Friday, January 23, 2009

Education Anonymous?

As I scrolled through and deleted a lot of the past Observation and Sub job posts, I was noting (and trying to figure out) all the initials, acronyms, and cryptic abbreviations I used to preserve all elements of anonymity. The students, of course, the teachers/admin, school names... I think in some cases I pretended to work in Des Moines just to cover my tracks. That may have been a tad unnecessary.

Back when Gore invented computers, user names and online personas were part internet fun and part internet safety; we all tried to create cool email addresses with the word "hot" in them somewhere, and were worried our photos would be used to ruin our reputation if we ever ran for public office. People would freak at the mention of posting a picture of my children or of talking about my job -- what if the boss read your blog?!? Well, for starters I had a boss with her priorities straight: if my sales figures were up, what did she care what I typed late at night that no one would ever read anyway? And I wouldn't post proprietary material or personal attacks without expecting to be fired. If you're the kind of person to bash your company, boss, or co-workers online, you are undoubtedly a lousy employee anyway; good riddance when they can yer grumpy, back-stabbing ass.

I began posting online with hiding as much as I could; for my first blog I was "6footOneandaTonofFun" from somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere and my profile picture was a mango, yet even then I thought I was giving out way too much information and everybody on the www knew EXACTLY WHO and WHERE I was. I also combed my hair and wore a nice shirt since I knew they could all see me, but that's really a whole 'nother story...

So my point, before I became obviously lost on that tangent, was how much do we need to take the bold black marker to, how much should we NOT reveal online -- legally, personally, and/or respectfully? Do school districts or principals have guidelines, and an administrative assistant to monitor compliance, regarding online activity?

Oh, and I probably shouldn't say "ass"...

4 comments:

twobuyfour said...

The good thing about Mr. Gore's invention (that's the internet, NOT the computer, pinhead) is that the rules don't have to be the same for everyone. You make it what you want, and you use it the way you feel comfortable.

You are familiar with my blogs, and my situation. I started blogging years ago with the idea that it was only a matter of time before anyone who knew or knows me stumbled upon what I wrote. It wasn't that I was hiding anything, I just wanted to be sure I didn't say anything that was going to get me in trouble.

That sounds like the same situation you're in. Write about your life, if that's what you want to put out there. I'm a pretty paranoid guy, but even so - there's really only so much you can "hide" literarily before you lose the reader. Change the name of the school. Don't use your kids' police blotter mug shots. Don't give out your real name. After that, the closer you stick to the truth the more your words will resonate with your readers.

Sorry to go on so long. Now I feel like Dad. You want a slap on the back, now?

JK said...

only if you're wearing a big ol' ring...

and there's no word limit, your comments are always welcome, no matter how long-winded...

Joel said...

No word limit? This isn't Twitter, now is it?

Welcome to the student teaching world. :)

JK said...

But if I'm telling the truth, why do I need an alias? The truth, as I've heard told, shall set you free...

I do need to start collecting clever pseudonyms (sp?) for the students though...