Blogging is a great way for a teacher to escape the high stress and often thankless world of making sure a group of children acts with some degree of reason and civility. Teachers can use their blog for a lot of reasons, including to blow off some steam. But in this highly connected world, there is no such thing as privacy online. A teacher would be wise to treat everything he or she says online as completely public and open to scrutiny from every side. The following are five tips that may save your career.
Never Criticize Anyone
In this day and age, if you criticize anyone they will find out sooner or later. If you criticize your students, someone will assume you’re being racist or sexist. On top of that, it denies the role you have as being in charge of the classroom. If you criticize fellow faculty, you will at best create a tense workplace and at worst get yourself fired and branded as a destructive gossip. If you criticize parents you know how parents get That’s about as useful as shooting yourself in the foot. So don’t criticize anyone, ever.
Never Name Names
Using names doesn’t sound so bad at first, provided you aren’t criticizing. Saying that little Tommy or Samantha helped you out and got all A’s while doing half a dozen extracurricular activities and rescuing kittens from trees is all well and good until their parents remind you that you forgot some of their activities. Then the other parents will feel like you’re giving a small group special treatment. Unless you’re complimenting everyone, compliments backfire. Names are more harm than good.
Talk About General Ideas, Not Specific Situations
Specific situations look like venting, and that won’t help you at all. If you discuss general concepts in the theoretical sense, they come off as less threatening than if you discussed a problem you’re actually having. People get defensive when you suggest that their children are part of a problem, so don’t phrase it that way.
Regular updates make your blog into more of an ongoing parent-teacher conversation, and less like the diary of a teacher on the edge. Unless you’re blogging about how you think of your students while you clean your assault rifle and consider the relative number of children in your class and rounds in a magazine, it’s okay to post updates on a more of less weekly basis.
Asking questions of your readers (who are often parents and administrators) gets you brownie points. People love to spout off with their opinions, even when giving them two cents should leave change to spare.
A teacher walks a fine line when they blog. If you play the political game carefully, you can turn your blog into an engine of positive change rather than one that will have you scrambling for payday installment loans to pay for a lawyer to save your job. Used bluntly or inexactly, your blog will be the death knell of your career.