The discussion of whether a teacher should have his or her own blog comes up often in discussions with my peers. Most often I hear teachers justify not having a blog due for various reasons. My favorites are:
- My organization doesn’t allow it because of privacy issues. They don’t want me talking about my students publicly.
- I don’t want people to know that much about me.
- It takes too much time.
- I don’t know how to do it.
I work for the US government and you won’t find many more restrictive organizations than that. I know you have seen or heard in the press that the military often cracks down on soldiers posting to blogs from the field because they don’t want them to jeapordize their units or their missions. If you teach in public schools your administration may very well have placed restrictions on what you can post. Most of the time, though, if you follow some basic guidelines even the most restrictive of organizations will allow blogs.
A concept you hear discussed often in the military is OPSEC, or operational security. OPSEC is a simple set of guidelines that discuss what you should and shouldn’t say publicly, how to represent yourself in public, and how not to become a target. OPSEC applied to blogs is a matter of never discussing locations, time frames, or directly naming participants if doing so could possibly endanger individuals or mission. The military looks at it as if there is someone spying on you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
So, what it boils down to really is exercising caution when posting to your blog. Protect the privacy of individuals and advise others who post comments to your blog to be wary as well. On occassion students may slip up and say too much, in which case it’s your responsibility to censor private information as necessary. In most cases you’ll find yourself discussing concepts or ideas on your blog, not so much about people anyway.
As for blogging taking too much time, I suppose this may be true for some, but for most of us blogging is really just an extension of thinking. Most of us have little discussions in our minds all day long and much of the time there is no one there to share these thoughts with. Bloggers are simply thinking aloud in most cases and have the benefit of sometimes getting feedback from the peanut gallery (ahem, public). I find this a refreshing change personally.
As I have said in a previous post, if you can put you fingers to a keyboard you can blog. There’s really nothing to it technically, so there goes that excuse too.
Enough about why not to blog; let’s shift the discussion to why you should. And because this is a discussion I’ll leave this up to the comments after simply saying I blog because students and peers have better access to me when needed and I like receiving input from others in a less structured environment. So why do you blog, or if you don’t what would be some good reasons for you to start one?
Why Blog? by Charles T. Rich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.