Monday, March 27, 2006

Teacher blogging

I am not surprised that teachers blog. Another word for blogging in another time is journaling. In yet another age, it was known as keeping a diary. The difference is that blogging can be a very public activity. When a person keeps a virtual diary online, that diary will be indexed and can be searched using easily available tools provided by Google and even Technorati.

Teachers who blogSo I am somewhat surprised that students are surprised that teachers blog. Why shouldn't teachers blog in the first place? Is it because youngsters cannot imagine teachers writing stuff that are trashy and gossipy, as most youngsters' admit their own blogs contain? Do they think that their teachers do not have personal thoughts of their own which they would want to write about in online weblogs? While some teachers are married to the profession, many are not. They keep their personal life separate from their professional life. Teachers have hobbies of their own, things that they are interested in outside of the classroom. If this were not so, the teacher will be of little value. We might as well replace him with a robot. After all, if teachers just teach from the textbook without contextualising the material to life and experience, lessons will be so boring.

Every blogger, not only teachers, should exercise restraint in their blogs. Yes, teachers should not talk about the faults in their students online. Even if they do, no names should be mentioned. But then, students should also accord the same courtesy. I am aware that students gossip a lot about their teachers in blogs. They vent their frustration and dislikes about their teachers online. Many of their remarks are written out of context. A lot of it is one-sided rant, and their teachers are often unaware of these blogs. Actually, its not hard for a teacher to find out. Just do a search on your name in popular blogging engines such as Blogger, and you'd be surprised how many times your name can turn up in the search results.

However, the blogosphere is a place where anybody can say anything. But it is not without its limits. Bloggers have been convicted for making seditious statements on their blogs in Singapore, no matter if those statements reside on some server in the US. The sad thing about humans is that they tend to want to listen to hearsay and are not too interested in knowing what the truth is, nor the rational reasoning behind it. People just like juicy gossip without thinking about the consequences of what they write.

Let the blogger beware.

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