November 22, 2008

Band of Bloggers?

One of our brethren has been released from his teaching position due in part to the reflective teacher writing that he posts anonymously on his teacher blog. Instead of being reprimanded, or even censured, he’s been fired. It seems so odd to me that anyone would look at this so important part of the teacher process as being anything other than a healthy and sometimes cathartic avenue towards working out our issues with education leading to the ultimate goal of being better and more effective teachers. To me, teacher bloggers, and anyone else who writes about improving teaching, are out on the cutting edge of education because we are actively seeking to grow in our craft personally, and to raise up our entire profession.

I’ve written before about how important I feel it is for teachers to spend significant amounts of time in reflection, and even blogging. For me this blog has two significant purposes. First, it gives me an opportunity to empty my pitcher of thoughts (so that it can be filled up again). I can’t help but think about teaching often, and sometimes it feels like I lose lots of interesting ideas if I don’t write them down somewhere, why not a blog? Second, here I get to work out my issues with teaching and re-convince myself that I do love to teach and that I am a teacher. All teachers know about teacher fatigue and desensitization, writing here helps me stay focused and hopefully fresh.

There are many all-star educators sharing out on the web. I have links to many of them here on this site. While I regularly check in with this group of writers, I am really anti-social because I rarely leave comments. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their thoughts and ideas, I do. But with 6 periods at school and 5 children under 16 at home, I just don’t have time. If you are not a regular reader of these ├╝ber-talented teachers, then checked them out.

Julia G. Tompson
Joannie Jacobs*

Cal Teacher Guy
Computer Science Teacher*
Cool Cat*
The Guru’s Handbook
Matt Harmless
Right on the Left Coast vs. Frustrated Teacher*

Adventures in Teaching
Newbie-A teacher’s voice
Penny Candy

The Apple
Teacher Lingo
Teacher Vision

*Nominated for a Blog/Web Award in 2008!

Add to this list in the comments area below.

The Internet is full of opportunities for teachers to connect with each other, to share best practices, and to commiserate when needed. Writing about and reflecting on teaching is an important function of being a healthy teacher. Clearly those of us who share our thoughts and experiences need to be sensitive to and protect those we may write about. It’s important for us to band together and protect this very important communication opportunity so that we may continue to enjoy each others on-line company.


  1. Terrible! Now I can't even read his blog; invitation only!

    A very sad day for us bloggers, agreed. Thanks for posting it...


  2. I loved reading his blog and have 3 posts saved as teaching ideas and prompts. It tis a sad day.

  3. It's very sad when people lose their jobs because of blogging. It's often had in education because administrators and school boards often do not understand the process or its value.

    As for not leaving comments, I think most people who blog understand that a lot of people are short on time to leave comments. And not every post, or even that many, really require comments. They are great when they happen and I know I appreciate them. Even the ones that tell me I'm wrong because I can learn from them.

    But like you for many bloggers it is enough to have this venue to shout (or whisper) or thoughts and organize thinking thought writing.

    And for you with your work load and kids at home its amazing that you have time to sleep. SO I thank you for reading my blog and for linking to it. That means a lot to me on both counts.

  4. It makes me ill what happened to him.


  5. Wow. They fired somebody for writing on their blog? anonymously? That's terrible! It makes me nervous.

    Also, thanks for the honorable mention.

  6. What a sad day for the education world. It also makes me realize how lucky I am to work for the district that I do.

  7. I've been a reader of his blog before. I'm shocked! It should be protected speech. What the hell happened?

  8. This is such a shame... I am a student teacher and we all have blogs. We have discussed about the potential downfalls of blogging but overall we have agreed that blogging is more useful than not. Teachers need a way to communicate, to let out their frustrations, to talk to adults! Blogging is a great way to do all of that. It is truly such a shame that a teacher can get fired for blogging.

  9. That seems to be the tip of the iceberg. Apparently, a staffer has been fired for a facebook entry in North Carolina. Between the anonymity of this blogger and the privacy level on facebook, it seems crazy to me that districts can exercise this level of censorship.

    I'm taking a poll to see what people think over at the Countdown to Teachhub blog if you'd like to weigh in:

  10. Thank you to TeacherHub for linking me to this post and blog.

    I understand administration's concerns with inappropriate material being shared in public forums where student's could find it, but I am not sure where the line between personal thoughts and work lies.

    The issue is one that I have been trying to figure out myself. Where are you, as an individual, allowed to breath out and express what you really want to say without the scrutiny of your employers? I guess some things are best left said in the company of friends and never to be posted on the world wide web.

  11. Can you post a link to what happened, or else summarize it for us? I hadn't heard about this case. Thanks.

  12. How dreadful. As a new teacher I love to post about my day, things that stike me as interesting or disturbing, and funny things that happen in the classroom. I post less for the public, more for myself. There is nothing better than going back and rereading your own thoughts weeks, months, or years after the fact! Good luck to said fired teacher!! Keep blogging!

    PS. Thank you so much for the shout out :)

  13. I am no longer teaching because I'm focusing more on my writing, but I did want to let you all know that my forte was classroom management. There are so many stories to tell! Anyway, I know I always got annoyed at the classroom management seminars that I went to because they just didn't apply to my classroom. I always seemed to have some of "those kids" in my room, so I've started my own blog about classroom management. The site is

  14. I too was recently ask to remove a reflective piece I had written on my blog - it was rather raw but I shared my thoughts and feelings on a rather difficult class. I decided to compromise and tone down as well as edit certain things I wrote. Looks like some times open reflection is frowned upon. So what shall we do?

  15. I've always appreciated the ideas and insight on your blog; I've found blogs, my own or reading and commenting on others, to be a great release from the stresses of school.
    I doubt anybody's personal reflections and opinions expressed in a blog got them fired, so people shouldn't panic because they wrote about a bad day...

  16. What happened to freedom of speech? As his blog was not affiliated with his school, I do not understand how his personal views were permitted to impact his employment. Sighs...