here it is pictured below:
Notice the options you have as to who can read it. I wonder if you had an awareness of this setting as you set out to blog, and on occasion chose to entertain your friends with specifics from your teaching context? Apologies again for taking the quote from your blog out of context, but I feel you are getting plenty of support and push back alike from educators everywhere, so I choose not to do more of the same.
I have a close friend who though it wasn’t spelled out specifically, lost his job over some blog posts that were less than favorable regarding his teaching context.
What can I say good about this experience? What are the take aways?
- As edubloggers who promote 2.0 tools, particularly blogging as a reflective tool, we now have another example to show (and use as a warning) about the choices made in that endeavor. We can thank you.
- I’m glad you have some down time that may eventually be attributed to just maternity leave instead of administrative leave. You have some time not only to get to know your new baby, but work to gain perspective on the chaos over this fracas, and maybe even do a little damage control.
- If you don’t plan to change the tone or purpose of your blog, then please change the settings for privacy so you don’t run into this again.
Best of luck in working through this. I don’t support what you did, nor do I condemn you for it. I simply hope that all gain insights and learn from it.
Cathy Jo Nelson