Anonymity? Really?

    I’ve been reading several teacher blogs over the weekend, and I keep seeing again and again that folks are staying anonymous — they’re not identifying themselves or their locations for fear of retribution or personal attack or . . .well, I’m not sure what else.
    Here is one example of what I am seeing in regards to people wanting to be anonymous in their blogs:

   

A note about being anonymous: It is a must. I understand that
being and remaining anonymous makes my blog a little less personal.

Last year I came across a then current student’s weblog which had
threatening words towards me included in an entry; my district would do
nothing to resolve this and she never found out I knew about her words.
The police report I made had a non-result.

Not that I intend to make threatening remarks, but due to the incident, I do find it imperative to remain anonymous.

    I guess I understand if someone is afraid of retribution, and this is a bad example of what I am talking about, but all this talk of anonymity has me wondering just what it is that teachers have to say that needs to be said anonymously.

    In general, hiding behind a veil of secrecy when making a comment or sharing an idea makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me or to like what I have to say all the time — but I demand that people who have ideas or concerns to address do so in a professional manner.  I do not respect the criticisms of someone who doesn’t share their name and allow for a dialog.  The very nature of a teacher blog to me is scary — it is the blurring or the private and the public, it is walking a tightrope between the two.  I’m opening myself up — sharing ideas and concerns and frustrations and what’s going on in the world of my teaching.  I must protect my students and their identities, but still, I’ve got to be able to talk about my practice and what informs it.  If I wanted to use this space simply to moan and complain about the students in my care, well, then I should buy a can of spray paint and a ski mask.  And maybe some time with a therapist.
    Professional talk is hard — but so are the issues that we’re talking about.  Heck, you need only look at my previous post to see that I am uncomfortable here sometimes — and that anonymity would make keeping a blog that much easier.  But it really wouldn’t, because then I could never mention my blog and I’d have to hide that at school.  What good does keeping one more secret do?
    Because I probably don’t understand the issue of online anonymity in a teaching blog, I’m asking anyone who would argue that teachers need anonymous space on the Internet — please explain it to me.  I will be happy to reprint your comments in this space — but let’s have the conversation.  I need to understand this. 
    Heck, I’ll even guarantee your anonymity — even though I don’t yet get why you need it. 

2 thoughts on “Anonymity? Really?

  1. I just began a teaching blog recently. It’s on a site with my name attached. I was not worried about this at all, but suddenly as I’ve been mentioning to people that I started a blog, I’m hearing a lot of cautionary words about going anonymous to protect myself and my job. I too am not much for anonymity; I feel like I have a lot to say about the teaching profession and the reality that we face on a daily basis. If I choose to blog under a fictional name, who is to say that the information shared is not fictional as well? Anonymity places a veil between the reader and the blogger and leaves a lot of unanswered questions in its wake. And yet… I love teaching and certainly do not wish to sacrifice my future in the classroom over a blogging issue. Do I not have the right to share my experiences with others, simply because I am a teacher? Have I sacrificed the freedom of speech that everyone else takes for granted simply by virtue of the profession I have chosen to embrace?

  2. I would consider blogging anonymously because I currently think I am not very good at my job. I am a new teacher, but not completely new, and I don’t always handle things in the way I wish I had.
    I sometimes get as much as a full month behind on grading and do my lesson planning on the way into work that day. My classroom is often chaotic and noisy. I’ve used curse words in front of students when something has gone wrong. I kicked a student who was smashing my fingers in his grasp. I’m pretty sure that I have students who failed my class because I didn’t do a good enough job teaching.
    These are things of which I am ashamed, but that I would like to handle better next time. In the meantime, I would rather my colleagues not know about the things I do that I do not consider to be professional. I don’t want my honest requests for help or ideas to be able to be used as ammunition against me later.

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