Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Suspending A Blogging Teacher??

Photo from Yahoo
This story on Yahoo about high school teacher, 30-year-old Natalie Munroe, caught my eye. To summarise, it spoke about the fact that she blogged about her students (anonymously) and was suspended for saying negative things about them (even though she did not identify them in any way).

Among other things, she called her students 'disengaged, lazy whiners', and they (students and school) were none too happy about it. These students found her blog and must have identified themselves in her very descriptive and honest post, brought it to the school's attention, and wallah ... she was suspended. Miss Munroe must have thought at that point, 'the whiners win again'.

It gets me concerned to think that the teacher was suspended for speaking her mind. Think about it. This woman is writing on her personal blog. She is speaking out of deep frustration. Must she take a fall for speaking the truth without doing any real harm to anyone? Because no one, or very little people, would have known that she worked at the school or would have known which students she was talking about if they had not made such a big stink out of it.

As one speaker pointed out, she could have been any teacher in any high school in America. Is it fair for her to be suspended? Is it fair for the school to take that step? And what is the alternative? Are they saying that teachers should not be allowed to keep personal blogs or to write honestly about their work experiences on them? And, by extension, are they implying that professionals should not blog honestly about their work experience, even if they are doing so under the shroud of anonymity?

As with all things private and professional, responsibility and discretion must be exercised. But where do we draw the line between unfair, unwarranted censorship and freedom of expression?

1 comment:

Teaching It Real said...

Ruthibelle,

Interested in seeing a new and wildly unique teacher's blog? One that’s deeply thoughtful, literate, and downright funny? Then enjoy A Dixie Diary, at www.adixiediary.com. The response from readers all over America has been astonishing.

Actually published a few days ago during the midst of the Munroe business, this unique teacher's journal shows a different look at what happens in the schoolhouse by a rookie teacher who loves his work and his students, but he expresses his thoughts and observations in a hugely different way than Mrs. Munroe. Sure, there are some intense student-teacher moments, even some choice words, too, but mostly it's world-class hilarious, heartwarming … like reading a good book.

It's the teacher's blog we've been waiting for. It's simply mesmerizing.