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« The good girls/good boys club | Main | Craft and creativity »
Friday
Nov062015

Think before you blog

Why I worry
  1. Teachers blog and don’t think about their audience and say things that show poor judgement.
  2. Teachers blog and use images that aren’t licensed for reuse and think it’s ok because they’ve used ‘Google Images’.
  3. Teachers blog and use images which aren’t referenced and think it’s ok because, well… it’s ok.
  4. Teachers blog and use images that they have taken in their schools which feature faces of children from their school.
  5. Teachers blog and don’t consider any of the things above. Mark Anderson, ICT Evanglist, May 30, 2015

From Blue Skunk post, Blogging and a Little Common Sense (January 2007):

Here are some things I try to keep in mind when I write for the Blue Skunk. I honestly don't want Johnson vs. Board of Education being studied in school law classes someday.

Write assuming your boss is reading. That's good (and common) advice as far as it goes. But I know my wife, my mother and my daughter all read The Blue Skunk now and then. I assume my co-workers read the blog, as might anyone for whom I might work for someday, either as a regular employee or a contractor. Somehow this doesn't really narrow the scope of what I want to write about, but it does force me to ask questions about language, taste, and approach. Every time I've wondered if I should put something of questionable taste in the blog and did, it's usually come back to bite me. A person can tell. Mostly.

Gripe globally; praise locally. I don't think anyone really fusses if you express your opinions about global warming, the Iraq War, or NCLB. But you will never catch me dissing a person who lives close enough that he could easily come by and TP my house. Nor would I say bad things about a person who I might then have to avoid at a conference. Even going negative, I try to make it about ideas, not people. I have to admit I am really lucky to be working in a school with people I genuinely think are pretty darned good and with whom I am proud to be associated. I don't agree with every decision made, but I know that the decision was made thoughtfully.

Write for edited publications. I've been writing professionally for almost 20 years and certainly on a continuous basis since I've been working for my current employer. A good deal of what I write is opinion and I've even written a several editorials for the state and local newspapers. My boss in the past has shared things I've written with the school board as a point of pride, I hope. Were the district now to react negatively to my blog, I believe it would have a difficult case showing that my writing impedes my employer's effectiveness or efficiency or otherwise disrupts the workplace, since it has not done so in the past. It would be a condemnation of a technology, not of a practice.

Write out of goodness. I have a difficult time believing that anything you write because you want to improve education, improve kids lives, or improve society will be counted against you. If you write out of negativity - to vent, to whine, to ridicule - yeah, you'll probably have problems. But I am guessing you were probably having problems at work before you started blogging if that is your blog content. In a workplace where dismissing someone for mediocre job performance or poor interpersonal skills is nearly impossible, supervisors are often looking for any legal means of firing people. If you are doing a good job at work, blog. If you aren't, don't blog.

It is our professional duty to share what works for us and ask for help when we are stymied. Blogs allow us to do both and it would be a crying damn shame if the advice of an overly cautious lawyer stopped this flow of information.

... rights are accompanied by responsibilities. Another thing usually must come along as well - courage. Be brave - blog.

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Reader Comments (1)

Thank you so much for writing this. I have been a personal blogger and journaler since 2007 and just within the past couple years have branched out into professional blogging and blogging about my career as an elementary librarian. This post really hits home in so many areas. I appreciate your taking the time to write. I was challenged to "get educating" my co workers about picture usages and about filtering content based on not only audience but possible future ventures in mind.

November 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRuth Stiles

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