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.