17 February 2011

PA Teacher...

Have you heard about this? Apparently a high school English teacher in PA was suspended after calling some of her students "disengaged, lazy whiners". Now I haven't read an actual post from her "profanity-laced blog" but I think this is ridiculous! I've met plenty of high school kids who are "disengaged, lazy whiners" and that is putting it nicely...crap, I was probably one them!...She teaches high school English, and this seems like a natural response to me at least. She apparently didn't name her school, use any of the kids names, or her own. It was her personal blog, get over it.

Personally this is why I reconsidered teaching. I'd love to teach English...to kids who aren't lazy whiners...but I didn't think I could keep myself from telling some kids that they are idiots...or worse. I don't have enough patience to deal with stupidity...and lets be honest, high schools are full of it...I would not put up with their crap! My favorite English teacher was Mrs. Lechner at QCHS. She was real, she didn't go on and on about flowery language crap and feelings...like Mrs. Savory, who I could not freaking stand!...she encouraged actual discussion, thinking, and told us how exactly how it is. Plus, she admitted to being just as annoyed with freshmen as we were!

What I'm most interested in is who these students are that found her blog and reported it? What did they have to gain by it? I don't think she should have been suspended. Was her "profanity-laced" blog worse then what her own students say at school? Her comments seem to be true and probably what they needed to hear. If people want her to be happy teaching lazy sons-of-whiners then teachers should be paid more! But they aren't! If this is the worst thing she's done, then I don't get what the big deal is. I've seen teachers drunk at Country Thunder, had one show up drunk... slightly tipsy...to chaperon a school dance and this same teacher brought a date who kind of looked hooker...but I'm sure she has a great personality! Teachers are PEOPLE. They live in this world with the rest of us, so she voiced her opinion through words on her blog...she's an English teacher, I would expect no less from her!


Okie said...

Great post.

I've volunteered a few times in my kids' schools and I'm sometimes shocked by behavior (both from teachers and students) that mimics a lot of what you're pointing out here.

Too many kids are going through school complacent and lazy...just not driven by any sense of learning or accomplishment. Sadly, there are some genuinely bad teachers out there who are burned out and just going through the motions. But my experience is that the teacher (bad or good) doesn't make any difference at all if the parents and kids aren't invested in learning. Frankly, having a bad teacher is no excuse for a student to disengage. And parents can't (and shouldn't) rely wholly on "good" teachers to get things going for their kids.

If parents aren't going to encourage their kids, help their kids or show their kids why and how school is important, then the kids aren't going to care.

As parents, my wife and I encourage our kids, help them with their homework and interact with the teachers as appropriate. We read with the kids nightly. We do educational activities. We limit "extracurricular activities" (including sports, scouts, etc but also down to TV, video games and friends) until AFTER homework is done.

Sorry...starting to rant about parental involvement in education..while that's not the heart of this post.

As to the idea of a "personal" versus "job" blog...it's a gray area that is sadly getting more and more blurred.

If the blog is entirely anonymous and is ranting about experiences general enough so as not to offend specific individuals, then yes, it's definitely blown out of proportion.

However, if any part of the blog (her profile, an "intro" page, or something) can in any way identify even the town or district, then recent business court cases are working out details by which an online presence (even a "personal" one) can be used legally by employers to reprimand their employees. It's a head-butt between "free speech" and libel/slander/etc.

Even then, I suspect that even if her blog didn't explicitly state who she was or where she worked, there are likely people who read her blog and know who she is...friends...co-workers...family...people in the community. Even if she's careful about who she tells, all it takes is one friend sharing it with somebody else and saying "This is Jane Doe's blog, check it out" and suddenly she's lost control and privacy.

I suspect that if (when) I become a teacher and/or author, my blogging life will be changed somewhat. In anticipation of that, I try to be careful with any "specific" rants that I may get on...just to stay out of the habit. If I ever get to the point where I feel like I do want to do some public ranting on a personal blog, I would go about creating a different, totally anonymous blog that is in no way connected to the blog known as mine.

It's a tricky balancing act to make biting commentary "in the public eye" in such a way that it doesn't come back and bite you.

Katherine said...

Mrs Lechner was awesome. Though senior year she did catch on that I was BSing my essays.

Who had a hooker date? Email me!